Diedrich A. W. Rulfs (1848-1926)

Diedrich Rulfs studies the Jones House, with his notes and tools in front of him. It was just his second commission. The Queen Anne styled house built in 1897 was only one of his many brilliant designs. [1]

Diedrich Anton Wilhelm Rulfs was born in Oldenburg, Germany, on March 6, 1848. A family friend, John Schmidt, invited Rulfs to come to Nacogdoches, and in 1880, Rulfs, his wife, three children, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law arrived in Nacogdoches. The family's first home was on a farm about three and a half miles south of town off of what is now Shawnee Street. In 1884, Rulfs bought a piece of property on East Main Street and constructed a modest home and three rental properties. Schmidt also helped Rulfs build his reputation around Nacogdoches by commissioning him to build and renovate several of his downtown businesses and personal residences. Rulfs brought with him to Nacogdoches different European architecture styles. He began building in the Victorian Queen Anne style; however, Rulfs's style evolved, and he mixed and matched Victorian style with other styles such as Gothic, Neoclassical, Bungalow, and Prairie. [1]

Many of Rulfs’s buildings still stand today, including Zion Hill First Baptist Church and many downtown buildings. Diedrich Rulfs changed the appearance of Nacogdoches, and local newspaper editor R.W. Haltom stated, "There is no man in Nacogdoches to whom the city is more indebted for the beauty and splendor of her scores of elegant residences and the stateliness of her business houses than to Diedrich Rulfs." [1 & 2]

In 2009, Chris Adams published, Diedrich Rulfs: Master Architect of Nacogdoches, as a photograph catalog of Rulfs’s work. Then in 2014, Dr. Jere Jackson published Diedrich Rulfs: Designing Modern Nacogdoches, a visual legacy of Rulfs’s architecture in Nacogdoches. [3]

The Diedrich Rulfs Statue is located on the lawn of the Jones House at 141 North Church Street. Friends of Historic Nacogdoches, Inc. sponsored the bronze statue sculpted by Michael Pavlosky. The dedication of this statue was on August 29, 2013. Pavlosky designed the sculpture showing Diedrich Rulfs designing the 1897 Roland Jones home. [4]