Carbon-izer - Highway 21 in Caldwell
Highway 21 in Caldwell

While a lot of my memories involve entering Caldwell from College Station, due to the way this page is set up, it's arranged from west to east. Like many other entries, this is built off of what I previously wrote for Wikimapia. This section actually begins at US-77 in Lee County, from the bottom of this page. Version 3.0 adds proper sections, Texaco (at FM 60), Lo Nuestro De Mexico, 1500 Highway 21 West, The Garden Spot Cafe, NAPA Auto & Truck Parts, 300-302 State Highway 21 West, Buzzin Vape Smoke Shop, Chevron, 7-Eleven, and Exxon (Cooks Point). It also updates Shell (at FM 908), Shell (at Main Street), and Tractor Supply Company.


Near Dime Box (you pass through Old Dime Box), there's an interesting replica of a mailbox in Dime Box, but even that's a bit set back from the road and entirely possible to miss it if you're weren't paying attention. There's what I can describe as the "new Exxon" and the "old Exxon" very close to each other.

Exxon / 4282 Texas State Highway 21
"Bubba's Travel Stop & Country Store" is the "new Exxon" here. I believe it opened in late 2019.

The Country Store / 4293 Texas State Highway 21
"The Country Store" is much older and advertised Diamond A Ranch Beef on the old Exxon corridor. It is a gas station and convenience store and it seemingly ceased selling gas sometime in 2004-2005 based on non-functional signage, but it seems to have simply not bothered updating the signage anymore. Nevertheless, the Exxon signage and pumps remained up for the next decade despite its dilapidated state. It has been here since the mid-1990s (at least) though the canopy was smaller originally.

To the east of The Country Store, in a nearby grazing land, a sign says that the beef for Diamond A is raised there.

FM 60 to FM 908

Construction of a Dollar General here (7850 TX-21) also reconfigured the intersection so left turns have completely eliminated here. You may recognize FM 60 as being University Drive, but this segment dips down south to FM 132, and another segment connects FM 132 to Highway 36 in Lyons, and that's where the main segment of FM 60 starts.

Texaco / 7558 State Highway 21
This Texaco ("Highway 21 Food Mart", though the sign says "Hwy 21 Food Mart") dates back to around 2010, give or take a year. It isn't very old but looks like it hasn't aged particularly well.

FM 908 to the Railroad Underpass

Shell / 4360 West TX-21
The last gas station before you enter Caldwell, this is currently known as "Caldwell Truck & Food Stop" (it was "Big's" convenience store from the early 2000s until sometime around 2016, the name change brought a Krispy Krunchy fried chicken program), and has been here since at least the late 1980s, though not necessarily under those names (it has been a Shell since at least 2003, and likely a Texaco before that) or size (the gas canopy has been enlarged with a second truck-oriented one built later, these improvements came in line between 1998 and 2002).

This started as "Countryside Grocery & Pub" (I found and commented it on Vintage Aerial) in 1984, the name changed in 2005. I think the Texaco name might've come in during the late 1990s/early 2000s improvements.

Triple M Storage / 530 County Road 102
Originally "All American Storage" when it opened between February 2008 and May 2009, sometime between 2013 and 2016, an additional building was built, and it assumed its current name with new management.

Pico Propane and Fuels / 2080 W. State Highway 21
In 2015, the building included Celebration Church and J&J Tire Service, by 2016 it was Celebration Church exclusively, and in 2017 it was Flipz Cheer & Tumble, a cheerleading/gymnastics facility for girls 3-18.

Pico has done more than just occupy it, there's a large fenced-off propane tank near the parking area now.

1819 Highway 21 West
While the old but respectable-looking Surrey Inn anchors the east side of town (see below), the west side of town had the far less inviting Caldwell Motel.

Despite being (at last count) only $35 a night, the reviews were better than you'd tend to expect for a motel of that price (well, for those guests that didn't discover bedbugs, at least). In February 2022, the entire motel completely burned down except for a building which I assume was a restaurant of some sort at one time. Perhaps this will be the core of a new motel that is erected in its place.

