Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Requests for Info
Received via Website
Can you tell me anything about Wayside Park, Cameron, Texas? The only clue I have for its location comes from the 1951 Cameron Herald which says it is east of Cameron.
I'm writing an article about reunions in Cameron / Rockdale and this park keeps getting mentioned. I'd like to include information about it.
Wayside Park is mentioned many times in the Rockdale Reporter and Messenger and the Cameron Herald newspapers. I find references from the late twenties through the fifties, but I can find no location for it or a description of it.
Here are some mentions:
The Rockdale Reporter and Messenger, Thursday, August 14, 1930 p 8 "family reunion at Wayside Park on Little river".
The Rockdale Reporter And Messenger, Thursday, Aug 3, 1933, p. 3 "Wayside Park east of Cameron"
The Cameron Herald, Thursday, July 19, 1951 p 9 "Wayside Park east of Cameron"
The Cameron Herald, Thursday, August 13, 1953, p 8 "Wayside Park in Cameron".
Standard response sent to Mr Cloud. Email forwarded to MCHC members and others interested in MC history.
Good morning Mr. Cloud.
I spoke with Mr. Eugene (Gene) Mitchan for over 30 minutes last night regarding Wayside Park (Wayside Inn Park). He remembered it well and in great detail. His recollections are through personal experience and those relayed to him from his parents. He confirmed what Mr. McDermott recently relayed to me about the location but since he's a few years older than him, he had more experiences at the park.
Mr. Mitchan was in Scouting from about 1941-46 (or 1947) and their Boy Scout Troop # 52 had annual week long campouts there. The usual Boy Scout activities were performed, qualifying for Merit Badges and the like. In what is now the field behind the old Lampkin General Store (now 44 Farms), was a tent camping area but also there were a number of small brick duplex Inns in which one could stay. A photo of one is included in attachment # 5.
Mr. Mitchan's late parents relayed to him that there was once a huge octagonal dance hall with a wooden floor on the property. It was very popular (he guessed probably in the late 20's thru 30's). It had no exterior walls and was supported by poles or posts. He stated that it had been torn down by the 40's when he came along.
Mr. Mitchan also mentioned that Mr. Lamkin was a man of Christian beliefs and was not particularly thrilled with the drinking that sometimes occurred at some of the events.
He obviously was partial to the scouting and Church groups that visited.
Attachment # 1. Left in profile for greater detail.
Attachment # 2 overall frontage view of recently renovated old Lamkin property.
Attachment # 3 appears to be an old gas station.
Attachment # 4 is the Lamkin store, now 44 Farms, which I have been told will be a future meat market. Attachment # 5 is a restored example of the brick duplex inns that once dotted the property behind the store.
Without trespassing, this was the only remaining inn that I saw from the property frontage roadway (Hwy 36/190/77). Photo's were taken 10/02/2016.
Mr. Mitchan said that the bank was quite steep going down to the river where they swam. Once at the river, the banks had eroded away enough that the gravel bar at the water gradually deepened as you left the bank so it made for reasonably safe swimming.
In this same area was the bridge that led west to Cameron. It was quite high above the river and was not subject to flooding. Unfortunately, once off this bridge the road bed dropped down considerably and numerous trestle type bridges in the floodplain had to be crossed. During flooding this easterly route out of Cameron was barricaded and other considerably longer routes were necessary to travel east. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe railroad trestle paralleled this road a short distance to the north.
The Milam County Historical Commission sincerely thanks our Milam County walking historians, Mr. Eugene Mitchan and Mr. G. B. McDermott for their kindness by helping answering this inquiry. Once again we are in their debt. We will be sending each of these fine gentleman a copy of Historic Bridges of Milam County by authors Galbreath, Temple, Estell and Graham.
The Milam County Historical Commission would also like to recognize the McClaren family, present owners of the Old Lamkin property, for their wonderful preservation of the historic buildings on their property. For more information on the McClarens;
Shown as BRL Ranches, property I.D. 17319 on Milam County Appraisal District public records.
The Cloud and Pratt families held reunions there. I have put a picture and newspaper article of the 1930 reunion here:
Those pages were done a long time ago and I've learned a lot since then. I'm redoing them and intend to include details about more of the reunions, all held at Wayside Park as well as information on the park.
With your permission, I will include your description and pictures of the park_. It would be nice to have a picture from that era.
Photos courtesy of Jack Brooks