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Calera keeps changing

Downtown with buggies
Old downtown Calera before US 75/US 69 was widened (OHS).

Calera (Bryan County, Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma) began life when the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway laid its tracks southward in 1872 and built Cale Switch. According to the OHS, the original town site was located on the east side of the railroad tracks; according to old Sanborn maps, the town at first built on the block framed by Curtis, Jones and McKinley avenues and First Street.

By the turn of the 20th century, Calera-ns had moved the center of their town along Main Street between Railroad (today's U.S. 75/ U.S. 69) and First streets. Calera became known for its oat production and, for a while, its "Water of Life," a bottled spring-water that derived from a deep bromide well. For "best results," it was recommended to "use frequently, drinking from 12 to 20 glasses daily." No wonder it was touted as a cure to kidney trouble!

According to the OHS, this photo depicts Calera in 1900. Beside the drug store/ W.O.W. lodge building (Woodmen of the World; also the Masonic Hall) stood a structure that looks as if it was made from cobble / cannonball stones, the type of round stones found in the Wichita Mountains and used for construction there. Several people have been circled on this photo but I cannot make out the hand writing.

Nothing of original downtown Calera remains; most of the town's structures succumbed in the widening of U.S. 75, and the town's core shifted west along Main Street and McKinney Avenue. Lately, Calera's been growing like a weed because of its proximity to both recreational and industrial activities in the Lake Texoma region. Way to go, Calera!

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