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SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS IN CALVERT TEXAS

This webpage takes you on a tour of some of the delightful shops and Restaurants in historic Calvert, Texas.

This page also includes a detailed history of the town of Calvert with old photographs and interesting stores, and provides a Calvert Bulletin Board for posting information for our readers.

OTHER CALVERT AREA LINKS



Cajun Shoppe in Calvert Texas


The Fabulous Wooden Spoon Restaurant in Historic Calvert Texas


Life in the Brazos: Articles by Gracia Casey Thibodeaux, award winning column "by Cajun".

Candy's Candle Shoppe & More in Calvert Texas

History of Bremond


History of Wootan Wells


Tour of the Dry Bean Old West Saloon in Bremond Texas


Cemetery Listing for St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Bremond, Texas



Bremond's Famous Coalmine Restaurant




Reagan, Texas Home Page


History of Reagan, Texas


Former Residents of Reagan, Texas


Former Students and Teachers of Reagan, Texas


Fond Memories of Life in Reagan


History of Reagan Baptist Church


History of the Reagan Methodist Church
Reagan Homecoming Page


Reagan Obituaries
Map of Reagan, Texas


Highbank Webpage and History


History of Busksnort and Marlin, Texas


Eye Witness Accounts of Busksnort and Marlin, Texas


History of Cedar Springs, Wilderville, and Rosebud

Pleasant Grove, Falls County, Tx Webpage


Rosebud, Falls County, Tx Webpage



Becoming a Webpage Supporter




Old West Saddles



Vintage Cowboy and Old West Collectibles



Index of Vintage Belt Buckles



Western Handbags




Civil War Collectibles




Navajo Rugs, Native Baskets



North American Indian Collectibles



North American Indian Beadwork



Pioneer Relics and Antiques



Old West Saddles



New Western Belts





Tomahawks, Knives, Antlers, Arrowheads, Crafts, Horns, and Snake Skins




Teddy Bear World


Texana Books, Republic of Texas Days


Old West Books


North American Indian Books


Coca Cola, Disney, and related Collectibles


Fort Tumbleweed's Christmas Catalog


Indian and Cowboy Western Wear


North American Native Indian Books



Native American Jewelry.



Timeless Gifts Catalog (crystals, gemstones, fossils, misc)





GOT A BIRTHDAY OR ANNIVERSARY COMING UP? We have a supply of old Life and Post Magazines That Make a Perfect Birtday Gift





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WELCOME TO HISTORIC CALVERT TEXAS




By Len Kubiak, Central Texas Author and Historian


Wecome to the colorful town of Calvert, a great little town was once the 4th largest city of Texas and boasted of having the world's largest cotton gin and an iron foundry that produced some great ironwork inclorporated in the town's store fronts. By 1960, this little town had fallen on hard times and most of the business district of Calvert was in serious disrepair. Then along came a historical grant and a concerted effort by the townspeople of Calvert and the new town of Calvert was born featuring some of the finest antiques shows in Texas.

Once again, the community has fallen on hard times with many of the antiques shops closing their doors. But a few creative die-hards led by Gracia Casey Thibodeaux, Candy Shores, and others have pationately pursued their creative dreams and have some fantastic shops.

This webpage devoted to putting the spotlight on the town of Calvert, includes such features as my favorite shops, history of Calvert and the people that once lived there and the Calvert Bulletin Board. Use the bulletin board to post announcements, ask questions, or add additional information to the website. Over the coming month's, I plan to post features on the various Dining, Shopping and entertainment businesses in the fantastic town of Calvert, Texas.

Len Kubiak






MY FAVORITE CALVERT SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS

In this section, we will begin presenting some of the more interesting shops and shop owners in Calvert. This is a work in progress. If you have a nomination for an addition to this section, send me an email at:
lenkubiak.geo@yahoo.com

YEAH-THE WOODEN SPOON IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!

Last night, my wife Lynda and I had the pleasure of dining at the Wooden Spoon restaurant owned and operated by Duane and Karol Allen of Calvert, Texas. The Allen's and their friends have done a spectacular job of transforming a 140 year old building into one of the most spectacular eating establishments I have ever visited. Our waitress, Gracia De Santiago was charming and a steady stream of Calvert citizens came through the front door. I had the chicken fried steak special and Lynda had the fried catfish...I know many restaurants in Texas claim to have the best chicken fried steak in Texas but that's because they've never tasted the steak cooked by Karol Allen at the Wooden Spoon!! Karol, who has worked for months roofing and getting the 140 year old historic building at 726 Main Street ready for opening day, describes the decor of the 1868 Grocery Store as "Antique Abstract". She has done an amazing job...everything is magnificant from the transformed ceilings, walls and floors to the beautifully done kitchen, and bathrooms. Her friend Gracia, who also doubles as a waitress at the Spoon, painted the tabletops, outdoor signs and the counter area. You have to see the pictures The Wooden Spoon in Historic Calvert, Texas or better yet, drive down for a visit. They're located at 726 Main street in Calvert...Just look for the large "Eat" sign out front or give them a call at (979) 364-2380. They're open 7 days a week 11:00AM to 9:00 PM. We will bring you more details about the Wooden Spoon shortly but trust me, it is a dining and entertainment experience worth your drive even if you're coming from Houston or Dallas!!!

TOUR OF THE WOODEN SPOON














CAJUNS- CALVERT SHOP OF THE MONTH (SEPTEMBER 2007)

In one of our recent trips to Calvert, we had the pleasure of walking into a little shop called CAJUN'S SHOPPE run by a very talented artisan, writer, horseman, and a native of Calvert.

This delightful young lady is an authority on Calvert history and has several articles on the following website: Life in the Brazos: Articles by Gracia Casey Thibodeaux, award winning column "by Cajun".


Gracia with her long time friend!



Some of Gracia's Artistic Creations











WE ACCEPT ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS. FOR ASSISTANCE WITH A PHONE CREDIT CARD ORDER, CALL 512 630 4619


Books by Calvert Texas author, Gracia de Santiago



$19.95
CATALOG No. texbk1

The Rising Star, Book by Gracia De Santiago


The Rising Star is a great Texas cowboy romance novel all about love, courage and belief systems on a ranch in the tough Brazos Valley of Texas. Author, Gracia de Santiago, has a free-flowing writing style that sets her apart and makes reading the novel fun and exciting.
Usually ships in 5-7 business days


$26.95
CATALOG No. texbk1

The Rising Star autographed by author, Gracia De Santiago


The Rising Star is a great Texas cowboy romance novel all about love, courage and belief systems on a ranch in the tough Brazos Valley of Texas. Author, Gracia de Santiago, has a free-flowing writing style that sets her apart and makes reading the novel fun and exciting. This version of the book is personally autographed by author, Gracia de Santiago.
Usually ships in 5-7 business days



For more information, SEE: Cajun Shoppe in Calvert Texas




COMMON SCENTS-CALVERT SHOP OF THE MONTH, OCTOBER 2007

Next door to Cajuns is another delightful shop called "Common Scents" owned and operated by Candy Shores, a virtual newcomer to Calvert from the Fort Worth area. Candy ran a successful Bar B Que restaurant in Calvert for five years before moving across the street to open up Common Scents.


Candy's delightful candles come in a vast array of mouth watering scents incuding such delights as Apple Cinnamon, Honeydew Melon, Orange Dreamsickle, Sex on the Beach Banana Nut Bread, Cotton Blossom, Honeysuckle, Orange Spice, Blackberry Sage, Cranberry Cobbler, Huckleberry , Strawberries & Creme and numerous other wonderful flavors.

Much to our surprise, this magnificant candle collection was just the tip of the iceberg. This talented young lady designs her own jewelry line and creates southwestern art that you'd expect in the finest shops of Santa Fe. And it doesn't stop there. Her eye for the unusual and her flair for "shabby chic" decorating make for an incredibly interesting shopping experience...well worth the trip to Calvert. See Common Scents & More for more information.





ZAMYKAL KOLACHES-CALVERT SHOP OF THE MONTH, NOVEMBER 2007



Down the street (southward) from Cajuns and Candy is delightful kolache bakery called "Zamykal Kolaches" owned and operated by Jody Powers, another transplant from the Fort Worth area.




Jody names the delightful little bakery for Grandmother Zamykal who immigrated from Czechoslovakia and settled in Texas in the early 1900's

Jody's kolache recipes , which come from her Grandmother Zamykal are baked in 26 flavors plus. At Zamykal Kolaches, you'll also find such delights as home-made fudge, coffee, and light and airy Secret Kiss cookies.

