Callahan County Library


Baird, in north central Callahan County, was established in 1880 with the building of the Texas & Pacific Railroad. Named for Matthew Baird, a director of the railroad, who drove the first stake on the Texas & Pacific survey in 1875, Baird housed a roundhouse, repair shops and switches that marked the railroad division point. In 1883 Baird became the county seat for Callahan County. The post office was named Baird when established on February 7, 1881, changed to Vickery in May of 1881 and renamed Baird in February 1883. The Texas & Pacific Railroad built an Immigrant House at Baird for families to stay while searching for the land they intended to settle. A fire almost destroyed the new town in 1883, but by 1884 several stores, a hotel and a restaurant were in operation. The town was incorporated in 1888. In 1889, in the western part of Baird, the Baird College was established, it was a two story wooden building. It is not remembered if the college burned or was torn down in the early 1900's. Population reached its peak in 1926 with 2,000. Today Baird remains a small town. Baird is located at the junction of Interstate 20 and U. S. Highway 283, 20 miles east of Abilene and 130 west of Ft. Worth.
  • Library

    In 1936 twenty energetic women of the Baird Wednesday Club, ever on the alert for means of bettering their community, took as a project the establishing of a library. Permission to use a vacant room in the basement of the courthouse was granted by the commissioner's court May 13, 1936. The club's civic committee geared for action. Various projects were begun to raise funds for the library. Serving on the original board, elected from the club's membership, were Mrs. Ace Hickman, Mrs. J. Rupert Jackson, Sr., and Mrs. L. L. Blackburn. After all the preliminary actions had been completed the library was opened to the public February 7, 1937. It boasted 112 books, 90 feet of shelving, a wicker table, settee and chairs, a desk and a work table. During the first eight months the mother club with the aid of the Corinne Blackburn Club members kept the library open two afternoons a week. Beginning in September 1937 Mrs. Rosa Ryan was hired to keep the library open five afternoons a week until March of 1942, at that time the county and city of Baird began paying Mrs. Ryan's salary and the library was open 40 hours per week. In December of 1976 Mrs. Ryan retired. In October 1986 the commissioners court voted cut the library's hours to 20 per week. From 1937 until it disbanded the Callahan County Library was an award winning permanent project of the Baird Wednesday Club. In 1940 the Baird Wednesday Club added the Callahan County Pioneer Museum to the library.