History of Calera, Alabama
First settled in the early 1820s, the area now known as Calera remained relatively undeveloped until the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad came through between 1854 and 1855. The city was initially known as Buxahatchie until it became a center of lime production (a calcium-based mineral) during the Civil War, after which it was known variously as Limeville, Lime Kilns, Lime City, and Lime Station. The city suffered little damage itself during the Civil War, so when railroad lines were repaired after the conflict ended, Calera was able to resume shipping lime all over the country quickly. In 1869, the town's name was changed to Calera, which is the Spanish word for "lime."
Lime production continued to be the city's primary industry after the war. In the 1870s, the town attempted to establish a "colony" of Scandinavian or German immigrants,
much as Cullman, Cullman County, had done with German immigrants. The attempt met with little success. In the mid-1880s, a group of Montgomery businessmen formed the Calera Land Company and bought large tracts of land to develop the area like Birmingham, Jefferson County. Although the effort never came close to matching Birmingham's growth, some new businesses were established. By 1885, Calera's population had increased to more than 200, the city had its first public school, and a number of hotels were opened. The city petitioned for incorporation in 1885, and the first municipal elections took place in 1887.
Calera has benefitted from the growth in population and businesses moving south from Birmingham that began in the late twentieth century. The city remains a major producer of lime, shipping primarily to the southeastern United States.