ANOTHER GREAT REASON TO VISIT CALVERT!!





HISTORY OF CALVERT TEXAS

By Leonard Kubiak with contributions from Friends of Calvert Texas !


For thousands of years, the region that was to become Calvert was home to a variety of Indian tribes that made their villages along the Brazos river and hunted the area that eventually became Calvert.

Artifacts identified as belonging to the Paleo-Indian (10,000-6,000 B.C.) and Archaic (6,000-200 B.C.) cultures have been found in the area, indicating it was continuously occupied for more than 10,000 years. When the first Europeans arrived in the region, it was dominated by Tawakoni, Tonkawa, and Waco Indians. Occasionally, Comanches, Kiowas, and Lipan-Apaches came into into the area, hunting buffalo and raiding enemy Indian villages. Large buffalo herds grazed upon the open prairies between the Trinity and Brazos rivers in the early 1800s.



Up Until the mid 1800's, Comanche Indians Still Claimed the Calvert Region as Their Home.



Then the territory came under Mexican jurrisdiction although still settled primarily by Indians. In order to gain greater control of the territory being claimed by the French and worried about the expanding influence of the United States, the mexican government began issuing land grants to bring in white settlers from the States and make them Mexican citizens.


Santa Anna, President of Mexico in the 1820's

In 1825, Robert Leftwich, agent of the Tennessee Colony, received a commission from the Spanish government to bring 800 settlers to Texas. Adjustments were made which allowed Sterling C. Robertson (17851842) to become impresario of the large tract.

Robertson's land was organized as the Mexican municipality of Viesca in 1830. However, after the death of Ben Milam at San Antonio in 1835, the citizens of Viesca voted to rename their municipality Milam. A final change of name occurred December 14, 1837, when the Second Congress of the Republic of Texas created a large county out of Bexar, Milam, and Nacogdoches counties, and named it Robertson, for the early impresario.

JOSEPH HARLAN, FIRST WHITE SETTLER IN CALVERT TEXAS REGION

The earliest known white settler in the area that eventually became Calvert Texas was Joseph Harlan, whose 1837 land grant lay five miles south of what is now the site of Calvert. In 1850 Robert Calvert (for whom the town was later named), was the first of numerous cotton planters that came to the Calvert Texas area to establish plantations along the fertile Brazos River delta that lay between the Brazos River and the Little Brazos River.

Another planter, B. F. Hammond arrived in Robertson County, Texas, in 1853 and purchased two large plantations between the sites of present-day Calvert and Bremond. As the owner of more than 100 slaves, he oversaw the cultivation of more than 1,000 acres of rich Brazos bottomland.


Slaves Picking Cotton in Robertson County Texas in the 1850's



The successful operation of the cotton plantations was observed by government and railroad officials in Houston. When the Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company began to expand their rail lines northward during the late 1850s, the planters in the Calvert area sent slaves out to help clear the railroad right of way and help railroad workers lay the rail ties.

With the outbreak of the civil war in 1861, the railroad line had only reached Millican, which was about 15 miles south of present-day Bryan. The war effort put a stop on railroad construction but cotton production continued during the war as planters provided cotton for government projects.

CALVERT REGION PROSPERS DURING THE CIVIL WAR

By the start of the Civil War, the Calvert region had a sizeable slave population with more cotton growers and slaves moving to the area to escape the war front. These area farmers and plantation owners supported the war effort by supplying beef and grains to the Confederate armies and producing cotton that was converted to cloth at the textile mill just a few miles south of present-day Calvert. The number of slaves more than doubled boosted cotton production record highs. With strong cotton trade with Mexico, the local economy prospered.

CIVIL WAR END BRINGS DEPRESSION TO CALVERT

The end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery meant a huge economic loss to the area whites (slave property had previously accounted for approximately half of their wealth).

The African-American population of the region fared even worse. Most blacks left the farms owned by their former masters to seek better working and living conditions, but for the vast majority, the change brought only marginal improvement. Most ended up working as agricultural laborers or as share croppers forcing them into poor living conditions.

Reconstruction Deals Blow to Calvert Area Planters

Many of the plantation owners and farmers had been reduced to poverty after being paid in now worthless Confederate money and loosing their slave property. Meanwhile, high sales tax on feed, cotton and farm animals left the farmers totally destitute. Then there was the problem of what to do with many hundreds of freed slaves that had no means of support other than living off the land. Federal troops were placed within what are now the city limits of Calvert for a while in 1867. Troops remained in the region until 1870.

During this period of reconstruction, the area blacks, supported by white Republican allies and the presence of the Yankee troups, managed to exercise political power. This loss of political power and wealth antagonized the farmers and plantation owners and they sought to make it as unpleasant as possible for the soldiers. Apparently they were successful, for the soldiers named the place, "The Yankee Hell Hole." However, the occupation period was short lived and the troups soon departed the area.

The Town of Calvert Texas is Born (1868)

Beginning in 1868, the Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company had great news for the area that was to become Calvert Texas. Construction of the rail lines northward was starting up again and would reach the area shortly.


Large Chinese Population Settles in Robertson County

Nearly three hundred Chinese workers were brought from California to Robertson County Texas (through St. Louis and down the Mississippi) to work the Houston and Texas Central construction in late 1869 and 1870.

These chinese railroad workers lived in tents and shacks. Typically, they were contracted to work five years at low wages in the Hearne-Calvert-Bremond area of Robertson County, Texas. Labor and wage problems brought their work to an end after a couple of years.

On January 30, 1870, a number of men paraded down Bremond’s main street—to the delight of all—in celebration of their Lunar New Year. At the end of their employment, over a hundred chinese immigrants stayed in or near Robertson County as sharecroppers. Their presence started the rumor that the Chinese were brought in as farm laborers. Almost certainly, sharecropping was the only work they could find. In 1874, nearly a hundred and fifty Chinese registered to vote in the Robertson County area. They were not citizens, of course, but Texas political parties were looking for votes after the Reconstruction Era had finally ended. Except for a few individuals, the "Robertson County Chinese" were the first group in Texas and the only rural workers in any numbers, then or now. Descendants with the names of Yepp, Chopp, and Williams still live in Calvert Texas.


Early-Day Calvert Texas Enjoys Prosperity After the War Ended

One of the area investers, Abraham Grosbeak, paid $3,321 for 1107 acres to be used as a townsite in January 1868 and transferred the land to an association of businessmen by quit claim. Railroad engineer, Theodore Kosse, who worked for the railroad company laid out a map of the proposed new town including a right of way through the town, and suitable blocks for depot and supply stations were deeded to the railroad company. The remaining lots out of the 1107 acre tract were made available for sale to the public.

CALVERT TEXAS NAMED FOR FAMOUS RESIDENT, ROBERT CALVERT



The new town of Calvert Texas was named for Judge Robert Calvert, a planter and state legislator, who had settled near Sterling (a couple of miles from present-day Calvert)when he arrived in Texas from Tennessee in 1850. Calvert was a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore, colonizer of Maryland.

A texas Historical marker at Burnett and Main St. describes the founding of Calvert," Swarming ox-carts and cotton wagons, busy stores and saloons, casino tables stacked with gold: this was early Calvert Texas, a major cotton export and trade center. The community of Calvert actually began as "Sterling," in Sterling C. Robertson colony of the 1820s. It was center of mustering and military supply activity in Civil War, 1861-1865. When Houston & Texas Central Railroad route was established there in 1868, the buildings in the town of Sterling were moved 2 mi. to the right of way and renamed for Judge Robert Calvert, pioneer Texan, local landowner, benefactor, and civic leader-- a descendant of Lord Baltimore of Maryland."

The Sanger Brothers, who later founded the Sanger-Harris stores in Dallas, built a store in Calvert Texas in 1868 and the first train arrived in Calvert in June 1869. As the terminus of the rail line, the city of Calvert prospered.

CALVERT TEXAS INCORPORATES AS A CITY IN 1870, BECOMES COUNTY SEAT

Calvert incorporated with an aldermanic form of government in 1870. In 1870, as part of the Reconstruction political maneuvering in Robertson County, Calvert Texas replaced Owensville as county seat of Robertson County. Early in 1870, Calvert Texas was still occupied by federal troops; that year also the first school was founded in the community. The Republican party in the county drew much of its strength from black voters on the plantations in the Calvert area, and for a number of years the party was able to elect blacks from Calvert to county and state office.

