Culture / Newsy

Granbury’s Iconic Nutt House Hotel Destroyed by a Fire — A Texas Historical Treasure Goes Up in Flames

The 130-Year-Old Building Was In the Process of Being Renovated and Under Construction

BY // 03.02.23

One of Granbury’s most iconic structures burned overnight. All that remains of the iconic Nutt House Hotel on Granbury’s historic town square is its 130-year-old limestone façade. The building is on the Texas Historical Register and one of the most notable structures on the square aside, of course, from the towering, central Hood County courthouse, with its stately second empire architecture.

“Several fire departments teamed up to put out the flames at the Nutt House Hotel in the town square early Thursday morning,” Fox 4 reported.

The Nutt House was built by some of Hood County’s earliest settlers. Three of the four Nutt brothers who had emigrated to Texas from Missouri ― Jacob, Jesse and David Lee Nutt ― opened it as their original mercantile. My own Fort Worth-raised husband Mark Dabney is a descendant of Jesse Nutt.

In this 1974 photo, you can see the Nutt House was being utilized as an antique store on one side and a cafe on the other, its Texas historical marker displayed prominently.
In this 1974 photo, you can see the Nutt House was being utilized as an antique store on one side and a cafe on the other, its Texas historical marker displayed prominently.

The previous owner of the Nutt House Hotel was Melinda Ray who owned it from 2006 to 2020. Ray is a local historian who cherished her role as its caretaker, working closely with historical society. She published two books about the Nutt family and their settlement of Granbury based on her years of research — Safe In The Arms Of God and A Legacy Cast in Limestone.

“I just felt such a strong obligation to carry on the hospitality of the historic hotel, and it’s my hope to continue telling their story for years to come,” Melinda Ray tells PaperCity Fort Worth.

Ray sold The Grand Ol’ Dame of the Granbury Square in 2020 to its current owner Cyndi Nobles, who was in the process of renovating the entire interior with plans to make it an even more desirable boutique hotel ― complete with luxurious upgrades. Nobles was also attempting to reveal as much of its original woodwork and detailing as possible. Work on new hotel was well underway and nearing completion when PaperCity Fort Worth toured the area three weeks ago.

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Nutt House – the former upstairs landing inside the now burned Nutt House Hotel.
The former upstairs landing inside the now burned Nutt House Hotel.

The Nutt House’s Historic Hotel

Ray tells PaperCity that the Nutt House Hotel survived an earlier fire in the early 1900s, prior to becoming a hotel ― one which destroyed the building to its left ― a feature that has become a shady pass-through to the Wagon Yard antique store now behind it.

David and Sudie Nutt lived nearby and ran an informal boarding house at their home for many years. The name Nutt House Hotel originally referred to David and Sudie Nutt’s house, mostly as a joke, according to Melinda Ray. Then they relocated the bed and breakfast to the second floor of the mercantile building, offering visitors 10 suites, along with two communal bathrooms. Later, the Nutt House Hotel was converted into seven suites with en-suite bathrooms.

Nutt House – The limestone facade of the Nutt House Hotel leading to the original wagon yard behind.
The Texas limestone façade of the Nutt House Hotel leading to the original wagon yard behind.

“That building has witnessed 130 years of Granbury history,” Ray says.

The Historical Texas Landmark plaque which is posted on the building reads:

J.F. and J. Nutt Building

Erected for Jesse and Jacob Nutt, blind brothers who aided in establishing [the] county seat at Granbury.

Their first (1866) store had been a 16 by 12 log house, with a wagon yard in the rear.

This structure of hand-hewn Hood County stone was built in 1893 by local contractor Jim Warren.

About 1919 Nutt Hotel — famed for [the] dining room — moved in after “Grocery” was remodeled.

Building has been occupied by 3 generations of the Nutt family.

Recorded Texas Landmark — 1970

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