Upstairs City Hall basketball; golf at Fair Park
Spoiling the Broth by Bill Cooke
Rockdale Reporter - 2016-05-19
Iola Avrett of our town has been a loyal reader of this weekly rag for just about all of
her 95 years and she is — like all of us — following the drama involved in the city’s
controversial proposal to move the Rockdale Police Department to the far western edge of
Thankfully, that project is being given more study.
Iola remembers when Rockdale High School’s basketball games were played in the top floor
of the old City Hall (now the police station).
She remembers going to a game when she was a very, very young girl. “I even remember what
I wore,” she said.
My father, the late Reporter publisher W.H. Cooke, told me a long time ago that upstairs
City Hall is where the high school basketball games were played before the first
gymnasium (now the elementary school’s gym) was erected in 1936 on Bowser Street. It
remained the high school gym until 1955-56 when a new RHS opened.
Actually, my Dad said there was an outdoor clay basketball court used for many years at
the only school campus on “College Hill” (now the elementary school site).
He also told me that his father, John Esten Cooke (my grandfather who bought this
newspaper in 1911) played golf on the infield of the race track at Fair Park. There was a
seven-hole golf layout with sand greens inside that oval, half-mile track.
“Once they arrived at a green, they would sweep a smooth place between the cup and their
ball,” Dad said. Dad was four years old with two older sisters when his father moved the
family to Rockdale and he remembers accompanying his father as he played those seven
So, there’s a little history for you: Tiger basketball played upstairs at City Hall, and
for a time on an outdoor clay court, and a golf course at Fair Park where the hosses ran.