The large plantations of the pre-war era were divided into smaller tracts and sharecroppers and day laborers replaced the slave labor. More and more farmers and freed slaves moved into the area and cotton production began reaching record levels.

Calvert Texas Gets an Iron Foundry

In 1870, one of Calvert's first industries, an iron foundary was built. Local iron ore local deposits were mined and iron ore from as far away as a 100 miles northeast in Cherokee County was hauled to the foundy by horse-drawn wagons. Here the iron ore was processed into iron and made into farm tools.

As a rail center and as county seat, Calvert Texas prospered, and in 1871 the town claimed to have the largest cotton gin in the world.

Cecelia Conitz Heinrich, a fift-generation Calvert resident recalled that her great grandfather on her father's side (her father was Alfred Conitz), Emil Conitz Sr. came to the U.S. from Prussia about 1871 and opened a bootmaking shop in Calvert, one of the first few businesses in Calvert. Later, he had various interests including land, cattle, a partnership in a lumber yard, and a grocery store. His son, Emil Conitz, opened the Conitz Dry Goods store on Main Street in 1901 after graduating from business school in Galveston. Emil, who lived to be 94, took his son, Irvin, as a partner about the end of WWII. After Irvin died, his remaining daughter ran the store for a few years.

My father was Alfred Conitz. The Conitz Dry Goods store has sold a couple of times and is now operated as an art gallery and potter's studio.

In 1871, another of Calvert's most prominent citizens, William Harrison Hamman, a soldier, farmer, lawyer, entrepreneur, and two-time candidate for Governor of Texas moved to Calvert Texas and established a successful legal practice.

On July 26, 1871, he married Ella Virginia Laudermilk. The couple had five children. In 1878 William Hamman became interested in monetary reform and ran as the Greenback party's candidate for governor, finishing second.


Gottlieb Dirr came to Calvert Texas from Germany to work in the coal mines that were in production at the time. After a flood forced the mine's closing, Dirr made his living through the grocery/bakery he owned on Main Street.

CONSTRUCTION OF CALVERT'S BUSINESS DISTRICT FUELS A BOOM IN THE 1870's

The wealth and prosperity of the general townfolk fueled a huge business district that spanned some 46 blocks with over 50 businesses making it one the 4th largest cities in Texas by the end of the decade.


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Examples of Calvert's Business District (Old Bank and Masonic Lodge)

The business district of Calvert Texas began in the 1870s and was mostly complete by the 1890s. The business district is formed by an eight block area lying along Main Street, which is also state highway 6. The builders in Calvert Texas were able to utilize a variety of materials brought in by rail and many of the masonry commercial structures in Calvert were enriched by cast iron and pressed metal fronts. Those restricted to using only brick, often did so in a manner that was both distinctive and decorative. Ground floor arcades with openings containing French doors and fanlights, typical elements of 1800s commercial structures, are to be found on many of the buildings. In others, large plate glass windows fill the ground floors, while brick corbelling or pressed metal act as the terminating and/or decorative element. A few businesses located at street corners utilized corner entrances in order to be accessible from two approaches. This served also to emphasize the entry and provided a distinctive profile. Banks most often treated their entrances in this fashion.

As word of the availability of rich bottom land spread far and wide, cotton planters continued to flock to the Calvert region growing more cotton than ever before. As the farmers prospered, the town of Calvert grew into a charming southern city attracting many of the plantation owners to build large Victorian-style mansions in the city, many of which are still standing today.

Calvert Texas was definitely a boom town and like other towns that had experienced explosive growth, there were frequent shoot outs, stacks of gold piled high on the tables of the gambling house and barrels of whiskey kept in grocery stores for cash customers.

In 1870, Calvert became the county seat for Robertson County and growth was evident all around. The Citizens of Calvert Texas organized and built schools and churches and Casimer's Opera House provided operas, plays and concerts. Businesses thrived.


Calvert's Church of the Epiphany located at Gregg Street at Elm Street was organized in 1870 and is still in use today.

Calvert Texas could claim a cosmopolitan population, as many ethnic groups were represented in the business community and general population. The Frenchmen Bertrand and Jacques Adoue, were prominent merchants and bankers. The Adoue Building (7) with its steel vault stands on Main Street, presently housing an antique store. Germans, Jews, Irish and Blacks all settled in Calvert to share in the prosperity.

The Chinese were also a familiar sight along the streets of Calvert at this time. During Reconstruction a group of Chinese were brought to the area to help fill the labor shortage which developed after the slaves were freed following the Civil War.

YELLOW FEVER EPIDEMIC HITS CALVERT TEXAS IN 1873

The first serious blow to this booming community was dealt by a yellow fever epidemic that killed almost three hundred residents and struck over 1900 others from September until November, 1873.


Calvert Cemetery, Organized in 1870, has many fine examples of Victorian sepulchral sculptures.

CALVERT'S "SPEC" COURTHOUSE BUILDING

Early in 1870, Calvert Texas was notified that it was to become the county seat of Robertson County. County records were moved into makeshift county offices and a plan was formulated for a new office complex. In an attempt to ensure that the county seat would remain in Calvert, Calvert authorized the building of a permanent courthouse and jail facility in 1875.

In June of 1875, A. Groesbeck and F.A. Rice, trustees of a parcel of Houston and Texas Central Railroad land, transferred a tract of land to Robertson County for use as a courthouse and jail site. The same day, plans and specifications for the courthouse architect was prepared by W.T. Ingraham of St. Louis, Missouri. and accepted by the county. Just before the courthouse was completed in 1878, the citizens of Robertson County voted to move the county seat to Morgan (which was renamed Franklin) leaving Calvert with a very expensive vacant building. (In the course of forty years, Robertson County had five county seats: Old Franklin, 1838-1850; Wheelock, 1850-1855; Owensville, 1855-1869; Calvert, 1870-1879; and Franklin, 1879 to present).

Each town built a courthouse as it was selected as the county seat, but Calvert erected one of the most elegant. Indeed, the Calvert Texas Courthouse reflected the wealth of a town which was a railroad center, and the site of what was proclaimed as the worlds largest cotton gin in the world (1871).

In 1885, Robert A. Brown, merchant, investor and banker, bought the old courthouse and jail from A. Faulkner converting it into a beautiful house that was eventually sold back to the Hammond family and came to be known as the Hammond House.

(In 1966, the Robertson County Historical Society bought the old courthouse and jail and attempted to use it for a museum. However, after realizing the cost involved in restoring the old building, they sold it back into the Hammonds family!)



Former Calvert Courthouse built in the early 1870's (on left); The courthouse/jail became a Private Home; Sold in 1966 to the Robertson County Historical Society as a museum; then sold back to the Hammond family and operated as a bed and breakfast today.



Snapshot of Calvert Texas in the late 1800's

By the late 1870's, Calvert Texas was a thriving community with some fifty-two businesses and a population of 2,500. In 1879, the town of Morgan became Robertson County seat, but Calvert Texas continued to prosper as a commercial center.



P.C. Gibson, Cotton Gin and Oil Mill Tycoon.



P.C. Gibson Mansion in Calvert Texas.



By 1890, Calvert Texas had an estimated 3,500 inhabitants, with Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, and Catholic churches, public schools, two banks, an opera house, and the weekly Courier. Calvert was a major cotton center, with 3 gins including the Gibson Gin and Oil Company constructed by P.C. Gibson and touted as the world's largest gin, several cotton compresses, and other related cotton industries.

Although the land for a city park was donated by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad in 1868. In 1895 a pavilion and two gazebos were constructed from the design of a New York architect. The park was renamed the Virginia Field Park.

Virginia Field Park Pavilion and Gazebosin Calvert Texas



Calvert Texas Gets a New Hotel


In 1898, Calvert Texas got a new business known as the Cottage Hotel that was born out of necessity. Some 28 years earlier, a German settler named Gottlieb Dirr came to Calvert to work in the coal mines and later ran a grocery/bakery on Main Street.

When Dirr died in 1898, his widow Hanna Dirr added a second story and an elaborate front with columns, a porch with railings, and opened the "Cottage Hotel."

The hotel was directly across from the Southern Pacific Railroad (formerly the Houston and Texas Central) and only two blocks from the station's depot. The hotel was popular with the traveling salesmen known as "drummers" and other commercial travelers who came through Calvert Texas. These salesman would visit the country stores in the area peddling their wares and returning to the hotel each evening (the Cottage Hotel has been restored and reopened for business as the Calvert Hotel).


