Milam County Texas Archives
(Researched by Laurence Warren)
"Oh, Mommy, is it real?" a little Rockdale girl said upon seeing the Lake for the first time.
Her delighted incredulity was quite understandable. In this somewhat arid region such a large body of water was indeed something to marvel over. She was used to small, rather murky, stock ponds and a few, equally murky slugg~sh streams, some of which dried up completely in our frequent periods of drouth. And here was eight hundred and fifty acres of sparkling, clear blue water surrounded by a forest of oak trees and willows.
This was in June, 1954 when The Aluminum Company of America first made available to the general public its lake and environs. It was a happy day. The little girl's pleasure was shared by her elders.
There were men-and women too-who had had to drive some sixty miles to engage in their favorite sport-fishing. And here was a lake that provided them much better fishing right at their own doorstep. (Alcoa Lake is only some five miles from Rockdale-a matter of minutes.) Even before they tried it these experienced sportsmen knew they had a good thing going for them. They had only to look at the lake to know this-they had also had some first hand corroboration of this opinion. A week before the official opening of the lake the management of Alcoa had opened it to its employees. Reports from these early fishermen substantiated the opinion that the lake would turn out to be one of the best bass lakes in the state. In addition it was seen that it was one of the most convenient and easy to reach.
The Aluminum Company of America-Alcoa-had appointed a concessionaire to manage the project. It had built a dock for the anchorage and launching of boats. The concessionaire's building stocked soft drinks and snacks, plus a variety of items that fishermen need, such as fuel for outboard motors, oars, rope, anchors, lures, etc. And also expert advice on the areas where most likely the fish were biting. In the early days it turned out that the fish were biting everywhere. The bass were small-naturally-since the lake had been stocked only recently. But they were plentiful: And anglers saw immediately that in a very short time they would be taking some sizeable game fish from the waters.
But the lake, however pleasant it was to the little girl and others, was not primarily made for the pleasure of the community of Rockdale and its neighborhood. It was made as a vital part of the intricate process of producing the metal .... aluminum.
This procedure requires the use of a great deal of electricity. And in producing the electricity a great deal of heat is required to make the steam which makes the energy which makes the electricity. Curiously enough the great heat must be cooled down before it can be used again. This cooling process is achieved by the use of water, quite a bit of it. And that is what Alcoa Lake is, a water cooled device for controlling heat. To get this water Alcoa built a twelve mile conduit from the confluence of the Little and San Gabriel Rivers. This water is used over and over again. The system is somewhat like that of a car radiator.
When the lake level begins to fall through evaporation then the pumps are turned on to replenish the supply. When the runoff from rains threatens to overfill the lake the pumps from the river are cut off. If the runoff continues a gate is opened to let the excess water off. Thus the general water level is maintained and the ugly business of mud flats avoided.
There is more to the lake than fishing. The Aluminum Company of America has set aside five acres adjacent to the lake as a picnic area. This is a grassy, tree shaded area free of underbrush and livestock. There are a half dozen brick fireplaces with barbecue grills and convenient trash barrels. The Aluminum Company of America keeps these sites supplied with firewood at no charge. It also provides a half dozen picnic benches and tables.
The company does ask that its visitors observe certain precautionary measures. FOF instance: fishing hours are from sunrise to sunset. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. All boating parties must have a life-saver apiece. No outboard motors over ten horse power are allowed. No swimming. No water skiing. In other words, tranquility is order of the day on Alcoa Lake.
In the fall and in the spring the flocks of migratory birds pour into the lake; ducks by the thousands: mallards, red heads, teal, canvasbacks, blacks and all the others. They seem to know they are safe on this water. No hunting is allowed on the lake or its environs. Even in the off seasons there is a multitude of birds who use the lake. Many of these visitors come up all the way from the Gulf of Mexico. Thus it is not at all unusual to see an acre or more of white pelicans floating placidly close to the green banks of one of the inlets.
The little girl, by now, twenty years later, must be convinced that the lake is real.
LUCY HILL PATTERSON MEMORIAL LIBRARY
(Researched by Mrs. Eugene Ilalrston)
Plans for a library in Rockdale began in mid 1953 with discussion of the feasibility of a library. On January 20 the Civic Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce named a group to work toward this goal. Headed by Rev. Roy Turner, they were Mrs. E. V. (Ida Jo) Marshall, Mrs. Laurence Warren, Mrs. H. D. Maxwell, Mrs. Roy Neidigh and Mrs. Roy Turner.
A meeting was held with the P. T. A. and there a Friends of the Library Association was organized with Herman Thomas and Evelyn Cherry as Chairman and Secretary. This group was greatly encouraged by the reception at the PTA meeting. At their next meeting officers were named: Joe Mohair, President; three Vice-Presidents, Lyman Harris, Laurence Warren and Roy Turner; H. D. Thomas, Treasurer; Evelyn Cherry, Corresponding Secretary and Barbara Whitford, Recording Secretary. Six board members were also named: George Bredt, Mrs. J. Henry Johnston, Mrs. E. V. Marshall, George Sessions Perry, Mrs. T: B. Ryan and Bob Greenwald.
Under Mohair's wise and patient guidance the surge of energy behind the movement was channelled through committees. The first large-scale operation was a survey undertaken on April 9 by over 100 volunteers. By mid-July the shelves were going up in the room in the City Hall which the city government under Mayor W. P. Hogan had donated.
