History will Happen here in Milam County, Oct. 8, 2012
by Joy Graham
Final article in the series of marking El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail in the county.
Settlers moved into Milam County in the mid 1800’s. They came to relocate to a new
state in a place with fertile soil and water. Communities set up across the county.
Six cities were established and one small community. Infrastructure provided schools,
churches, businesses and brought the railroad through the county.
Milam County has had four courthouses. The one serving today was built in 1892 and
restored and rededicated in 2002.
Milam has a rich history. Many county people have left their mark in Texas serving in
State and National Government. The county struggled through times of Wars, beginning
with the Civil War, depression, and the wars the United States has supported.
The County is primarily rural - living off the land. In the early 1950’s lignite
located in the southwest area of the county, drew ALCOA INC. to the area to use lignite
as a power source to produce aluminum. It closed the Smelter in 2008, retaining the
Atomizer which still operates in 2012.
Other small industry is located in Cameron and Rockdale. The land is fertile, with the
north and western areas producing major crops. Trees are plentiful in the south and
eastern part of the county, along with rolling hills that provide ranches for livestock
George W. Bush, former Governor of Texas, and then serving as President of the United
States signed El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail into Legislation in October
2004. Two Congressman worked to get bills through the House of Representative (Ciro
Rodriques) and the Senate (Kay Bailey Hutchison).
From that day forward, work began here in Milam County to investigate the history of
the Missions that were here in the mid 1740’s. Volunteers of Milam County Historical
Commission & CLG Committee who were qualified in the disciplines needed surveyed Milam
County. The Survey Document was published and identifies areas of high significance on
the two routes of the trail through the county. It contains information used by NPS
and Milam County Commissioners to document areas of Highly Significant sites and in
planning. This process took five years. Milam County has six areas of High
Significance on the trail.
National Trail signs will be dedicated on Monday, October 8, 2012 at Apache Pass Park
on FM 908 and CR 428. Milam is the first in Texas to receive National Trail signs. It
is open to the public. Bring a lawn chair, come as “History Happens Here” on Oct. 8,
2012. Come early 9:15, the program will begin at 10 am and end at 11 am. Keynote
speaker is Kay Bailey Hutchison.