Calvert Hotel, Originally Known as the Cottage Hotel in 1898



DISASTER STRIKES CALVERT TEXAS (1899 & 1901)



In 1899, Calvert Texas was heavily damaged by floods, and two years later a fire destroyed much of its business district. That same year, Emil Conitz opened the Conitz Dry Goods store on Main Street after graduating from business school in Galveston. This remained a family business for the better part of the 1900's.

In 1905, Pete Gibson, one of two brothers that owned the Gibson Gin and Oil Company in Calvert, built a cottage of native cypress at 406 Texas Street. The Gibson House started out as a small cottage, but was enlarged in the 1920's into a 2-1/2 story wood frame house that occupied the greater part of a city block.


Pete Gibson Home as it appears today



REBIRTH OF CALVERT TEXAS (1960s)

Beginning in the early 1960s the city of Calvert Texas began to experience a revitalization as it was discovered by travellers along Highway 6. Through word of mouth, newspaper articles in the state's most widely circulated dailies and in magazines of every sort, the word was out that Calvert Texas had somehow managed to elude the problems of twentieth century life. Life in Calvert Texas was still leisurely, taxes incredibly low and the ambiance created by the large rambling Victorian homes hidden in a century old landscape reminiscent of another era.

Many individuals from Houston and Dallas invested in the old houses when their occupants passed away or were taken to rest homes by their urban children. Many of these home, originally purchased as retirement/weekend homes,became permanent addresses as people left their jobs in Houston due to retirement.

CALVERT TEXAS CLAIMS ANTIQUES CAPITAL OF TEXAS

The old historical buildings in Calvert's historic district were ideally suited for Antiques Shops and antique dealers flocked to Calvert Texas in the 1960s to take advantage of the flow of well-off travellers on the Houston to Dallas highway.


CALVERT TEXAS- HISTORICAL DISTRICT IS REBUILT (1968)

One hundred years after Calvert Texas became a town, it's residents gathered to celebrate Calvert's centennial. The Historical District established in Calvert Texas by the Texas Historical Commission within Calvert encompasses 37 complete and 9 partial blocks and millions of dollars in building restitution pumped new life into Calvert, the Antiques Capital of Texas.



OTHER CALVERT TEXAS CLAIMS TO FAME

One of Calvert's most interesting features is a gin that was proclaimed the largest in the world and was so featured in the geography books used in Texas schools (and in Ripley's Believe It or Not"). Colonel J. H. Gibson first built this gin in 1875; at first it had only two stands. Later, it had twenty stands and could gin four bales at once, with a daily output of one hundred and fifty bales. It is now a gin and cotton oil mill and is operated by the descendants of Colonel Gibson.

Calvert Texas is also one of the few towns in Texas with a larger Negro population than White. A number of stores and shops are owned and operated by Negroes - which fact is also unusual in Texas. According to the 2000 census, there are 1,426 people living in Calvert Texas,36.89% White and 52.38% African American.

The main business street has an old and time-mellowed appearance. The contrast between the Negro shanties across the tracks and the colonial homes of the planters makes this town a rather striking place to visit.

CALVERT HISTORIC DISTRICT ADDED TO NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PROPERTY(1978).

The area roughly bounded by Main, Garritt, Pin Oak, Maple, and Barton Sts., in Calvert Texas covering some 700 acres, 82 buildings, and 2 structures were added to the National Resister of Historic Property in 1978.



Downtown Calvert Texas; On this map, Main Street is shown as HW6. The top of the map is North (toward Bremond) and the bottom of the map is South (to Hearne). Pin Oak and Maple Streets are East of Main Street. Railroad Street runs adjacent to the tracks.



BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE CALVERT HISTORICAL DISTRICT ON FILE IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PROPERTY

"Calvert Texas has come to be synonymous with Victorian Texas, as within its boundaries are to be found a large collection of commercial and residential structures which were constructed 1870-1900. The city developed rapidly during this period and prospered handsomely because of the railroad and a thriving cotton economy. The structures which comprise the Calvert Historic District are expressive of this growth and prominence.

The district boundary line is irregular, but essentially the Calvert Historic District is comprised of the commercial blocks and a large segment of the residential area to the east of the commercial district.

Thirty-seven complete blocks and portions of nine others are encompassed by the historic district. The district is bordered on the south by Main Street, including structures on both sides of the street and the 800 and 900 blocks of Railroad Street; on the east by Garritt Street; on the north by Pin Oak Street, then turning east to include the cemetery and city park and two structures on Maple Street; and on the west by Mitchell and Barton Streets.

A strong linear axis, which is formed by State Highway 6 and framed by the commercial district, bisects the city. Perhaps more than any other factor, it was the railroad which determined the morphology of Calvert's town plan. A prototypical rail town, the rail lines are located one block to the east of the commercial area and run parallel to it. Old city maps which reveal large open spaces located to the south of the commercial district indica.e where the loading docks were once positioned. The wealth of Victorian residential architecture begins in the blocks just beyond the rail lines, to the east.

Although the city was at one time designated the county seat and a courthouse was constructed, the structure was located several blocks to the east of the commercial district - hence Calvert Texas lacks the expected focal point of a courthouse square. The business district is formed by an eight block area lying along Main Street, which is also a major state highway. Calvert's commercial district developed in the last three decades of the nineteenth century and followed the pattern found in most nineteenth century Texas towns, in that the first businesses were located in wooden false front structures which were replaced in time by one- or two-story masonry structures.

The builders were able to later utilize a variety of materials which were brought in by rail and many of the masonry commercial structures in Calvert Texas were enriched by cast iron and pressed metal fronts. Those restricted to using only brick, often did so in a manner that was both distinctive and decorative. Ground floor arcades with openings containing French doors and fanlights, typical elements of nineteenth century commercial structures, are to be found on many of the buildings. In others, large plate glass windows fill the ground floors, while brick corbelling or pressed metal act as the terminating and/or decorative element. A few businesses located at street corners utilized corner entrances in order to be accessible from two approaches. This served also to emphasize the entry and provided a distinctive profile. Banks most often treated their entrances in this fashion.

Special care should be taken to preserve the graphics present on a few structures which are the only visible remains of businesses which long ago operated along Main Street. Another aesthetic consideration deserving of more attention is the rear elevations and surrounding spaces of these commercial buildings. Many structures display handsome rear elevations which are not being maintained. This area, its potential utilized, could serve as an attractive transitional space between the commercial - residential districts.

Within the residential community, an area which covers the greatest portion of the historic district, twentieth century bungalow forms and nineteenth century wooden vernacular structures are well represented. However, it is the picturesque Victorian houses that predominate, both numerically and visually. Several are sited on an entire block, many on half of a block. Turned columns, jigsaw cut details and Eastlake ornament fashioned with a chisel, gouge and lathe are in evidence throughout the area. Examples of nineteenth century houses built from plans ordered from magazines or purchased prefabrica.ed from Sears are also to be found in the residential area. In the early twentieth century several Victorian homes were remodeled to update them to the more fashionable Colonial Revival style. The old courthouse, known as the Hammond House (29), is located in the residential district. An imposing Victorian Gothic building, it is currently under restoration for use as a museum.

Calvert displays other evidence of its Victorian heritage, such as the City Park with its band stand (34) surrounded by two smaller gazebos, and the city cemetery which is adjacent to the park, and perhaps served as an additional park. Twentieth century America shuns cemeteries, but to the Victorians they provided a delightful spot for a family picnic. Established in 1870, the Calvert Cemetery (35) reveals a variety of large, elaborate nineteenth century sepulchral sculpture, often symbolizing a person's achievements or position within the community.

Only five structures within the Calvert Historic District can be identified as intrusions. Perhaps it would be fitting to include State Highway 6 as an intrusion, as the constant stream of heavy traffic makes movement about the streets difficult and hazardous. In addition to the noise and pollution factors, the vibrations caused by the passage of large numbers of semi-trailers has contributed to the structural damage of the commercial buildings. For approximately the first sixty years of the twentieth century the most formidable opponent of the handsome commercial structures was neglect.

Beginning in the early 1960s the city began to experience a revitalization as it was discovered by those who paused on their journeys down Highway 6. Through word of mouth, newspaper articles in the state's most widely circulated dailies and in magazines of every sort, the word was out that Calvert had somehow managed to elude the vicissitudes of twentieth century life - here life was still leisurely, taxes incredibly low and the ambiance created by the large rambling Victorian homes hidden in a century old landscape reminiscent of another era.

