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    ROCKDALE, TEXAS

    Milam County, Central Texas S
    Highway 79, FM 908 and FM 487
    13 Miles S of Cameron
    26 Miles E of Taylor
    43 Miles NE of Austin
    Population: 5,439 (2000)

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    Rockdale TX Depot
    Rockdale Depot. TE photo, May 2008
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    History in a Pecan Shell

    In 1873 as the International-Great Northern Railroad was laying track between Hearne and Austin, local businessmen sold 400 acres of land to the railroad to plat a townsite. The town lots were auctioned in the fall of 1873 and the railroad arrived in early 1874. The honor of naming the new town fell to Mrs. B. F. Ackerman who named it after a specific boulder said to be 20 feet in circumference and nearly 12 feet high.

    The arrival of the railroad made Rockdale Milam County’s first major railroad connection. The population swelled to 1,700 by the mid 1880s.

    Lignite coal was extracted from several area mines in the 1890s and in 1891 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway became the town’s second railroad. Coal mining became more important to the economy with an estimated 7,000 ore cars leaving Rockdale weekly.

    With the discovery of a (shallow) oilfield in 1920, lignite mining declined and a refinery was built. After WWII the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) opened a plant here – occupying most of what was the town of Sandow, Texas.

    From 2,300 residents in 1954, the population grew to 6,300 in four short years. In 1959 Rockdale’s north-south rail line was abandoned. Lignite mining continued through the 1970s.

    The population of Rockdale in the early 1960s was around 4,500, growing to 5,810 by the late 1980s.

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    Native Son

  • George Sessions Perry by Clay Coppedge

  • ...The temptation to look for George Sessions Perry's Rockdale can be strong because few writers are linked in readers' minds with a hometown like Perry and Rockdale...

    Perry's novel Hold Autumn In Your Hand which won the National Book Award in 1941, is still the book for which Perry is best known. The book was made into a popular movie, "The Southerner," starring Zachary Scott as Sam Tucker, the story's main character. The book is often compared with Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck, with Perry's book often getting the higher mark from critics... more
    Rockdale, Texas Landmarks/Attractions
    Rockdale Texas post office mural
    TE photo, May 2008
    Rockdale Post Office Mural
    Photo courtesy Chris Adams, November 2009
    "Rebirth of the Kay"
    Rockdale TX Police Dept
    Rockdale Police Department
    TE photo, May 2008
    Rockdale TX cotton yard
    Cotton yard in Rockdale
    Postcard circa 1910s courtesy Will Beauchamp
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    Rockdale TX Depot
    Another view of the Rockdale Depot
    TE photo, May 2008
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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos of their town, please contact us.
    Rockdale, Texas
    Area Destinations:

    Cameron
    Taylor
    Austin
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