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Historical Landmark Needs Repair

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

The historical landmark in Calvert that was started by a group of determined women. The Katy Hamman Stricker Library was once used as a meeting place for the local chapter of the American Women's League. Through the years, the building was used for a variety of purposes, and in 1939 started as a public library. But now the building has a lot of problems which will take more than a 100-thousand dollars to repair. Supporters of the library want to keep the integrity of this historical structure, in part as a tribute to the women who helped raise money for the original structure.

"They were very determined ladies here in Calvert, the history is so important to preserve cause its so unique. It's really a woman's history that has turned out to be a landmark for the entire city and state I think," says Cindy Delulio, Library Chairman for Calvert Woman's Club.

"This was a very important structure for community, particularly the women to empower them starting with the ladies of the American Women’s League in 1909," says architect and Calvert Chamber President, Walter Qualls.

Calvert is the third largest historic district in the state and one of its treasures is the Katy Hamman Stricker Library. Built in the early 1900's, the historical landmark is one of 38 in the U-S and the only one remaining in Texas.

"The women were coming out of rural areas into the city and they were looking for identity," says Delulio.

"It gave them a place to meet and become a voice within the community and I think its been a very important element within our community for empowering these women," says Qualls.

It was 1923 and property owner, Ella Hamman left the building and land to the city to be used as a community center primarily for women's organizations.

"Women who had determination to go ahead and take a chance and have the building built, In 1939 the Calvert Woman's Club took over the building, another group of determined ladies and now in 2005 the current Calvert Woman's Club are going out for a grant to save the building," says Delulio.

"Like many buildings that look great on the outside, there are problems that are hidden and that's the case in this building, foundation has settled 8 to 12 inches, the roof has broken and has to be braced, wiring is so old and when you touch it the cloth wire installation actually vibrates and breaks and poses an electrical and fire hazard," says Qualls.

Behind these hidden walls sits an enormous amount of history. History that the current women of Calvert hope to restore for years to come.

"You're saving the past for the future," says Delulio.

The Calvert Woman's Club have already applied for a grant to help fund the restoration, but donations are welcome.


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