Many from Houston and Dallas invested in the old houses when their occupants passed away or were taken to rest homes by their urban children. Originally purchased as a retirement/weekend home, they quickly became permanent addresses. Antique stores suddenly appeared downtown in abundance, several on each block usually. Thus were initiated the problems now making themselves apparent in the commercial district, as the visual quality as well as the fabric of the area is now in danger.

Not a single block remains unmarred. Where continuity in scale, materials, rhythm and proportions once prevailed, the blocks have been punctured by substantial alterations and remodeling which often display a glaring lack of understanding of the nineteenth century cityscape. Masonry facades have been hidden under new wooden false fronts, first floor openings bricked up and plastered and store fronts rebricked and repainted, hiding original openings in the process. It is imperative that guidelines for restoration be adopted by Calvert merchants.

The residential area has fared better, but unsympathetic remodeling is visible in a few instances, as original wood siding has disappeared under asbestos siding. The continued random, isolated and incorrect remodeling practiced under the guise of restoration/preservation could well render the ambiance which sets Calvert apart from other towns with their origins in the nineteenth century a thing of the past.

Here it is important to stress that these practices are isolated - the exception, not the rule, and relatively few in number. By far, the majority of merchants and residents are actively aware of the unique environment in which they work and live and are actively involved in preservation efforts. The Robertson County Historical Survey Committee has provided leadership in these efforts, as they have sponsored the Annual Springtime Pilgrimage of some of Calvert's most significant homes and they are currently restoring the old courthouse for use as the Robertson County Historical Museum.

The following is a list of exemplary and/or the more salient structures found in the Calvert Historic District:

1. 404 - 408 Main Street. This three building row of one- story commercial structures were erected ca. 1890. All are masonry structures with cast iron store fronts. French doors and large plate glass windows covered by transoms fill the ground floors. Brick panels and pressed tin cornices are used as the decorative elements.

2. Masonic Hall, Pierce Lodge, 410 Main Street. The ground floor facade of this late nineteenth century structure was constructed with cast iron while the upper story was sheathed in sheet metal, a fashionable late nineteenth century building material. Emulating elaborate carved stone, the sheet metal provided a decorative, distinctive and economical facade to the Main Street elevation. The Mitchell Street masonry elevation is capped with a continuation of the metal cornice. The angled opening allowed access from two avenues. The Masonic Lodge retained the upper floor for their own use and leased the ground floor as commercial space. This structure displays the three part division of the commercial style.

3. Hazel's Flower and Dress Shop, 403 Main Street. At one time this three-bay, nineteenth century one-story commercial structure was marked by three large brick arches which spanned its facade. The supportive brick pilasters were removed to allow the installation of a new opening framed by large plate glass windows The remaining brick arches are sagging because the wooden lintel cannot support the weight of the masonry. A brick cornice acts as a decorative element.

4. 407-411 Main Street. This three building row of one- story, three-bay masonry commercial structures were constructed ca. 1880 and are exemplary of nineteenth century commercial construction. Romanesque in flavor, the building at 407 Main is especially handsome with its three sets of French doors capped fanlights. The other two structures are marked by wooden fronts with French door openings covered by transoms. All the structures maintain the same roof line. 409 and 411 Main share an identical continuous line of brick dentils and corbelling below the cornice.

5. 413 Main Street. Although it is in poor structural condition, this late nineteenth century commercial building has maintained much of its original design. The facade is spanned by six sets of French doors set into the cast iron store front.

6. 500 - 502 Main Street. Built in ca. 1870 to house the Calvert Foundry, one of Calvert's first industries, these structures now house Robert Davis Antiques (500) and C. S. Allen Hardware (502). The north building reveals considerable alteration as it displays a twentieth century store front. The south building is masonry with a cast iron front from St. Louis. Two sets of double doors which are framed by large plate glass windows and capped by transoms fill the ground floor.

7. Jaques Adoue Building, 506 Main Street. This two-story commercial structure with its cast iron and pressed metal front is one of the most commanding Main Street buildings. Four-bays wide, entrance is gained through four sets of French doors. The metal cornice is capped by a metal panel stamped with J. Adoue, the name of banker/merchant who constructed the building in 1884. Adoue owned several businesses and it is said this store set an ambitious style for the town.

8. 516 Main Street. Originally constructed as a bank, this building is now a dentist's office. A one-story masonry structure, its formal neo-classical details are enriched further by the raised parapet above the pressed tin cornice. Distinguished by its corner entrance favored by banks, the entry is emphasized by the Ionic columns which flank the doorway and by the elaborate pedimented entrance.

9. Oscar Building, 507 Main Street. Built in 1879 by the Oscar family, prominent Calvert merchants, this two-story, four-bay masonry building retains its original facade almost intact. Remodeling has altered one bay. Originally all ground level openings were filled with French doors. Brick label moldings surround the second story windows. The building is terminated by a metal pedimented cornice stamped with the name of the builder.

10. Cotton Blossom Antiques, 610 Main Street. A fine example of nineteenth century commercial Victorian design, pressed tin, cast iron, wood and brick have been used to obtain a visual richness. A set of center French doors framed by large plate glass windows fill the ground floor of this two- story, three day structure. A unique feature of the interior, originally constructed as a dry goods store, is the second story mezzanine which curves around the interior, open in the center to the first floor.

11. Citizens State Bank, 620 Main Street. Although the first floor facade of this two-story three-bay nineteenth century structure has been altered, the exterior retains its 1887 style. Brick arch moldings surround first floor openings while segmental arches span second level openings, giving them a visual continuity. Interest is provided at the cornice by a raised brick parapet with brick corbelling.

12. Cuzzeri Building, 619 Main Street. An additional expression of a commercial structure utilizing a corner entry to provide access from two approaches, this one-story masonry commercial Victorian building was erected ca. 1880. Brick panels and a pressed tin cornice carrying the name B. Cuzzari provide distinctive decorative elements.

13. Salazar's Garage, 717 Main Street. This handsome four- part, eight-bay one-story masonry structure terminates the block. Eight sets of double doors with transoms set in stilted brick arches span the cast iron front. Decorative brick corbelling and pilasters capped with brick finials satisfies the desire for opulence and imparts individuality to the facade.

14. Abrams-Allay House, 207 Burnett Street. The outstanding feature of this 1-1/2 story rambling Victorian house which was built ca. 1890 is the elaborately decorated pediments. The one-story porch which stretches across the front is supported by turned columns with stylized Ionic capitals.

15. Calvert Hotel, 408 Railroad Street. The original section of this structure, which was utilized as a hotel from 1890- 1966, dates from 1872. Raised on a brick foundation, this two-story structure reflects the style which emerged from the transition of the Greek Revival to the Victorian. The two-story gallery which extends across the front is supported by Doric columns and the front elevation is pierced by asymmetrically placed openings. The structure is currently under restoration for use as a hotel/residence.

16, Dunn House, 302 Texas Street. The corner bays of this late Victorian wood frame residence are set at 45 degree angles and belie the symmetry of its plan. This simple vernacular structure is enriched by the imbricated shingles in the gables, tin finials, turned porch columns and pressed tin set around the footings. This rambling two-story Victorian house was remodeled in the early twentieth century to reflect the more popular Colonial Revival style which had been introduced in the east during the 1880s. Ionic columns with egg and dart molding support the two-story pedimented portico. A circular second level balcony projects from the center bay. The transom and side lights are filled with leaded bevelled glass. A Gothic Revival cast iron fence partially surrounds the property.

18. Fancher-Drennan-Cobb House, 301 Gregg Street. The site on which this Victorian cottage is built was originally designated as the Courthouse Square, but was sold when the county seat was transferred to Franklin in 1879. This 1-1/2 story frame residence was constructed in 1885 for Dr. R. B. Faucher. It was remodeled by later owners ca. 1890. A turreted bay distinguishes the porch, which is decorated by a variety of Victorian jig-saw cut details. Metal cresting extends along the roof ridge.

19. R.W. Burnett House, 305 Gregg Street. (Burned Feb. 1984) It is the reference to the Victorian Italianate which distinguishes the Burnett House. A handsome three-story tower marks the entrance of this two-story, frame residence which was built ca. 1890. The one-story L-shaped porch and second level balcony are embellished with X-shaped jig-saw cut balusters and lattice work. Many of the window moldings reveal a classical influence. Brackets with pendants are found under the deep eaves. The property is partially surrounded by a cast iron fence with a Gothic Revival cast iron gate.

