Driving through central Texas on Highway 6, we visited the historic town of Calvert to take a look around. Having driven through it many times, but always in a hurry to get to our destination, I never considered stopping. We are so glad we took the time to explore this neat town.
Along with its Victorian charm, we discovered it was, at one time, the 4th largest town in the state. In the 19th century, it was a bustling community filled with theaters, hotels, plantations and thriving businesses. Their biggest industry was cotton, boasting one of the (if not THE) largest gins in the world. With the arrival of the Texas Central Railway, Calvert became a major cotton shipping point.
The town suffered a decline after the end of the Civil War with a yellow fever epidemic and later with the completion and competition of Interstate 35. However, there has been a strong and successful revitalization effort breathing new life into Calvert. The historic buildings on Main Street are being renovated and new businesses are moving in.
Today, the town is filled with art galleries, cafes, and antique shops and Victorian houses have been converted to bed and breakfasts. The historical value hasn't diminished though. Just about any building you can enter, you would be passing through the same doors that Texans have previously since the 1800's.
There was a time I didn't give much thought to these small rural towns, other than they were notorious for speed traps. But to see so much Texas history preserved in Calvert reminded me how important these communities are to our state. Maybe those from outside of Texas will think so as well.
On your next road trip, make an excursion to an old town as part of your journey. Take a look around. Eat some lunch. Buy a gift. I bet you find much more than just a Dairy Queen.