Stone mason helped construct historic buildings
Readers of The Reporter, and this column, are in for a real treat. Robert Lee Cummings, a special former Rockdalean, recalls his early life in Rockdale and the San Gabriel area in a feature story that begins on page 1A.
Cummings was involved in constructing buildings that have impacted history here.
On April 2, Cummings visited with Deedra Jacob and others regarding the Chamber of Commerce building on West Cameron.
He is 97 years old, and will be 98 on August 2. He has an identical twin brother, Roy Clifford Cummings. Both are retired, but live a very active life.
Robert lives in Georgetown while his twin Ray lives just outside Dallas and still drives his own car.
The twins’ parents were Louis Dean and Zettie Mae Cummings.
The family lived on the Hicks Garner place until the twins were three years old. They moved from the Garner place to another residence in the Tracy Community south of Sharp.
He left Milam County to move to Bastrop where he learned his trade as a stone mason. He described his training as “ hands on”, learning tricks of the trade.
His first project was helping to build the Bastrop Park Headquarters Clubhouse. He recalled all the tall long leaf pine trees that were cut down to build the park buildings.
During this time, he was informed that he was one of two stone masons known to be in Texas. Cummings remembers a lot of early Rockdale. He built a stone wall behind a house for E. B. Phillips, who was a partner of Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home.
Oral histories capture many of “the rest of the story” concepts. The visit with Robert Cummings is just one of those rare moments, when the right person was in the right place at the right time.
His oral history of this area will enlighten readers to get a glimpse of what Rockdale and San Gabriel were like in the 1930’s.