This is the last of a two-part series on Fred Palmer, a Rockdale businessman in the early part of the 20th Century. F red Palmer left his mark on Rockdale. Many of the rural people of south Milam County would remember him.
My grandparents who lived in the Tracy Community purchased “soda water” from him. They would return their case of empty soda water bottles when in town and pick up a full case on their way back home.
I remembered the man in the wheel chair who wasn’t bothered by his method of getting around town. As a child I didn’t recognize his handicap but all the children recognized “Mr. Palmer.”
He navigated his way on the side walks, and that was the day before handicap ramps.
He also ran a Sinclair station. I remember seeing him travel across the street on Main over to Buck Henry’s Garage which sold Sinclair gas, going up the steep drive into the station office.
Mr. Palmer was involved with the Crazy Water Crystal Plant that opened in the area around Thorndale, about 12 miles west of Rockdale. The first well of that water was dug about 4 miles east of Thorndale on the south side of the I&GN Railroad tracks. There was a small building used to draw the water, bottle it and get it ready to sell.
After use and need was communicated the location moved about 4 miles toward Thorndale where a larger building was constructed.
Between the first and second locations, a three-room tourist camp building was constructed. When the bath houses were built in Brushy Bottom, people could rent a room when they came to bathe in the medicinal water.
Fred Palmer was known to many people, and as the saying goes, “he was nobody’s fool.” He had a head for business.
Fast forward over a hundred years later, pick up the Rockdale Reporter today. The Cooke family still owns and run the paper.
Read the editorials and the front page articles of Rockdale City Council meetings in 2013. You can still pick up on what is or is not happening.
Seems like some of the same issues still happen today that were happening when Rockdale first became a municipality.
Mr. Palmer was astute enough to identify what was needed over a hundred years ago and the people of Rockdale are still struggling to identify what that is.
Work together. Support each other. Buy at home.