VICTORIAN PAST, 21ST CENTURY RENOWN
Calvert owes its prosperity to railroads and cotton, and its name to a descendant of Lord Baltimore, founder of the Maryland Colony. Robert Calvert was a plantation owner and Texas legislator who later lobbied to bring a rail line through Robertson County.
Founded in 1868, Calvert became the fourth-largest city in Texas, with 10,000 residents—Jewish merchants and Chinese and African-American workers among them. An opera house, banks, hotels and businesses sprung up downtown. Cotton kings established plantations in the Brazos River Bottoms and built mansions in town.
In 1909, Calvert established Texas’ first chapter house of the American Woman’s League. Today, the restored, Prairie School-style building is the Katy Hamman-Stricker Women’s Heritage Center and local visitors’ center.
Pick up a map and drive through Calvert’s 47-block National Historic District. Antiques stores, restaurants, art galleries and specialty shops operate behind colorful, pressed-tin and brick facades. Residences exemplify the Queen Anne, Italianate and Colonial Revival styles. Home tours each May and December celebrate Calvert’s lavish past. Year-around you can sample the delicacies that have brought this Victorian community 21st Century renown: Chocolates handcrafted by a British expat, and kolaches created by a Czech-American baker who dances in the street.