Lo Nuestro De Mexico / 1512 Highway 21 West
This Mexican restaurant moved here in 2018 (new built location) from 515 North Main Street, where it had been since 2006, though it appears it had a brief stay at the northwest corner of Banks Street and Highway 21 prior to this.

Rockin' G Oil Company / 1515 W. State Highway 21
This large gas station and convenience opened in August 2015. It features "Papa G's" hamburger stand and "Nonnie's Bakery" which is open in the morning. (If you missed the morning hours, there's usually leftovers sold in the convenience store).

1500 Highway 21 West
Half of this building is vacant, having formerly been Bulls Eye BBQ from approximately 2003 to 2011. The other half is Country Blossoms, which replaced Daniella's Treats & Gifts around 2006 (roughly).

The Garden Spot Cafe / 1301 State Highway 21 West
This has been a variety of businesses over the years. In 2011 it was A to Z Insurance, and in most of the 2010s it was Vintage Resale. By 2021 it was The Garden Spot Cafe restaurant.

Americas Best Value Inn / 1108 Highway 21 West
In 1976, Leisure Lodge Nursing Home opened in Caldwell at 701 North Broadway Street. In the late 1990s, it switched to Caldwell Health and Rehabilitation Center and shut down in 1999. After sitting vacant for a decade, it sat vacant for over a decade until it opened sometime around early 2011 (best I can tell, possibly opened in late 2010) as Americas Best Value Inn Caldwell.

The Railroad Underpass to NORTH GREEN STREET (STATE HIGHWAY 36)

JLyle Medical Clinic & Gallery / 501 N. Stone Street
This medical clinic is located at the corner of Stone Street and Highway 21, right about where Highway 21 descends below the railroad tracks. The combination medical clinic/art gallery is an homage to the late Dr. Carlyle Smith's passion for sculpting, whose art still litters the yard of the converted house. There's an entry on Roadside America. The most memorable one is the one featuring the head of a construction worker on the head of a bird (at least that's my opinion).

NAPA Auto & Truck Parts / 703 State Highway 21 West
NAPA built new here circa 2008. This probably not necessary to add to the list but

Groce Service Station / 507 Highway 21 West
I believe these may have been a Texaco prior to 2003 but for a decade following was a Shell, featuring a garage instead of a convenience store (it also had a car wash). In 2012, a new canopy (not in Shell colors), a truck/diesel canopy was built in front of the car wash. In spring 2017, it became "Rockin' G Service Center" (associated with the main gas station up the road) but by 2019 changed names again.

500 Highway 21 West
This oft-empty building was Burleson County True Value Farm & Home Supply in the late 1980s and early 1990s (I'm not sure what it has served as since or before).

In the mid-to-late 2010s it was used a daycare (Learning Station), which then became "Blessings from Above Daycare #2"; the "original" was (at the time) near the corner of Holleman and Anderson in College Station. At the time they had labeled the business as 600 W. State Highway 21 but it's actually in the 500 block.

Dollar General / 403 West Highway 21
Dollar General has been in Caldwell since the early 1990s but moved here in 1995. It doesn't look like it anymore since the new logo was installed, but it had, prior to this, the 1984 logo, which had "Dollar" on the left and "General Stores" on the right side. Most of the other stores I was familiar with used the 1995 or 2009 logo. You can see it on the older Street View here.

Dollar Tree / 400 West State Highway 21
This opened as a Family Dollar (#09042) in spring 2012 but sometime in 2018 or 2019 it was converted to a Dollar Tree.

J.C. Brewer's Service Center / 301 W. State Highway 21
This was an Exxon since the late 1970s and into the late 2000s (even though by that time the canopy was out of Exxon's current design standards).

300-302 State Highway 21 West
The tenant on the left is listed as 302 State Highway 21, but according to Google, Renew Your Temple Massage & Therapy is "temporarily closed" (which usually turns out to be permanent). The middle tenant is Texas Seafood & Steak House (since 2016, though it looks older than it actually is). From about 2008 to 2015 this was "China Pan Buffet". Daisy Dukes BBQ has been there since 2015 and was the former site of Champion Pools. Both Daisy Dukes and Texas Seafood & Steak House have the 300 address.

