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The Bridge Street History Museum

Our story

Pioneers of North Texas

Family Business

David Lee Nutt

David Lee Nutt was born in January 6, 1848 in Newton County, Missouri, located in the southwestern part of that state. He was about 11 years old when he made the journey by wagon to western Johnson County, Texas (later to become Hood County) with his parents and four other siblings. They joined his older brother Jesse and his uncle, Abel Landers, who had come to Texas a year earlier with their families. The paths they followed were typical of many family migrations throughout the Upland South as they followed the expanding American frontier seeking land and opportunity.

David Lee became a prominent businessman in early Granbury and on February 28, 1872 married Sue (Sudie) A. Garland, daughter of Captain Peter Garland who led local campaigns to protect the area from Indian raids. They had five children, three of whom survived to adulthood. Sudie Garland Nutt passed away on August 20, 1920 and David Lee February 18, 1929.

Two older brothers of David Lee were the twins, Jesse and Jake Nutt who were blind from a young age. They were the co-owners of the grocery, saloon and hotel located on the northeast corner of the Granbury Town Square, now known as "The Nutt House Hotel".
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The Nutt Brothers

In the late 1850's members of the Nutt Family arrived in what is now the Granbury area. They first set up several farmsteads, and in 1871 on this site, blind brothers Jacob and Jesse Nutt started a mercantile business. In the earliest days, they used a tent to house their wares, but quickly erected a log and stone building which served as the store headquarters for many years. They were assisted by their younger, sighted brother, David Lee Nutt. In 1879, David and his wife, Sudie, built a new house just two blocks down the street. Soon they were using part of the house as a hotel to accommodate business associates. This continued for many years, and the Nutt's even added a wing on to the house to give more rooms. The town-folk began to refer to their home as the NUTT HOUSE HOTEL! The home is still there today, and houses the Bridge Street History Museum pictured above. 
All four brothers are buried in the Granbury Cemetery located just north of the Granbury town square. By 1893, the Nutt brothers' business greatly expanded to the current two story hand-hewn Texas limestone structure. In the beginning, the mercantile was downstairs and the upstairs was unfinished-just open storage. Shortly after the turn of the century, the brothers conceived of moving the hotel business to the downtown location. The upstairs of the mercantile building was finished out and divided up into ten rooms and two bathrooms!! The hotel opened in 1910, and has been run as a lodging establishment ever since! 

Hard times and changing travel patterns made some of the years in the mid-1900's very lean. By 1964, Euna Nutt, David Nutt's daughter-in-law: the widow of son Henry Nutt, was glad to sell the old hotel/boarding house to a local friend, Norman Strain. Norman and his wife Jewel continued to run the old boarding house on the square for a few years.
Historic Image

The Matriarch Arrives

Then in the late 1960's change blew into Granbury in the person of Mary Lou Watkins, great granddaughter of David Lee Nutt. Model and Hat Designer, Mary Lou Watkins returned home to her roots, and moved into her great grandfather's home. She also forged a preservation and renewal of Granbury plan, with the help of a few other like-minded citizens. She also bought back, renovated, and reopened the original ten room Nutt House Hotel in all it's glory, and added a restaurant appropriately named, "Nutt House Restaurant."


Mary Lou Watkins successfully ran this business on the square for almost thirty years, and even today patrons still stop by to see if her renowned restaurant is still open for business! Guests frequented Mary Lou's restaurant, for heaping home-style helpings of her now famous chicken and dumplings, hot water cornbread, black-eyed pea salad, and buttermilk pie, to name only a few of Mary Lou's trademark dishes. A bronze statue of Mary Lou ringing her dinner bell is erected in her honor on the town square, directly in front of the hotel.

Landmark medallion reads

J.F. and J. Nutt Building

Erected for Jesse and Jacob Nutt, blind brothers who aided in establishing county seat at Granbury. Their first (1866) store had been a 16 x 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 dining room – moved in after "grocery" was remodeled. Building has been occupied by 3 generations of the Nutt Family

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1970

The year of the comeback

The Nutt House Hotel built in 1893 and having been owned and operated by Melinda Ray, a passionate Hood County Historian, for the past 14 years, has recently been purchased by former local Cindy Nobles. She, along with her daughter, Mamie Myers, are planning major renovations to bring her back to as much of her original glory as possible. The Matriarch of the Granbury Square will debut her new look of frontier charm, comfort, and luxury in the fall of 2020.

Cindy and Mamie, themselves, are respectively, 5th and 6th generation members of a Hood County pioneer family. Captain P. H. Thrash settled in Hood County from North Carolina just after the Civil War. "The Captain" as he was known, served as Granbury's first mayor. He also played an integral role in the early development of the city, the schools, and the construction of the first bridge into Granbury over the Brazos.

It is Cindy and Mamie's mission to continue, in that same spirit, to make their own contribution to this ever-changing and evolving, wonderful part of Texas, while valuing and staying true to its rich history.

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