Thursday, March 11, 2010

Riding Around Calvert

Last Saturday was a beautiful day. A day when lots of people were talking about getting outside, gardening, taking a walk, or just going somewhere. Our youngest wanted to get out of the house and go for a ride to Calvert, so that's what we did. We hadn't been riding in quite a while, so we went.
I thought that downtown Calvert was the place to be on a Saturday. But I was thinking of the crowds we used to have on Main Street, busy days at the dry goods and grocery stores, a good "shoot 'em up" at the Eloia, ice cream or a Coke at Taliaferro's drugstore, french fries and a Coke or an open face sandwich at the City Cafe, or a bowl of stew or chicken and dumplings from Bienski's, or, before it closed after the big fire in the 1950s, a wonderful hamburger from Miss Mollie's (Tucker) beside the dry goods store. Saturday was library day and hair washing day, before going to the show or to work at the store, for me. It also meant walking from my house to the library and back, and walking from my house to town and back, to various friend's houses. It was great when we got to use the car, sometimes.
I thought of going to Calvert, now, and seeing some people walking around, sunlight reflected off the same concrete that we walked, as did our ancestors. Of seeing some of the same buildings and homes that I had seen throughout my life. And I thought of, perhaps, enjoying some ice cream as we used to do.
The picture show closed years ago, the drugstore was torn down, and all of the stores have been sold or are different businesses now. But, I can still go in and visit with some people I know in the buildings that I grew up around. I can remember the spaces where stores and homes used to be, and the people who made regular trips, walking around town, and on Main Street.
Dairy Queen has ice cream and I can go into my grandfather's old dry goods store and reminise with the new owner, potter Sonny Moss. And we can talk about the old days, and art and artists.
Saturday, we rode around town and, while I talked to Sonny and looked at the old mirror, shelves, and cash register from the old store, and all of Sonny's clay and creations, my daughter and grandson rode out to the Brazos River and took a couple of pictures. I had ice cream from the DQ and enjoyed that while we rode around.
One thing that brought about the visit was the tv segment, and an e-mail from Esther, talking about the house in Calvert that is for sale and is advertised in the "New York Times".
Wow! Calvert in the NY Times! That sounds amazing, but it isn't the first time. In looking up articles on Calvert, and for family history, I've found quite a few listings on Calvert over the years. Tex McCrary was from Calvert and he and his wife, Jinx, were often written about in the Times. We had baseball teams that were written about, there were events, and there were even ads that appeared in the Times. A Google search or one of the sites dealing with family history can turn up items in the Times and other newspapers around the country.
Some people asked me which house was advertised in the NY Times. There was a picture, and a video on KBTX tv.
The house is the old Randolph Field House that belonged to Mrs. Doremous and her daughter, Pauline Burnitt. Mrs. D. and Pauline lived in the big house on that block, just around the corner from this smaller house. A barn or carriage house was on the back corner of the block. I can't remember the exact street, but I think it is on East Texas St.
Pauline rented the house and, when she died, the property was sold. Since I had moved away, I'm not sure who bought it. The house was always white, with green shutters, until recent years.
I always thought of this house when the tv program, "Designing Women" came on. This house looked very much like the one in the opening of that program, to me. This is the house in the top photo.
The second photo is of St. Mary's Church. This small Catholic church was also white with green shutters, that stayed closed, when I lived in Calvert. It seemed very mysterious. In the 1980s, they were talking of restoring this little church and I got to look inside. I was amazed! It was just like it had been in the early 1900s. It needed some repair, not modernizing. The historical commission tried to make sure that it was saved and repaired. I haven't seen what was done, but I hope that it is still the same beautiful little church that it has always been.
The third photo is of the First Presbyterian Church. This historic church was moved on logs, pulled by oxen, from the original settlement, Sterling, near the Brazos River, to town. It was first placed near the railroad tracks, and then moved to its current location. The windows are called Ruby Glass and are a cherished feature of this church.
The fourth photo is of the bandstand in Virginia Field Park. The park dates back to the early days of the town, and was the location for a sky prison where the Yankees kept Southern sympathizers at the end of the Civil War. Another sky prison was located where the current Brazos County Courthouse stands in Bryan.
The bottom picture is of the Brazos River as seen from the bridge, west of Calvert, on Saturday.
It looks like there is plenty of water in the river, which is good for the farmers along the river's path to the Gulf of Mexico.
I have a few more pictures of Calvert, today, or last Saturday.
If you are on FaceBook, be sure to look at Kyle's pictures of CHS and Calvert. There are some that need to be identified.
Also see my sidebar to join Calvert groups on Yahoo. I have the same things on FaceBook.
Add your pictures and stories.

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