Area 3:16 / 104 West State Highway 21
This church is located in a building that from the late 1970s to around 2008, it was J&H Food Market, which included a meat counter. In the 2010s it was converted to a church, and by 2018 completed an expansion.

Shell / 100 East State Highway 21
This Shell has been here for years (long pre-dating 2003) and has a Zip'N-branded convenience store. The West/East split is at Main Street.

Buzzin Vape Smoke Shop / 203 E. Highway 21 Buzzin Vape opened in fall of 2022. Until around the end of 2016, this site (203 Texas 21) was Kolache Capital Bake Shop, located a town that advertises itself as the "Kolache Capital of Texas" (even an annual festival), but it moved to downtown Bryan, about 25 miles away. From September 2017 to around 2022, it was Sunny Donuts.

Chevron / 205 State Highway 21 West
The convenience store here is "Cat's Pitt Stop" and has been operating under this name since 1991. The Chevron name has been here since at least 2007.

McDonald's / 303 N. Green Street
This McDonald's with a Playplace was only opened in 2001...a shock to me when I was researching it because I seem to remember it being there much longer. (Guess not). It's in a bit of an odd location, despite being at the corner of Highways 21 and 36, the exit to the restaurant dumps you directly onto the slip ramp to southbound Highway 36. In fall 2011 the restaurant renovated to the chain's current prototype.

If you continue south on Highway 36 it eventually turns into Highway 290 which goes into Houston as Northwest Freeway.

STATE HIGHWAY 36 to the Brazos County Line

Surrey Inn & Restaurant / 403 Highway 21 East
The Surrey Inn has been around as long as I can remember, and indeed—Burleson CAD indicates it was built back in 1965. It has a detached restaurant that based on some filings I've seen changes menus and formats every so often are brief closures, though it still seems to draw a consistent following and always has chicken fried steak on the menu.

Whataburger / 306 N. Wright Street
Whataburger (#1183) opened a location in Caldwell in March 2021. Other than the fact that it connects to the parking lot of the older Pizza Hut next to it, and the newer 7-Eleven connects to it, there isn't much to say about it that's not hearsay.

7-Eleven / 564 State Highway 21 East
At last check (Thanksgiving week), this new-build 7-Eleven with gasoline and a convenience store isn't open yet but should be open by the time you read this.

Tractor Supply Company / 805 State Highway 21 East
Tractor Supply Company opened a new store outside of Caldwell in spring 2007. While it always had an outdoor sales area, a garden center (with enclosures) was built in the late 2010s.

Exxon / 7025 Texas 21 East
Besides the road narrowing (no median, though the construction of the new gas station did add a turn lane) and speed limit dropping with a bit of shade on the road, there's only one commercial business in Cooks Point, an Exxon (as well as a church or two).

Originally, this was an Exxon with Cooks Point Store. I'm not sure what the full history of the gas station is, but the last significant improvement to the property was 1997 (the canopy). Here is what the gas station looked like as of 1992 with the older canopy.

In March or April 2022, the gas station was demolished for the continued construction of a long-promised replacement gas station. While still an Exxon (with the updated logo), the new convenience store is Aurora, based out of Bryan. It opened sometime around fall 2022, and appears to have a fried chicken option (Cooper's Express) as well.

Royalty Pecan Farms / 10600 State Highway 21 East
One of the things seen heading out of town (the warehouse has the best visibility from the west) is Royalty Pecan Farms. The address apparently used to be 10740 State Highway 21 and was established in 1993. Later on (around 2009) they established a retail store and started doing tours and weddings.

Exxon / 11378 Highway 21 East
On the edge of the county near the Brazos River is this Exxon, built in 2020 with the official name of "Fast Trac 21 & Truck Stop". Despite the venerable all-caps Exxon logo being functionally phased out for new and remodeled stores, this store did add it as a road sign new. However, the canopy uses the newer logo.

Going further east is a large steel bridge where the railroad crosses the Brazos River parallel to Highway 21. There's some fencing along the main railroad structure that wasn't always there. I seems to recall this was installed in the 2000s not longer after a drunk college student fell off the bridge and became a paraplegic. The railroad here isn't even the same railroad that heads west out of Bryan, both lines head north and merge at Mumford.

Highway 21 continues into Bryan here.

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