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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

1874 :: Name derived from Rock Prairie

. . . After a pleasant run of three hours over one of the best railroads in the South, at 12 m. we arrive at our destination, the terminus, Rockdale. At first sight of the town the stranger is disappointed; but after a careful survey he is agreeably surprised to find such a live town in the woods. Sixty days ago this place was a post oak forest, and to-day it is a living town of seventy houses, two hotels, one livery stable, depothouse, six restaurants (so-called), one banking-house in contemplation, and stores of all descriptions. Like all terminal towns, the population is a floating one, and as high as two thousand people have been seen on the streets in one day. From good authority, the population of the town is about 1000 to 1500.

It is astonishing with what rapidity this town has sprung up. The first train reached this pace on the third of February last, and now there are four trains daily. The houses are built and [paper damaged] . . . good deal of cotton coming into town, and selling at low figures for want of competition. The lumber trade is an important feature here. There is a great demand for it, and I heard that lumber men have shipped to this point at the rate of . . . a day. There are already two or three brick houses here, . . . . The town derives its name, Rockdale, from Rock Prairie. It is desirably located on a hill. Town lots are the property of the railroad company, and are selling for from $50 to $300 each, and very rapidly, as many strangers are moving in. No postoffice is established as yet, but a petition for one has been sent on.

There is some talk of having a stage line from this point to Austin, a distance of fifty miles. Two newspapers are also spoken of, and there is a large schoolhouse to be completed soon. I find merchants establishing themselves here from Galveston, Bryan, Calvert, Hearne and Cameron. Our friend Dr. Conger, from Bryan, has opened a find stock of drugs here, and I predict will do well. I was pleased to find a desire to obtain the News here, and the citizens are a liberal-minded and reading community. Success attend their efforts at the flourishing town of Rockdale. Galveston Daily News, February 26, 1874

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