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Milam County TX
Milam County

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Rockdale Hotels

ROCKDALE, TEXAS

Milam County, Central Texas South

30°39'17"N 97°0'27"W (30.654674, -97.007439)

Highway 79, FM 908 and FM 487
13 Miles S of Cameron the county seat
26 Miles E of Taylor
41 Miles W of College Station
43 Miles NE of Austin
47 Miles SE of Temple
Population: 5,595 (2010) 5,439 (2000) 5,235 (1990)

Book Area Hotel › Rockdale Hotels
Rockdale TX Depot
International & Great Northern Railroad Passenger Depot
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
100, N Main St, Rockdale

TE photo, May 2008

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.

Rockdale Hotels › Book Here

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 TX Depot
    The former I&GN passenger depot in Rockdale
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, August 2006
    More Texas Depots | Texas Towns
    Hisrtorical Marker (100 N Main St, Rockdale):

    International & Great Northern Railroad Passenger Depot

    Three rail lines largely contributed to Rockdale's early commercial development, and of the three, the International & Great Northern (I&GN) made the biggest impact. This former I&GN passenger depot opened in 1906. It survived various changes to the rail company, including its transition to the Missouri Pacific line in 1956. After years of declining rail use by passengers, the last passenger train left the depot on September 21, 1970, and the building served as storage for many years.

    Restored at the turn of the 21st century, the depot is eclectic in design with elements of Italianate, Queen Anne and Prairie styles of architecture. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2005
    Rockdale Texas post office mural
    TE photo, May 2008
    Rockdale Post Office Mural
    Rockdale TX - Kay Theatre
    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
    See Cotton | Texas Cotton Scenes

    Take a road trip

    Rockdale, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Cameron the county seat
    Taylor | College Station | 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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