20. Gibson House, 406 Texas Street. The Gibson House and its property occupy an entire block. Originally a small cottage, the house was enlarged in the early years of the twentieth century by the Gibsons, who owned the Gibson Gin and Oil Company. This 2-1/2 story wood frame house exemplifies the Colonial Revival style, yet retains many Victorian details. Coupled Ionic columns mark the east elevation, while Doric columns are used at the north and south elevation.

21. Collat-Hucks House, 401 Gregg Street. A rich and fanciful composition, this two-story frame residence has retained most of its original detail, on both the interior and exterior. The house was built in 1892 and displays a multiplicity of Victorian ornament including decorated bargeboards, metal cresting and stained glass. The L-shaped two-story gallery which frames the house is especially picturesque because of its Eastlake embellishments.

22. Fanny R. Jones House, 409 Gregg Street. (Burned - Removed) Exhibiting a multitude of Victorian elements, this imposing two-story galleried residence was built in 1879. Turned columns and bargeboards, jig-saw cut balustrades, lattice work and brackets and stained glass windows all contribute to the visual richness of this structure.

23. First Presbyterian Church, 401 Barton Street. Built at Sterling before the Civil War, this church, reflective of the Greek Revival style, was moved to Calvert in 1868 by oxen and was moved again to its present site in 1913. Four Doric columns support the pedimented portico.

24. Presbyterian Manse, 403 Barton Street. An example of the symmetrical Victorian, this one-story, five-bay wooden residence was constructed ca. 1880. The central entrance is bordered by side lights and a transom.

25. Drennan-Doremus-Burnitt House, 502 Texas Street. Constructed ca. 1870, this large Victorian residence provides another example of a twentieth century remodeling to Colonial Revival style popular in the early decades of this century. Rambling in composition, this 2-1/2 story structure is enriched by the small Ionic columns found at the porches, the stylized Palladian window set into the gables, and the elaboration of carving in the pediments.

26. Drennan-Field-Doremus House, 508 Texas Street. Distinguished by the two-story tower which marks the entrance, this one-story frame residence was once a part of the original residence at 502 Texas Street. Victorian ornament is provided by the jig-saw cut balustrade, lattice work and bargeboards.

27. Proctor House, 509 Gregg Street. Displaying the strong influence of the bungalow style as a result of remodeling, this two-story frame residence was constructed ca. 1905. The porte cochere and gallery additions date ca. 1920. Cresting caps the peak of the steep hipped roof.

28. Church of the Epiphany, Gregg Street at Elm Street. Organized in 1870, this carpenter Gothic structure is the oldest church in Calvert and has been used continuously since the parish was founded. The church is distinguished by the three-story tower, lances windows and jig-saw cut bargeboard.

29. Hammond House, Block 107. Originally constructed in 1875 as the Robertson County Courthouse, the county seat was moved to Franklin before its completion. The Victorian Gothic structure was then adapted for use as a residence until 1966, when it was purchased for use as the Robertson County Historical Museum. Restoration is currently underway. The jail and a carriage house of a later date are found to the east of the structure. (See National Register submission, Hammond House).

30. Private Residence, 908 China Street. This 2-1/2 story asymmetrical Victorian frame residence was ordered prefabricated from Sears.

31. Randolph-Field House, 800 China Street. Constructed in 1873, this one-story, five-bay raised cottage displays many features of the Greek Revival in plan and overall form. The plan is the classic one of a central hall with balanced rooms on each side. The three center bays are covered by a pedimented porch carried on Doric columns. The two interior chimneys are offset, left and right. The house was built by George Randolph of Virginia, who is thought to be a descendant of Thomas Jefferson.

32. Jones House, 609 Gregg Street. The Jones House has appeared in several publications as illustrative of the Queen Anne style. The chimney which surrounds the large plate glass window on the south elevation has been treated as the outstanding feature of this late nineteen century, 2 1/2 story residence. The irregular plan and massing and the variety of color and materials are exemplary of the Queen Anne style and are employed here to develop a visual richness. Typical of many nineteenth century residences, the plans for this house were ordered from a magazine.

33. Private Residence, 700 Texas Street. This late nineteenth century 1-1/2 story residence grew around a two room structure which had been moved to this site. Five-bays wide, the house displays the symmetrical central hall plan. The hipped roof is pierced by four gables. Victorian influence is indicated by the imbricated shingles found in the gable, art glass windows and jig-saw cut brackets at the porch. A detached kitchen is located at the west elevation.

34. Virginia Field Park Pavilion and Gazebos, Virginia Field Park. Land for a city park was donated by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad in 1868. In 1895 a pavilion and two gazebos were constructed from the design of a New York architect. The pavilion is octagonal in plan and covered by a two-tiered roof.

35. Calvert Cemetery. Organized in 1870, many fine examples of Victorian sepulchral sculpture are to be found here.

36. Clara Barton House, 404 Maple Street. Unique because of its brick construction, the Barton House was built at the turn of the century and marks the transition from the Victorian to the Colonial Revival. The asymmetrical entrance to the two story residence is indicated by the two-story pedimented portico supported of Doric columns. A second level porch extends across the front elevation, while an L- shaped porch partially surrounds the ground level.

While the major cities have seen their turreted mansions and picturesque frame houses disappear, Calvert has retained the majority of its original nineteenth century form and fabric, with a minimal number of twentieth century intrusions. Those structures which comprise the Calvert Historic District are reflective of the wealth and prosperity of Calvert during the last three decades of the nineteenth century when cotton truly was king and railway lines converted a small community almost overnight into a boom town. The history of Calvert essentially dates 1870- 1900; little happened in the area before, not much afterwards. The twentieth century largely by-passed Calvert, and only within the past ten years have significant changes been visible again in Calvert.

Colonists were settling near Calvert as early as 1834, but the city was not established until after the Civil War. Prior to this date, the small community of Sterling, located three miles to the west of Calvert, was the center of activity.

The decade of the 1850s marked the beginning of extensive cotton production in the rich farmlands surrounding Calvert. The successful operation of the cotton plantations was observed by government and railroad officials in Houston. When the Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company began to expand their rail lines northward during the late 1850s their endeavors were enthusiastically supported by planters in the Calvert area, some of whom sent their slaves to help clear the way and lay the rail ties.

The Civil War disrupted all expansion plans and the lines had reached only to Millican, about 15 miles south of Bryan, by 1860. Cotton production continued during the war as planters subscribed cotton for government projects. Reconstruction, proved to be a serious economic blow to the area. Many farmers had been reduced to poverty after being paid in Confederate money and the high sales tax on feed, cotton and farm animals rendered many penniless. Federal troops were placed within what are now the city limits of Calvert for a while in 1867 much to the dismally of the population, who sought to make it as unpleasant as possible for the soldiers. Apparently they were successful, for the soldiers named the place, "The Yankee Hell Hole." Beginning in 1868, the Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company announced they were to continue construction of rail lines northward.

Abraham Grosbeak paid $3,321 for 1107 acres to be used as a townsite in January 1868 and transferred the land to an association of businessmen by quit claim. A map of the new town was drawn by Theodore Kosse, an engineer for the railroad company. A right of way through the town, and suitable blocks for depot and supply stations were deeded to the railroad company and the remaining lots were made available to the public.

The new town was named for Robert Calvert, a planter and state legislator, who had settled near Sterling when he arrived in Texas from Tennessee in 1850. Calvert was a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore, colonizer of Maryland. With the arrival of the railway lines, many families moved to Calvert from the smaller surrounding communities, which were then left deserted.

The first train arrived in Calvert in June 1869. As the terminus of the rail line the city prospered. Frame commercial buildings lined Main Street. By the early 1870s these were being replaced by more permanent masonry structures. Initial residential settlement was to the west of the commercial district. Movement to the east side began in the late 1870s-early 1880s.

