In the late 1800's as cattle drives moved across Texas, small camp settlements sprang up along the trail and often turned into construction camps for building the west bound railway. By that time the railroad had arrived in Callahan County, crossing the Great Western Cattle Trail that carried millions of head of cattle to northern markets from South Texas beginning in the 1870's.
In 1880 after a couple of construction camp relocations a camp was established at what is now downtown Baird and the community was named after Matthew Baird a director of the Texas and Pacific Railway. Train service from Fort Worth to Baird officially began on Dec. 14, 1880. The T&P advertised nationally, offering cheap land around Baird and the area steadily populated. On January 16, 1883 a county election made Baird the county seat over the neighboring community of Belle Plain.
The town flourished through the turn of the century and the population diversified into agriculture and oil industries. In 1990 an effort was launched to make Baird the "Antique Capital of West Texas" even though at the time there was not even one antique business in town. With the support of one or two willing antique business operators and with numerous empty buildings available in town for renovating, the movement began.
In 1993 the Texas Legislature officially designated Baird the "Antique Capital of West Texas" even though only a handful of shops had begun to operate.
Today, the town has 13 antiques shops and other businesses have been attracted to town through the effort. Most of the businesses are in downtown Baird on Market Street where the restored 1911 Texas & Pacific Railway Passenger Depot anchors the south end of the historic shopping district.
The 1911 Texas & Pacific Railway Passenger Depot has stood at the south end of Market Street in Baird for over a century. It is a grand reminder of the railroad era and a rare survivor among stations of its design in Texas. The facility has been completely restored. The museum, chronicles transportation in Callahan County from cow trails to the railroad, to the first real interstate highway in the country. The T&P Depot Visitor Center and Transportation Museum are managed by Baird Chamber of Commerce, open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Baird Chamber of Commerce observes most holidays and will close the T&P Depot Visitor Center and Transportation Museum on these days.
Significantly, the community of Baird is recognized by neighboring communities in the Texas Midwest as a real success story for a small town that turned itself around and is ON THE RIGHT TRACK to a very bright future.