Ghost town

CALF CREEK

The term Ghost Town refers to a town which is completely abandoned and thus absolutely devoid of human presence, which could be due to a number of reasons such as the collapse of the economic framework on which the town was based, a natural calamity, or some disaster caused by humans etc. Calf Creek is one such town.

Calf Creek is a very small town located in the McCulloch County of the state of Texas in the United States of America. It is about 24 km to the south of the town of Brady, which is an important town of Texas. Calf Creek is truly a ghost town. It is known more for its pre-foundation days than for its existence as a town.

On November 21, 1831, the famous folk hero of America, James (Jim) Bowie, along with ten of his comrades, fought against an overwhelming number of Caddo and Lipan Indians, more than 150 in all, and, to the surprise of one and all, won in the bloody battle. The legend of the ferocious battle survives in the minds of men even to this day. Subsequently, the town was deserted for a long period of time, till ranchers began populating it in the 1870s.

Calf Creek has had three completely different names in the past, along with three very different locations. Originally, it was located at approximately 3 km to the south of the present location. It was known as Deland then, named so in honor of the original settler of the town, Edward Elijah Deland. He was a farmer as well as an inventor, having been awarded a patent in 1883 for an improved Shepherds Crook. He founded the Deland Post Office, which was in operation from 1906 to 1909. His sons name was Ira, and he was the first mail carrier in the town. His daughter, Minnie, was the first school teacher of Calf Creek and she taught at a single-room school-house, which was located at the Deland pasture, about half a km to the north of the Creek. Subsequently, other settlers came to the town, and the settlement expanded. The Jones family built the first church of the town, which was called the Pecan Grove Presbyterian Church. Willis Huey contributed land to build a new school and the cemetery in the year 1902. In 1903, when the Melton Land Company cut up the Huey ranch into a number of farms and put each piece up for sale, it attracted a wave of new settlers like the Tuckers, Attaways, Crouches, Hains, Whitleys, among others. After this, a number of new developments took place in the town. The Attaways organized the first Baptist Church of the town and it was named the Lone Star Baptist Church. Simultaneously, the Whitleys arranged the Methodist Church. John L. Jones organized the first Sunday-School. An arrangement of Union Literature was used, in which all the churches of the town were banded together. In 1905, the first cotton gin, a machine used to separate the seeds from raw cotton fibers, was built by the Alexanders. In 1909, the centre of the community of the town was shifted to a new location, which was about one and a half km to the north, where a new Post Office had been built, called Tucker, in the honor of Lum Tucker who was the owner of a general store, a cotton gin as well as a blacksmith shop. Thus, the town moved on to its second location and name, i.e., Tucker. The Tucker Post Office remained in operation from the period of 1909 to 1915. In 1914, the community got access to telephones, and most people in the town had one for a price of just seventy-five cents per month, through a switchboard operated by Mrs. Kolb from her house. Despite all these developments, due to a suspicious fire in the year 1915, most of the property belonging to Tucker town, as Calf Creek was known then, was completely destroyed. In 1915, the community shifted to a location about one and a half km from its present location, and the name of the Post Office was changed to Calf Creek from Tucker. The Post Office finally stopped operating in 1953. Thus, the town received its new and final name, by which it is known today, from Calf Creek, which is a nearby stream, originating from a location northeast of Menard, running about sixteen km to the San Saba River, located in Mason County.

An interesting yet little known fact about Calf Creek is that the land on which the schoolhouse is built, was not donated by the Alexanders, as most people believe, rather it was the Huey family that donated in the year of 1902. This is supported by the McCulloch County Texas Warranty Deed. Of the total land of about 6 acres donated by the Huey family, about 2 acres was used for the cemetery for a brief period of time. In 1949, the Calf Creek School was joined to the Brady Texas Independent School District, but soon thereafter, it stopped functioning. For a long time after this, the school was used as a church as well as for various other community purposes. However, from 1970 onwards, the school was frequently vandalized. Some people did indeed try to repair it, for the purpose of retaining their heritage, but all such attempts ultimately failed and the school was finally demolished in late 2004 and early 2005.

Today, Calf Creek is completely deserted in terms of permanent human settlement. However, due to its interesting history, it attracts a number of tourists. The most popular tourist attractions at Calf Creek are the cemetery and the foundation of the schoolhouse. A number of travelers go to Calf Creek to visit these sites. Apart from these, a number of buildings that have either partially or completely broken down have their foundations located at various parts of the town. Since the town is completely uninhabited, it is very quiet and peaceful. This makes the town an excellent choice for people looking for a peaceful break from their hectic schedules to come and spend time. Families looking for a getaway from their stressful lives in bigger cities to spend quality time together, find Calf Creek an excellent place to go, because of the serene environment that exists there. To cater to the needs of these tourists, a number of hotels and inns have sprung up at various parts of the town. At the end, it would be more that relevant to mention that Calf Creek is, most definitely, a place worth visiting. (Chenoweth)

REFERENCES

  1. Henry Chenoweth. (n.d.). Calf Creek or Tucker or Deland. Retrieved on April 4, 2010 from http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/tx/calfcreek.html

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