Calvert was a boom town and like other towns which experienced quick, explosive growth, tales of shoot outs, stacks of gold piled high on the tables of the gambling house and barrels of whiskey kept in grocery stores for cash customers abound. Almost assured scenes of this sort must have been common, but to what extent no one can be sure. Tales of this nature make for good stories and interesting lectures and thus tend to be perpetuated and often overemphasized. Citizens attended to their social, fraternal and religious needs as schools were organized, churches were constructed and Casimer's Opera House provided operas, plays and concerts. Businesses thrived. The Sanger Brothers, who later founded the Sanger-Harris stores in Dallas, built a store in 1868. Calvert could claim a cosmopolitan population, as many ethnic groups were represented in the business community and general population. The Frenchmen Bertrand and Jacques Adoue, were prominent merchants and bankers. The Adoue Building (7) with its steel vault stands on Main Street, presently housing an antique store. Germans, Jews, Irish and Blacks all settled in Calvert to share in the prosperity. The Chinese were also a familiar sight along the streets of Calvert at this time. During Reconstruction a group of Chinese were brought to the area to help fill the labor shortage which developed after the slaves were freed following the Civil War.

The first serious blow to this thriving community was dealt by a yellow fever epidemic that killed almost three hundred residents and struck over 1900 others from September until November, 1873. The completion of the railway lines to Dallas soon after meant Calvert was no longer the rail head - now it was merely a stop along the route. A considerable decline in commerce was initiated as many businesses left the town.

The city had been named the county seat in 1870, but construction on a courthouse was not initiated until 1875. Before the Victorian Gothic structure (29) with its adjacent jail could be completed, the county seat was transferred to Franklin in 1870. The removal of the county seat had almost no affect upon the community. The completed courthouse was remodeled for use as a private residence.

Cotton production kept the city viable well into the twentieth century, when some emphasis was switched from cotton to cattle. The sizable incomes realized by planters and merchants were evidenced in the homes they built for themselves during 1800s-1900. Many notable examples of nineteenth century architecture are found in the historic district. The Burnitt House (19), an asymmetrical Victorian structure, displays an Italianate influence, while the variety of materials and color, and the irregularity of plan and massing give a visual richness to the Jones House (32) that is associated with the Queen Anne style. The Fanny R. Jones House (22) and the Collat-Hucks House (21), although separated by thirteen years, each reveal a multiplicity of Victorian detailing consistent with the period. The Foster Johnson House (17) and the Drennan-Doremus-Burnitt House (25) illustrate rambling Victorian residences which were transformed into Colonial Revival residences in the early twentieth century. The Gibson (2) and Clara Barton (36) Houses exemplify the transition from the Victorian to the Colonial Revival style of the early twentieth century.

The blocks surrounding the Calvert Historic District contain additional structures of architectural significance. The distinguishing characteristic of the historic district is the concentration of nineteenth century structures sharing similar scale, proportions and materials which have been pierced by few unsympathetic intrusions and which, acting as a group, contribute to the fabric of this nineteenth century community. Endangered structures in the historic district exist totally within the commercial area. These are the vacant building showing evidence of serious structural damage. Extensive restoration would be necessary, but they could certainly be reclaimed as contributing elements of the commercial district. A high level of awareness and concern exists within Calvert and it is assured that the community will continue to make its prime concern the protection and enhancement of the architectural legacy with which they have been entrusted.



CALVERT TEXAS BULLETIN BOARD




UPCOMING EVENTS

Don't forget to mark your calandars for Dec 1-2- that's the date of the Calvert Christmas Tour of Homes and Downtown Sales Event.











CALVERT-RELATED EMAILS

Received the following email from Bob Burnitt whose family goes back to the early days of Calvert.


My father, Andrew Wagner Burnitt Jr. was a descendant of William C. Burnitt who came to the Calvert Texas area in 1853. My father’s mother was Catherine Mears Burnitt who was the daughter of Goal Berry Mears Sr. who came to Calvert Texas in 1890 from Mississippi.

My father,Andrew Wagner Burnitt Jr. was born and raised in Calvert Texas and came back to Calvert after service in the Navy in WWII. He had to leave after awhile though, he just couldn’t make a living there. So, I was born in Fort Worth (1951).

My mother was born and raised in Lorena Texas and is a descendant of Daniel Aerl who founded Lorena. Since my mother and father are both descendants of Central Texas pioneers I am always interested in any and all central Texas history.

If I could figure out how to make a living down in that part of the country, I would move down there in a heartbeat. We have been up here in Ellis County Texas for nearly 50 years and this place is being overrun by the growth out of the “Metroplex” (Fort Worth / Dallas). Since I come from a farming / ranching background, well; we just have lost our “culture” if you know what I mean. We only have about 60 acres left out of our farm, and a huge highway is supposed to come through it before too long, we have no way of knowing when.

Anyway, I have enjoyed your site. If there is anything I can do for you please contact me at the above numbers / email.

Thanks, Bob Burnitt
Received the following email from Mike Caudle"Mike Caudle" (caudlef15e@earthlink.net):

Mon, 16 Jan 2006

I really enjoyed this web site! I am a direct descendant of Robert Calvert (founder of Calvert Texas) and William Burnitt. My family is from Calvert Texas and until recently owned the family home(since 1879) on Greg Street. I am researching my genealogy and came upon this site while looking for Burnitt. Wow..what a coincidence!


Received the following email from Cecelia Conitz Heinrich (cheinric@tca.net), a 5th generation Calvert family member.

Hi Len!

Enjoyed your site. Calvert Texas is my hometown. I am a 5th generation family and, although I no longer live there, I still have an aunt there, and I taught in Hearne for many years.

I just wanted to let you know that the picture you have labeled is not the Calvert Depot. That building was the Weigh Station for the old Gibson gin. The last time I was there, it still had the scale for weighing wagons under the overhang by the street. This building was across the highway from the railroad tracks, and not close enough to serve as a depot.

The old depot was torn down. My father bought one of the old luggage wagons from the depot when they tore it down, and he kept it in our back yard for years. I did a drawing of the real depot, as I remembered it, in the 50s, and that drawing was still in the Katy Hamman Stricker Libaray the last time I was in there, which has been some years ago.

The actual depot was beside the railroad tracks at the last street crossing the tracks in town, behind Fontana Ford. It was brick, and had a long loading dock on the south side where cotton was kept before loading it aboard trains. The cotton was brought by wagon from the gin, or gins, as there were 3 gins. Cotton from those gins would blow all over town when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s, and people would have to clean the stuff off their window screens. The further away from town, the less cotton would be on the screens!

I took a few trips by train from that train station to Dallas. Anyway, I haven't been able to find anyone who has a picture of that depot. After I drew the picture in the Library, I tried to find a picture so I could verify what it looked like. People told me that it looked just like the old depot. And years later, when I returned to Calvert to live, I was active in the Robertson County Historical Commission. No one then seemed to know of any pictures of the depot. Mr. Baker, who was my superintendent, when I taught in Bremond, was writing his book on Robertson County history when I was there. He was looking for pictures, but he was not able to find a picture of that depot either.

My mother did some drawings and paintings of things around Calvert, among other things she chose as subjects for her art work . She wanted to do the depot, but couldn't find a picture of it. She died about 17 years ago. When people started opening antique shops in Calvert, my mother wanted my father to buy the Weigh Station for her to have an art gallery there. It had been empty for years. But, my father wasn't interested.

My grandfather on my father's side, was Emil Conitz, who opened Conitz Dry Goods store on Main Street in 1901 after graduating from business school in Galveston. It was sold in 2000 and is now another antique store. Emil lived to be 94. He took his son, Irvin, to be a partner about the end of WWII. Irvin died, then the remaining daughter tried to run the store for a few years.

My father was Alfred Conitz. Emil's father came to the U.S. from Prussia about 1871 and opened a bootmaking shop. Later, he had various interests including land, cattle, a partnership in a lumber yard, and a grocery store. After Emil Sr., my great-grandfather, became settled, he sent for his mother to live in Calvert with his family.

Mrs. Dirr, who ran the Calvert Hotel, was also a relative. (I had a lot of relatives there, but many did not have children, or the younger ones moved to other places.) Her granddaughters were my age so I grew up playing around all those places like the Hotel. We used to go to the other Hotel, the White Hotel, sometimes, for Sunday dinner.

Another thing was that the home that you have listed as "the Gibson Mansion" is not really a mansion. New people are advertising it as a mansion, but it was just a large home. One lady, Kathryn Gibson, lived there by herself for years. Her brother had almost an identical house further east. We didn't have any mansions in Calvert! Most people had big houses, if they had the money. They had larger families and entertained.

My great-grandfather's home was by the railroad tracks. At the time that he built it, he had interest in the lumber yard, so he had the best materials that could be bought. It had beautiful woodwork and paneling inside. My parents and I lived upstairs with my great-grandfather until he died in 1939, and when my parents built their own home near the school when I was almost 4. One of Emil Sr.'s sons, Gustave, also lived there. Over the years, it was empty, vandalized, and abused. It was restored by the same man who restored the Calvert Hotel. The current owners have planted trees and plants everywhere so that the house is obscured from the street. You can barely see the top of the roof and the "witches peak" over the foliage.

