Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America
Rockdale I&GN Railroads and Depot
Rockdale I&GN Museum
11 North Main Street
Rockdale, TX
Rockdale Historical Society meets at
7:00 PM the
2nd Tuesday of each month
at the I&GN Depot. 
All persons with an interest in local history
are invited
Depot seeks fashions for exhibit;
Rockdale Reporter, January 14, 2010

Late 1800 and early 1900 clothing and fashions that are in good condition are needed at
the I&GN Depot Museum for an exhibit. The clothing would be on loan and displayed at the
depot from now until the end of March, according to Mary Phillips, spokesperson.
“Also, if anyone has a mannequin or a dress form that they would loan to the depot
during this time, or knows of someone that might have one to loan, we would appreciate
that,” Phillips said. “We will be glad to pick up loaned items or meet you at the depot
if you would like to bring them.”
All loaned items will be documented and returned after the exhibit ends. Call Mary
Phillips, 446-7118, or Joyce Dalley, 446-5717.

New officers

Rockdale Historical Society’s new officers for 2010 are Joyce Dalley, president; Charlie
Watson, vice-president; Mary Phillips, secretary; and Pat Jackson, treasurer.
“Please join us at the depot at 7 p.m. each second Tuesday for our monthly meeting,”
Phillips said. “A program is presented and a short business meeting follows. Please
come, get involved, there are a lot of good things happening.”

                 2010 Events for the Rockdale Historical Society:

Feb. 13:    Opening of Vintage Clothing Exhibit.  Matinee Music Club to perform;
            Tea and finger sandwiches to be served.

Mar. 6:     Tejas Festival (working craftsmen on IG&N Museum grounds)

June 12-13: Rockdale Homecoming

Nov. 6:     Rockdale Historical Society Annual Chili Meal
Open The Windows

Probably the only person to be warm
while working with the windows open
early Saturday morning in Rockdale was
Abram Doss. The Rockdale Historical
Society volunteer opened up the
blacksmith shop at the historic I&GN
Depot Museum for a morning’s work. The
shop, which contains a working, open-
flame forge is an authentic recreation
of a blacksmith shop which existed more
than 100 years ago in the Gay Hill
Rockdale Reporter, January 14, 2010
                         Depot museum had a busy, rewarding year
                           Rockdale Reporter, January 14, 2010
                                By JOYCE DALLEY, president
                               Rockdale Historical Society
                                       Guest Column

The year 2009 was an exciting (and busy) year for the I&GN Depot Museum!

In March we were part of the Tejas Art & Book Festival. We hosted two of the notable
authors on the front lawn of the depot. “Granny Van” made an appearance and the Matinee
Musical Club sang in the depot while a flintknapper, blacksmiths and a candle maker
exhibited their skills in the open area behind the depot. Hobo stew was made in a big
cast-iron pot and our famous sausage wraps, cooked on the big grill, were served. Tables
were set up in the dining car.

After the Memorial Day service in Wolf Park, the depot opened a special military exhibit
with uniforms from local residents who served in past wars. If you have a military
uniform from a loved one that you would like for us to add to the display next year,
please give us a call.

In June we opened the Dan Kubiak Ten Tall Texans exhibit with a ribbon-cutting to
celebrate and honor his family. This exhibit was on loan from the Brenham Heritage Museum
and was sent to Madisonville in November for exhibit there.

During the Rockdale Homecoming in June we hosted many alumni who were excited to see the
work that has been done at the depot, and many found items from their own families on
display. Several former railroad employees also visited and kept the visitors enthralled
with stories they remembered.

In October we hosted our first Living History Day, an opportunity to dedicate the new
blacksmith shop. Several families from the area have donated the tools for a complete
working blacksmith shop. Some of those family members reminisced of techniques and items
made by their loved ones. Demonstrations were held throughout the day.

The Balcones Forge group from Austin surprised us with a very generous donation. We have
extended an invitation for them to use our facility (and they held their November monthly
meeting with us—this attracted quite a few local bystanders). Some local folks have asked
that our “inhouse blacksmiths” be available for their repairs.

On Nov. 14 we held our annual chili meal fund-raiser. Just to give you an idea of how
that event has grown, we now order 175 pounds of meat. And, can you imagine chopping 35
pounds of onions? Although we have been selling individually the homemade desserts made
by our members, we have had numerous suggestions to sell “sampler plates” in the future.
We average about $1,000 at each event where we serve sausage wraps and food.

