Rochelle is on U.S. Highway 190 some ten miles northeast of Brady in eastern McCulloch County. Early names for the community included Crewville and Crothers, both in honor of county residents; the name Rochelle, chosen by a French settler from La Rochelle, was accepted by postal officials when a post office was established there in 1879. In the mid-1890s Rochelle was still a small town; most of its thirty residents were engaged in stockraising. After the railroads were built through the area in 1903 and 1912, however, Rochelle grew substantially. The Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway Company laid its track between Brownwood and Brady in 1903, and the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe completed its line between Eden and Lometa in 1912. By 1914 Rochelle had 700 residents, three churches, three general stores, two cotton gins, a newspaper, a bank, and a hotel. The community reported a population of 515 from the 1930s through the 1950s. During the 1940s a school, three churches, several businesses, and a number of residences marked the community on county highway maps. In 1959 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe abandoned its tracks through Rochelle. The population fell to 100 by the early 1960s, but grew again by 1968 to 163; it was reported at that level through 2000. Rochelle served the county as the focus of a large independent school district.
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Rochelle by the Numbers
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