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Milam County TX
Milam County

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CAMERON, TEXAS

Milam County Seat, Central Texas South

30 51' 16"? N, 96 58' 43" W (30.854444, -96.978611)
Highways 77 and 190
17 miles N of Rockdale
71 miles NE of Austin
32 miles SE of Temple
Population: 5,552 (2010) 5,634 (2000) 5,580 (1990)

Book Area Hotel › Rockdale Hotels
Pioneer cabin, Milam County Jail and Courthouse
Pioneer cabin, left, Milam County Jail and Courthouse
TE Photo
History in a Pecan Shell

Nashville, Texas on the banks of the Brazos, had served as the seat of Milam County since the time Texas was declared a Republic. In April of 1846 the Texas Legislature authorized a commission to find a more permanent site for the county seat. These men bought sixty acres on the Little River that year and named the new town in honor of Ewen Cameron, surveyor.

Cameron's first courthouse was finished that same year and county records were transferred from Nashville. Alone on the prairie and fifty miles from the nearest railroad depot, early residents had an opportunity to become well acquainted with one another.

Attempts were made to navigate the Little River in the late 1840s and early 1850s. In 1850 one of these attempts proved successful when Capt. Basil M. Hatfield managed to bring his steamboat up the Little River to about 2 east of town. Cameronians rejoiced and a two-day celebration was held. Sadly, it was learned that only after heavy rains could a boat get through. Regular service was out of the question.

Cameron had other problems in the 1870s. When the International-Great Northern Railroad came to Rockdale, people started suggesting Rockdale as perhaps the best location for a county seat. Elections were held in 1874 and 1880, and Cameron scraped by on both occasions.

Finally in 1881 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway arrived and Cameron felt secure. Ten years later the San Antonio and Aransas Pass came through. In 19th Century Texas there were two blessings. One would be having a hometown boy become Governor - and the other was to get a second railroad.

Before the railroads, Cameron only had 500 citizens. After the railroads arrived it was suddenly up to 800 and by 1892 the population had reached 2,000.

20th Century Cameron

Although cotton was the town's 19th Century economic engine, the 20th Century brought more diversified industries. Williamson County had discovered oil in 1915 so Milam County began their own exploration. It paid off in 1921 with "the Minerva-Rockdale field."

The building of the Alcoa aluminum plant in the 1950s revitalized the local economy, but recent environmental concerns have dampened enthusiasm.

Cameron lost its rail connection to Giddings in 1959 when the Texas and New Orleans railroad pulled out of Milam County and the Southern Pacific (in 1977) abandoned the rails connecting Cameron with Rosebud.

Cameron, Texas Landmarks/Attractions

Milam County jail - viewed from the courthouse
Another view of the jail - viewed from the courthouse.
TE Photo
  • Milam County Courthouse
    The 1890 courthouse has been restored in recent years and the entire top (which had been removed as a hazard) has been replaced with an accurate (but lightweight) replacement.

  • Milam County Jail
    The former jail is now in use as the Milam County Historical Museum.

  • Cameron Pioneer Cemetery
    Just east of town across the Little River is the Pioneer Cemetery - where earlier residents are interred. The city cemetery is now close to downtown, a stone's throw from the courthouse and jail.

  • Milam County Steamboat Landing
  • Statue of Ben Milam in Milam, Texas
    Statue of Ben Milam on the square.
    TE Photo
    "Ben Milam, for whom the county was named, is one of Texas' legendary heroes, losing his life in San Antonio early in Texas' battle for independence." - Lou Ann Herda
    Cameron TX - Benjamin Milam statue
    Ben Milam statue
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008
    Horsemen mural in Cameron, Texas
    One of Texas' longest murals.
    More Texas Murals
    Besides a collection of murals on downtown walls, there are also a few advertising artifacts. These Coca-Cola signs were painted over a five-county area by "Eddie and Monk" - when Cameron had its own Coca-Cola bottling works.
    Coca Cola ghost sign in Milam, Texas
    Ghost sign just east of the square
    TE Photo, 2004
    More Ghost Signs
    Unknown Union Soldier tombstone, Cameron Pioneer Cemetery
    TE photo, 2004
    Cameron Pioneer Cemetery
    Oil tanks in Cameron, Texas
    Grain bins east of town
    TE Photo, 2003
    Masonic globes, downtown, Milam, Texas
    Masonic globes downtown
    TE Photo
    TX - Milam County treasurer's safe
    "Milam County Treasurer's Safe in the basement.
    It is now used to collect water bottles." -
    Barclay Gibson, December 2008 photo
    Hearne Hotel Vintage Photos:
    Hearne Hotel circa 1870
    Photo courtesy Tee Frank
    "Attached are photos of the Hearne Hotel owned by Martin Hearne around 1870. He would be my great great grandfather on my mothers side. If you have any more information on this structure, the family or could direct me to additional websites, it would be appreciated. Thank You." - Tee Frank, November 24, 2013
    Hearne Hotel
    Photo courtesy Tee Frank
    Hearne Hotel
    Photo courtesy Tee Frank
    More Rooms with a Past
    More Vintage Photos

    Nearby Milam County Bridges

    TX - Milam County 1911 Through Truss Bridge over San Gabriel River
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    1911 Through Truss Bridge over San Gabriel River
    Bryant Station bridge
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson, August 2006
    Bridge over the Little River
    at Bryant Station
    Sugarloaf Bridge, Milam County Texas historic bridge
    Photos courtesy Joe Williams
    Sugarloaf Bridge of Milam County

    ... I discovered another metal truss bridge, or at least what I suspected was a metal truss bridge, that crossed the Little River in Milam County, approximately 40 miles from the Bryant Station location... The exact location is about mile north of Gause on Farm to Market Road 2095, then north on County Road 264 approximately two miles. The road then crosses the Little River... more
    1920s Milam County Texas map
    1920s Milam County map
    From Texas state map #10749

    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip

    Cameron, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Rockdale | Austin | Temple
    See Milam County | Central Texas South

    Book Hotel Here:
    Rockdale Hotels | More Hotels
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

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