Clay House (1905)
720 Bois d’ Arc
Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County
Considered to be the finest house in the Zion Hill Historic District in Nacogdoches, the Clay House, constructed circa 1905, is thought to have been designed by noted local architect Diedrich Rulfs. Built for Charlie Clay and his family, this structure is an important example of vernacular architecture in one of the most intact early 20th century African-American working class neighborhoods in Texas.
Although the Clay House’s original porch has been lost, this threatened building retains important architectural detail. Yet having stood unoccupied for many years, the historic structure requires significant repair before it can be converted into a museum celebrating the contributions of African-Americans to the history of the Zion Hill neighborhood. A temporary roof is in place, and the site’s advocates seek to raise the funds necessary to rebuild its foundation, repair failing structural systems, install a permanent roof and replace missing architectural elements. This small house that tells a big story that neighborhoods like Zion Hill are worth preserving.