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Callahan County TX
Callahan County

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BAIRD, TEXAS

Runaway Trains, Portable Jails and Lollipops

Declared "Antique Capital of West Texas"
by the State Legislature

Callahan County Seat, West Texas / Texas Panhandle

3223'46"N 9923'50"W (32.396035, -99.397140)
I - 20
21 miles E of Abilene
25 miles W of Cisco
35 miles W of Eastland
122 miles W of Fort Worth
Hwy 283
25 miles S of Albany
40 miles N of Coleman
Population: 1,496 (2010) 1,623 (2000) 1,658 (1990)

Book Area Hotel > Abilene Hotels | Eastland Hotels

Baird Welcome Sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
More Texas Signs

The Naming of Baird and County

The County was named after James Callahan, a survivor of the Massacre at Goliad.

Baird was named after one Matthew Baird, who various sources list as either a railroad director, lawyer, surveyor, yodeling brakeman or any combination thereof. Maybe he was a yodeling lawyer.
Baird, Texas - Locomotive mural

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

History in a Pecan Shell

Still waters run deep. Don't let the town's current tranquility fool you.

This place has survived a fire (1884), a tornado (1895), cattle drives, hard winters (notably 1884-85), long droughts (drouths) (1886-87) and a spectacular three locomotive collision caused by a runaway engine in 1907. This incident may have given the Katy railroad their idea for The Crash at Crush. By the time the railroad in Baird was informed about the loose locomotive, there was no time to wake people and sell tickets. Baird had a roundhouse and maintenance shops for the T & P.


What goes around comes around (unless it's a runaway locomotive).

Callahan County's Seat of Government was originally in Belle Plain, about 3 miles south. They had it all: a college (Belle Plain College), a courthouse and a spanking new stone jail.

When the railroad come through, the newspaper and main businesses moved to Baird and the people then wished they had made the jail out of something much lighter. They dismantled it, numbered the stones, and then reassembled it in its present location (100 W. 5th Street in Baird).

Ironically, it was Belle Plain that caused the demise of Callahan City, drawing away major businesses and population when Belle Plain became the County Seat.

Callahan City's cemetery is about all that's left of that town, while Belle Plain still has ruins of the College buildings.

Baird, Texas Landmarks & Attractions

Photographer's Note:
"There is something unique in every block." - Barclay Gibson

Callahan County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

Callahan County Pioneer Museum

In the basement of the Callahan County Courthouse

The Old Callahan County Jail

Originally in Belle Plain.

When the railroad come through, and Belle Plain businesses moved to Baird, the townspeople dismantled their new county jail, numbered the stones, and then reassembled it at its present location. (100 W. 5th Street)

Callahan County Texas old  jail in Baird
The old Callahan County Jail
100 W. 5th Street

Photo courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
Callahan county new jail building
The "new" Callahan County Jail
Photo courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp

The New Jail in Baird

"I recently reviewed your site and was very interested in the information about the New Jail in Baird.

My mother (Nora A. Reed Bridges) was born in that jail in 1897. Also, two brothers were born there. My maternal grandfather, J.M. Reed was the jailer and my grandmother cooked for the inmates. They moved from there to the Haskell area where my grandfather was a blacksmith and deputy sheriff." - James R Bridges, June 04, 2005


Texas and Pacific Depot in Baird, Texas

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

Baird Texas &
Pacific Depot Visitor Center and
Transportation Museum

The Texas and Pacific Depot c. 1911

One of the larger ones on the former T & P route.
The T & P had depots from Marshall to Sierra Blanca,
where it merged with the Southern Pacific
WWII aviation cadets at T&P depot , Barid Texas

Aviation cadets take a break in front of the T & P Depot at Baird in January of 1943

I found the [above] photo in my Dad's World War II album. He was an aviation cadet on a transcontinental troop train that stopped in Baird in January 1943. Baird was a rest stop for these guys after long train trips from the east. I am not sure how long these troop trains stopped in Baird, but it must have been welcomed by the thousands of GI's who were being transported long distances in crowded conditions. In my Dad's case, he documented the trip through some great photos, not just of Baird but pointing his camera out of the Pullman window to show the steam engine chugging across the Mississippi River at New Orleans and entering the Mojave Desert in California.

Most of the GIs in the photo were in pre-flight training enroute to the Santa Ana, California training base. You can see that the GI in the foreground is wearing the aviation cadet wings on his cap or "cover". This was their uniform until they completed training and were commissioned as Second Lieutenants and awarded their official wings. In WWII, Santa Ana was both a pre-flight training base and holding area for aviation cadets until they were ordered to advanced training bases. In my Dad's case, he was slotted to Bombardier pre-flight training in Santa Ana (mostly academic non-flying work) and then advanced flight training at Kirkland Field, NM. There was still two and one-half years of tough combat ahead and I wonder how many men in the photo survived the war. - David Schoeck, Dana Point, CA, January 09, 2008

See World War II


Baird Tx - South On Market Street

Looking south on Market Street
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

Barid Texas street scene
Baird street scene, with the Callahan County Courthouse in distance
Photo courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
Baird Tx Baird TX - Tiled Market Street Sign

Tiled Market Street Sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

Baird TX - Tiled Third Street Sign

Tiled Third Street Sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

A locomotive mural in Baird, Texas
The Baird Locomotive Mural
These two pickups conveniently provide scale for this well-executed mural. Trains are freqently mural subjects - but seldom are they painted life-size.

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
Baird, Texas - Locomotive mural

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

Baird, Texas - Locomotive mural

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
More Texas Murals | Texas Railroads

Baird TX - Bull Durham Ghost Sign
Bull Durham Ghost Sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
Baird TX - Bull Durham Ghost Sign
The Bull
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

More Texas Ghost Signs
Baird TX - Coca-Cola Ghost Sign
Coca-Cola Ghost Sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
See Coca-Cola
TX - Baird Vol. Fire Dept.

Baird Vol. Fire Dept.
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

Baird Texas Fire Department
Fire Department in Baird
Photo courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp, August 2001
Baird TX - Caboose
Caboose
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
See Texas Railroads
Baird, TX - Lollipop Manufacturer
Grumpe's - "Lollipop Manufacturer to the World"
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
Baird Tx - Callahan County Centennial Marker
Callahan County Centennial Marker on the courthouse front lawn
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
Baird Tx - Captain Andrew Jackson Berry Centennial Marker
Captain Andrew Jackson Berry Centennial Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009
More Texas Centennial

Baird, Texas Area Destinations:
Abilene | Eastland | Albany
See Callahan County | West Texas | Texas Panhandle

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