Nestled between the rich blacklands of the Brazos Valley and Central Texas, the sandy loams of the City of Rockdale define the character and charm of the town and its residents. Rockdale is located in the southwestern finger of the Post Oak Savannah, a sandy prairieland region renowned for its beautiful post oak trees. As the largest city in Milam County, Rockdale is the hub of the Heart of Texas.
The City of Rockdale is a thriving community with a small-town atmosphere in the geographic center of what locals call The Triangle. Roughly a one-hours drive from Bryan/College Station to the east, Waco to the north, and Austin to the south, Rockdale is perfectly situated as a distribution center.
This favorable geographic location in the Hub of the Heart of Texas has contributed to the economic growth and development of Rockdale. The initial contribution began before Rockdale even had a name. In 1873, George Green, B. F. Ackerman and Frank Smith sold 400 acres of land to the International and Great Northern Railroad. At this time, the I & GN was laying track Hearne to Austin. Encouraged by these two actions, the town grew quickly. By 1844, there were 1700 residents, five churches, a 250 seat opera house, a weekly newspaper and other businesses. Another economic boost came in 1891 when a railroad was completed between Lexington and Cameron; thus Rockdale had two railroads, one serving north and south and one serving east and west. The abundance of coal further enhanced the development of the area and by 1914 Rockdale was shipping 7,000 railroad cars of lignite coal each week.
In the early 1950s, the Aluminum Company of America located an aluminum plant near Rockdale in order to take advantage of the large supply of lignite coal available in the area. This resulted in the largest boost in the economy ever. By the 1990s, Rockdales population was 5,253. The Hub of the Heart of Texas continues its steady growth into the 21st Century, now expanding the economic scene to take advantage of E-commerce and other changes as they occur. One example of this growth is the impressive grant received by Rockdale from TIF, a grant which will virtually "wire the town" for the future.
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