Society

Rockdale: Pictures from the past

Photos tell story of 139 years
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


Dr. Lucile Estell’s pictorial history of Rockdale is now available at bookstores and on-line sites. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Dr. Lucile Estell’s pictorial history of Rockdale is now available at bookstores and on-line sites. Reporter/Mike Brown If it’s true that one picture is worth 1,000 words, local historian Dr. Lucile Estell has just authored a book with 200,000 of them.

Images of America: Rockdale has just been printed by Arcadia Publishing Co. and it contains over 200 historic photos tracing the town’s history from 1873 to the present.

It’s available at book stores, online and from the publisher, www.arcadiapublishing.com.

BOOK SIGNINGS—There’s already a book-signing scheduled with Dr. Estell at the I&GN Historic Depot Museum, from 2 to 4 p.m. July 29.

Light refreshments will be served and proceeds will benefit the depot-museum.

A nother book- signing is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12- noon Aug. 8 at Elements, 219 North Main Street


What a big day, and night, for Rockdale in 1932, when the Backhaus of truck.) Photo looks down North Main toward the corner of Bell. Bros. affiliated with IGA grocery and featured a live band (in back That’s the virtually unchanged Henry Garage building top left. What a big day, and night, for Rockdale in 1932, when the Backhaus of truck.) Photo looks down North Main toward the corner of Bell. Bros. affiliated with IGA grocery and featured a live band (in back That’s the virtually unchanged Henry Garage building top left. PICTORIAL—Dr. Estell is also the co-author of a similar book on Marshall for the Arcadia series on Texas towns.

“The idea is that the pictures tell the story,” she said. Each of the nine chapters consists of historic photos and begins with one page of prose explaining significance of the photos to come.

“That’s by design,” she said. “The narrative is limited, so we could get in the maximum amount of pictures.”

Dr. Estell sees the book as an updated and expanded version of the 1974 Rockdale Centennial book, to date the best collection of historic photos dealing wholly with Rockdale and the immediate area.


Ready for a school day at Bushdale, barefoot and with lunch pail, is little Albert Gest. ‘Gibson Girl’ looks in first decade of 20th Century for Lena Howse Loewenstein. Julius ‘Bose’ Moultry’s blacksmith shop was a fixture for many decades on Mill Street near tracks. Ready for a school day at Bushdale, barefoot and with lunch pail, is little Albert Gest. ‘Gibson Girl’ looks in first decade of 20th Century for Lena Howse Loewenstein. Julius ‘Bose’ Moultry’s blacksmith shop was a fixture for many decades on Mill Street near tracks. “I tried to concentrate on 1940 and before,” she said. “I believe someone could easily come up with another book, just as big, focusing on the 40s to the present.”

CLASSICS— Dr. Estell appealed to the public for historic photos and Rockdale residents came through.

“It was my goal to have photos that really told the story of Rockdale’s history, not just old family photos, although there are obviously plenty of those in the book,” she said.

Many names familiar to students of Rockdale history will be given faces for the first time by the photos in this book.

Those include “founding fathers” Ben and Joe Loewenstein, mine owner Hermann Vogel and physician Dr. Dunc Wallis.

There’s a very special name from early Rockdale, milliner, and pioneering female business owner, Dora Orr Poole. “She was my grandmother,” Dr. Estell said. “I got my love of history from her.”

SPECIAL PHOTOS—There are many photos which are special to Dr. Estell and to some of the first Rockdale residents who got advance copies of the book.

“I just love the photo of a little boy going to school at Bushdale, barefoot and carrying his lunch bucket,” she said.

Another favorite is the 1932 street party in the 200 block of North Main, sort of a Depression


It doesn’t get more ‘1940s’ than this photo of Joe Henry’s service station, Cameron at Wilcox. 
Historic photoscourtesy of AnnHenry, Bert Henry,Dr. Joseph Loewenstein, RobertEdwards and GaryJackson It doesn’t get more ‘1940s’ than this photo of Joe Henry’s service station, Cameron at Wilcox. Historic photoscourtesy of AnnHenry, Bert Henry,Dr. Joseph Loewenstein, RobertEdwards and GaryJackson Era rave triggered by a band brought in by Backhaus Bros. grocery when it affiliated with the national IGA chain.

Both those photos are reproduced here.

COVER ICON—In the background of that photo the Buck Henry garage building is clearly visible.

Henry Garage is also on the book’s cover.

“I love history, of course, but I hope everyone realizes Rockdale isn’t all about history,” Dr. Estell said. “We’ve got a future, too.”

Dr. Estell isn’t putting down the pen, either. She, historian Joy Graham and Steven Gonzales are teaming up to write a history of the El Camino Real National Historic Trail, which passes through Milam County.


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2012-07-19 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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