Rockdale, Texas

Rockdale, Texas

Rockdale is a city in Milam County, located about 41 miles west of College Station, Texas. Photograph by Jim Evans.

Rockdale is at the intersections of U.S. Highway 79 and Farm roads 908 and 487, thirteen miles south of Cameron in southern Milam County. In 1873 George Green, B. F. Ackerman, and Frank Smith sold 400 acres of land to the International-Great Northern Railroad, which was laying track from Hearne to Austin. A sale of town lots was held on September 3, 1873, and the track was completed to Rockdale in early February 1874. The new town was named by Mrs. B. F. Ackerman for a nearby rock, which was twelve feet high and had a circumference of twenty feet. Rockdale was incorporated in 1878 and established an aldermanic government. The first major railroad town in Milam County, Rockdale quickly developed as a shipping and supply point for area farmers, who produced cotton, wool, vegetables, fruits, grain, hides, and livestock. By 1884 Rockdale had 1,700 residents, five churches, two schools, two steam gristmill-cotton gins, a 250-seat opera house, a private bank, a weekly newspaper, and other assorted businesses. Several coal mines established near Rockdale in the 1890s provided the community with an additional economic boost. In 1891 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway completed the section of track between Lexington and Cameron, giving Rockdale the benefit of a north-south railroad as well as an east-west one. By 1914 Rockdale was shipping 7,000 railroad cars of lignite coal every week.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Rockdale is classified as a Town


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Rockdale by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
5,323 2020 United States Census Bureau
5,685 2019 Texas Demographic Center
5,595 2010 United States Census Bureau
5,439 2000 United States Census Bureau
5,235 1990 United States Census Bureau
5,611 1980 United States Census Bureau
4,655 1970 United States Census Bureau
4,481 1960 United States Census Bureau
2,321 1950 United States Census Bureau
2,136 1940 United States Census Bureau
2,204 1930 United States Census Bureau
2,323 1920 United States Census Bureau
2,073 1910 United States Census Bureau
2,515 1900 United States Census Bureau
1,505 1890 United States Census Bureau