Best restoration in state
And, for the most exciting news —several members of the Society went to Tyler on Nov. 5
to attend the Texas Downtown Association annual meeting. Our depot received the
President’s Award for the “best historic restoration” project in the State! This is
especially meaningful as all the work has been designed and performed by local craftsmen
who are dedicated to the authenticity of our depot!

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in Rockdale on the very coldest day of the year! They
attended a tree lighting ceremony across the street at Wolf Park and then the children
followed him to the depot to share their gift list!

And, our request to Santa was simply for the continued generosity of our members and
community as we begin restoration of our dining car. We look forward to receiving your
membership renewal along with any ideas or suggestions you might have on how we can
better serve our community. And if you’re not a member and are interested, call any
member or write to Rockdale Historical Society I&GN Depot Museum, PO Box 778, Rockdale TX

The historical society has a new slate of officers for the year 2010. Joyce Dalley is
president, Charlie Watson is vice president, Mary Phillips is secretary and Pat Jackson
is treasurer. Please join us at the Depot each month at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday for
our monthly meeting. A program will be presented with a short business meeting.

Please come and get involved. We look forward to seeing you at the depot in 2010!

Depot fund-raiser slated Nov. 13, 2010

The annual homemade chili meal fund-raiser to benefit the International & Great Northern
Historical Depot is set for Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 at the Fair Park Clubhouse.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to Chamber of Commerce President Denice Doss. The
meal includes homemade chili and desserts to eat in or take out.

Last year’s meal raised over $1,000.

The fully-restored depot, located at the corner of Main and Milam in downtown Rockdale
contains a museum, caboose, dining car and blacksmith’s shop. Last year it was won the
“best restoration” category in the 2009 Texas Downtown Association (TDA) President’s
Awards Program.
Rockdale Reporter, November 4, 2010

                         Here’s why it’s called ‘restoration’
                         Rockdale Reporter, November 10, 2011

Depot has come a long way, thanks to volunteers

The Rockdale Historical Society will hold its annual chili meal from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday at the New Salem HD Clubhouse in Fair Park.

It’s a major fund raiser for the society. On this page you can see what the funds are
going for.

On Dec. 1, 1999, the society purchased the former International & Great Northern railroad
depot, constructed in 1905, and began a restoration project.

The building was used as a depot for 65 years, until passenger train service to Rockdale
was terminated in 1970. For the next 28 years the structure was used to store feed. It
was also damaged by fire.

The restoration has involved countless hours of volunteer work by dozens of Historical
Society members and others. In addition to restoring the depot to its turn-of-the-20th
Century appearance, railroad cars have been added and a complete, working blacksmith shop
now stands on the grounds.

The depot itself is being used as a museum, emphasizing the roles of railroads, mining
and agriculture to the Rockdale area.

The museum also has featured a number of historical exhibits, including one on the life
of the late State Rep. Dan Kubiak of Rockdale and on the history of Dr. Pepper.

In 2009, the depot-museum was named the best historical restoration in the state of

Abram Doss, Blacksmith at the Rockdale, TX I&GN Depot Museum
Photo credit: Mike Brown, Rockdale Reporter
Depot to again host blacksmithing group

The Balcones Forge blacksmithing group will visit Rockdale’s I&GN Depot Museum beginning
at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 27.

John Crouchet will demonstrate filing and the use of files.

“This group visited the depot last year and was a big hit,” Joyce Dalley, Rockdale
Historical Society volunteer said. “Almost weekly, we’ll have someone call the depot
wanting to know when they are coming back.”
Rockdale Reporter, November 25, 2010
Restored I&GN Depot, Rockdale, TX
Snow at I&GN Railroad Depot
Jean Alford working at I&GN Depot
Laying track at I&GN Depot, Rockdale, TX
Cupola for restored I&GN Depot, Rockdale, TX
Yes, they’re the
same buildings.
The inset shows
what depot looked
like in 2000
shortly after
being acquired
by historical
Reporter file photos/Mike Brown and Ken Esten Cooke
You’ve got to start somewhere. At left the late Jean Alford tackled decades of
dust on waiting room bench 11 years ago. Above Right,volunteers laid tracks to
accommodate railroad cars.
It was a big day when the cupola was ready to be installed in 2003. Depot was named
the best historical restoration in Texas for 2009. It has become the Rockdale town
symbol and a backdrop for many events including the rare five-inch snowfall in
February, 2010 (right).