In 1995 I began the long process of restoring the Hammond House in Calvert, Texas. It was originally built as the county jail, later turned into a hotel, was bought by my great-grandmother in 1909, and eventually was abandoned and left to decay. You can read all about its history here.
The time I spent working on the old house were the best years of my life. I don't think I'll ever be able to top them. My kids were young, my parents were alive, I had a flexible work schedule, I had a passion for what I was doing, and I knew I was doing something that mattered. Almost every weekend I would load up the kids and drive to Marlin where my parents lived. We'd visit for a while and then I'd head down the road to Calvert and work on the house. As evening came on I would head back to Marlin usually stopping off at a little unnamed BBQ smoke house in Hammond and pick something up for dinner. As my kids grew older I put them to work on the house, at first giving them make-believe jobs just so they would think they were helping.
But life moves on and things change. My parents are gone and my kids are grown. Nick is a Marine and Bradley will soon graduate from high school. So many of the friends I made in Calvert have passed on or moved away. And the house is no longer mine.
Still, I will always cherish the memories of those days and the friendships I enjoyed. I always have had and always will have a deep, abiding love and connection to Calvert, the Hammond House, the community and all of the history and stories that are wrapped up in that small town in central Texas. For my two sons, Calvert and the Hammond House will forever be part of who they are, and they can forever be proud of the role they played.
My daughter, Maria (who lives in Paris now), assures me that I will find another project to pour my passion into, and I suspect she's right.
I want to thank all the wonderful folks in Calvert who gave me an unending source of encouragement, bought me lunch, gave advice, and, in the end, became close friends. I also want to thank all those strangers who would stop by and come in just out of curiosity to see what I was doing. Your impromptu visits and admiration of the house would always make me feel like I wasn't all that crazy after all.
Former Owner, Hammond House