I get carried away when I write, so forgive the length. Thanks for the website and for giving accurate information. I am sending your link along to others.

Cecelia Conitz Heinrich

Received another note from Cecelia...

Here's a little P.S. to what I sent you about my grandfather's (Emil Conitz Jr.) dry goods store, Conitz Dry Goods, in Calvert, which operated from 1901-2000. At the time I wrote you previously, the store had been sold and was an antique shop. Now, it has been sold again, and it is now an art gallery and potter's studio. The potter also has my great-grandfather's (Emil Conitz Sr.) building where he has had his pottery studio.

I have deeds from my great-grandfather on that building that go back to 1867, which is the beginning of the town. Emil Sr. came from Prussia in 1867, spent a few months in New York working for a cobbler. He didn't like the north, so he came back in to the U.S. through Galveston. I guess he heard about the railhead and new town in Calvert, so he went to Calvert. He opened one of the first businesses (one clipping I read said he had the first business, but I'm not sure that it was the very first), a cobbler shop on Main Street.

It was very interesting to go through those old deeds, pictures, and I also looked on fire insurance maps. I need to write down the history of the store as I have it in sort of bits and pieces at this point.

Anyway, what is left of the family is pleased that the stores are now connected with the arts since that is something that our family is involved in-most of us draw, paint, etc.

Check out my blog at the following URL.

Cecelia Conitz Heinrich Bryan http://cecelia-throughmyeyes.blogspot.com/
http://groups.google.com/group/art-by-cecelia?hl=en


Received the following email from J. Matthew Evans

Calvert isn't what it should be.
Fri, 9 Jun 2006

I am a concerned citizen of Calvert Texas . Sometimes I feel I am the only concerned citizen of Calvert. I walk the tree lined roads and see the majestic old Victorian houses that this city is so famous for. I see the older generation of Calvert citizens mixed together with the newer generations and I also see many new people moving into this city, myself and family included. I hear the citizens of this city talk about the east side like it is the only side of this town. I can see the pride of the citizens of this town when they tell visitors “You should take a walk across the tracks and see the town of Calvert Texas !” I ask you, is the east side the only side of Calvert? Many of its’ citizens believe so.

It seems very silly to me that on the east side of town a dilapidated building is called historic and no one should touch it or remove it. Yet on the west side of town a dilapidated building needs to be removed or cleaned up. It seems silly to me that some of the citizens of Calvert believe that those children on the west side of town should not come to the east side of town to play in the park, and have even gone to the length of removing the walking track the baseball diamond and almost all playground equipment from the city park to make sure no one comes to play.

Why are the west side children of this town so despised on the east side? There is only one answer! This city has never gotten over racial bigotry. Unfortunately this town still believes that blacks have their place and it is not on my side of town or in my school. When you get right down to it racial bigotry is the only reason that this town does not have a new school. The underlying reason is “We don’t want them on our side of town.”

It amazes me that there are still such backward people in this country.

Do you not understand that by removing your children after desegregation, that you the old generation of this town destroyed the school? When your children left the funding followed them. If your children had stayed in this school you would never have left this school in such disrepair. Now we have no choice we need a new school and we call on you, all those who call yourselves citizens of Calvert, to stand up and do what is right for the children of this town. Do they deserve anything less than what you had or your children have? The answer is no! Stand up now as you should have done so many years ago, and help these children become all they can become.

It won’t be long before there is no more old blood in this town. The younger blood is taking over along with us new people who are moving in. Sooner or later a new school will be voted in for this town because we will not stand for our children to be raised and educated in a school that, because of your neglect and bigotry, will fall into ruins.

J. Matthew Evans





If you have a message of interest to our readers, send me an email or mail me a letter and I'll post it on the Calvert Texas Bulletin Board. Also, any stories or photos of early day Calvert Texas are always needed. Thanks!

Leonard Kubiak
PO Box 1479
Cedar Park, Texas 78630

email address: lenkubiak.geo@yahoo.com





Received the following email from Cecelia Conitz Heinrich (cheinric@tca.net), a 5th generation Calvert family member.

Hi Len!

Enjoyed your site. Calvert is my hometown. I am a 5th generation family and, although I no longer live there, I still have an aunt there, and I taught in Hearne for many years.

I just wanted to let you know that the picture you have labeled is not the Calvert Depot. That building was the Weigh Station for the old Gibson gin. The last time I was there, it still had the scale for weighing wagons under the overhang by the street. This building was across the highway from the railroad tracks, and not close enough to serve as a depot.

The old depot was torn down. My father bought one of the old luggage wagons from the depot when they tore it down, and he kept it in our back yard for years. I did a drawing of the real depot, as I remembered it, in the 50s, and that drawing was still in the Katy Hamman Stricker Libaray the last time I was in there, which has been some years ago.

The actual depot was beside the railroad tracks at the last street crossing the tracks in town, behind Fontana Ford. It was brick, and had a long loading dock on the south side where cotton was kept before loading it aboard trains. The cotton was brought by wagon from the gin, or gins, as there were 3 gins. Cotton from those gins would blow all over town when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s, and people would have to clean the stuff off their window screens. The further away from town, the less cotton would be on the screens!

I took a few trips by train from that train station to Dallas. Anyway, I haven't been able to find anyone who has a picture of that depot. After I drew the picture in the Library, I tried to find a picture so I could verify what it looked like. People told me that it looked just like the old depot. And years later, when I returned to Calvert to live, I was active in the Robertson County Historical Commission. No one then seemed to know of any pictures of the depot. Mr. Baker, who was my superintendent, when I taught in Bremond, was writing his book on Robertson County history when I was there. He was looking for pictures, but he was not able to find a picture of that depot either.

My mother did some drawings and paintings of things around Calvert, among other things she chose as subjects for her art work . She wanted to do the depot, but couldn't find a picture of it. She died about 17 years ago. When people started opening antique shops in Calvert, my mother wanted my father to buy the Weigh Station for her to have an art gallery there. It had been empty for years. But, my father wasn't interested.

My grandfather on my father's side, was Emil Conitz, who opened Conitz Dry Goods store on Main Street in 1901 after graduating from business school in Galveston. It was sold in 2000 and is now another antique store. Emil lived to be 94. He took his son, Irvin, to be a partner about the end of WWII. Irvin died, then the remaining daughter tried to run the store for a few years.

My father was Alfred Conitz. Emil's father came to the U.S. from Prussia about 1871 and opened a bootmaking shop. Later, he had various interests including land, cattle, a partnership in a lumber yard, and a grocery store. After Emil Sr., my great-grandfather, became settled, he sent for his mother to live in Calvert with his family.

Mrs. Dirr, who ran the Calvert Hotel, was also a relative. (I had a lot of relatives there, but many did not have children, or the younger ones moved to other places.) Her granddaughters were my age so I grew up playing around all those places like the Hotel. We used to go to the other Hotel, the White Hotel, sometimes, for Sunday dinner.

Another thing was that the home that you have listed as "the Gibson Mansion" is not really a mansion. New people are advertising it as a mansion, but it was just a large home. One lady, Kathryn Gibson, lived there by herself for years. Her brother had almost an identical house further east. We didn't have any mansions in Calvert! Most people had big houses, if they had the money. They had larger families and entertained.

My great-grandfather's home was by the railroad tracks. At the time that he built it, he had interest in the lumber yard, so he had the best materials that could be bought. It had beautiful woodwork and paneling inside. My parents and I lived upstairs with my great-grandfather until he died in 1939, and when my parents built their own home near the school when I was almost 4. One of Emil Sr.'s sons, Gustave, also lived there. Over the years, it was empty, vandalized, and abused. It was restored by the same man who restored the Calvert Hotel. The current owners have planted trees and plants everywhere so that the house is obscured from the street. You can barely see the top of the roof and the "witches peak" over the foliage.

I get carried away when I write, so forgive the length. Thanks for the website and for giving accurate information. I am sending your link along to others.

Cecelia Conitz Heinrich

We appreciate Cecelia's informative email!




Also see our history links near the bottom of this webpage. I spend a great deal of time researching Texas history and adding topics of interest to our website for our internet viewers.

The site is constantly growing. Bookmark us and come back often (and tell your friends about us).

Thanks,
Len Kubiak




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