The shelves were not even finished when Heabert Helmer, president of the Rotary Club, assigned a committee to aid in the library drive with J. R. Yeager as chairman. With its intensive city wide drive the Rotarians picked up S500.00 and over 1,300 books.
The board, though gratified by the public's response found itself swamped with work. The tedious job of cataloging each book had to be done by persons who knew almost nothing of the procedure. Fortunately, Mrs. E. V. Marshall the school librarian, volunteered to teach the amateur librarians some of the techniques.
On October 17, Open House attended by more than 150 people was held.
The library was run by volunteers and was open mornings and evenings. Many people worked to establish and run the library but special mention should be made of the dedication of Barbara Whitford, Evelyn Cherry and Mrs. Laurabelle Harris. Their hours of physical labor made the library possible.
In November of 1955 an Anniversary Ball was held to celebrate the library's first birthday. An overflow crowd attended. The design committee headed by Mrs. R. E. Smith did an exceptional job with the first ball, as they did with those following.
As the library grew it was moved from one room in the City Hall shared with the State Welfare Department into two large rooms. All too soon, these also proved inadequate.
In 1957 the city donated the site of the Scarbrough and Hicks store to the library in the hope that a George Sessions Perry Memorial Library would be built. This lot was deeded to the city by the Scarbrough heirs with the provision that it be used for a library or other civic building.
However, by 1961 hope of building had faded. Thep Mayor Linwood Mehaffey received a letter from Dr. George Hill Patterson of Los Angeles saying that he was considering a trust benefit memorial for his mother in Rockdale.
Dr. Patterson wrote that his mother, Lucy Hill Patterson, was born in Rockdale and had recently died. He offered to provide $12,500 if the city could provide matching funds for the library building. The board had a building fund of $2,000.00 including a gift from the Hunt Foundation of $1,500. Rockdale's citizens responded quickly to this incentive and the Rockdale Volunteer Fire Department was the first to donate S200.00 to the fund drive.
Plans were made for plaques to be placed at the entrance to the library shDwing the names of patrons, who donated $500.00 or more, and a
Memorial Plaque to bear the names of deceased friends and relatives in whose memory a minimum of $500.00 was given.
Names appearing on the Patron Plaque are: Alcoa Foundation, Hunt Foundation, Rockdale State Bank, Texas Power and Light Company, Coffeld Construction Company, City of Rockdale, Dr. George H. Patterson and J. G. Puterbaugh.
Names appearing on the Memorial Plaque are: Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lockwood, Sr., George Sessions Perry, E. M. Scarbrough, E. A. Camp, and T. B. Ryan.
A successful fund drive was completed and Frank C. Dill of Houston was named as architect. The Coffield Construction Company built the library.
May 25, 1963, was set as the date of dedication of the Lucy Hill Patterson Memorial Library.
Associate Justice Tom C. Clark of the United States Supreme Court was the speaker on the program. Dr. Patterson assisted in the ribbon-cutting with Mrs. Joe Mohair, whose late husband was the first President of the Rockdale Library Board.
In the years since the dedication the library has experienced steady growth and now has a collection of over 9,000 volumes. The library is financed by the city with some help from the county. The Friends of the Library use funds from the annual sale of the Birthday Calendar to provide extra items for the library.
Past presidents of the library board are: Joe Mohair, Lyman Harris, Jim Sonntag, L. Y. Warren, J. E. Carr, L. O. Enquist, R. F. Thompson, Henry G. Wickes, H. B. Hurst, R. F. Thompson, B. M. Starner, W. J. Herrmann, Darral Walker, Wm. R. Vogelpohl, Fred Morris and Harold Parsley.
Librarians have been Miss Mabel Jones, Mrs. Lelah Fincher and Mrs. Lee Ida Hairston.
ROCKDALE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
(Researched bg Joe Wayne Cleveland)
On February 25, 1954, a called meeting was held in the Rockdale High School Library for the purpose of organizing an Athletic Association. Organizers were J. R. Yeager, John Scaff, W. T. Pearson, T. A. Weems and others.
The following officers were elected: J. R. Yeager, president; T. A. Weems, vice- president; and Clay Dark, secretary.
Mr. Yeager was personnel supervisor at Industrial Generating Company. He was a former coach and Southwest Conference and basketball official. Frank O'Neal was head coach at Rockdale High School.
All members of this association have helped with various projects which have been undertaken. Their first project was the giving of an electric scoreboard. Other projects have been the collecting of membership dues, the purchasing of whirlpool, washer and dryers.
The first Ail Sports Banquet was held at Fair Park on May 21, 1954.
Present officers for 1973 are: Joe Wayne Cleveland, president; Allan H. Ballew, vice- president; and John Kapustay, secretary.
ROCKDALE BABE RUTH BASEBALL STORY
(Researched by Spud Caywood and Bill Aiford)
On March 15, 1956 Jimmy Farrell of Austin met in the office of W. T. Pearson, Jr. with J. R. Yeager and Don Mercer representing The Lions Club, T. B. Ryan and W. T. Pearson, Jr. representing the Rotary Club, H. A. (Speedy) Crockett and Bill Hall representing the Athlatic Club. Also, at this meeting there were Nelson Davis from Sharp and Ray Dorsett from Thorndale. There were one interested man from Lexington and one from Milano. As a result of this group meeting, the Rockdale Babe Ruth League was established.
The officers of the first Board of Directors were: W. T. Pearson, Jr president; Ray Dorsett, Thorndale, J. W. Parker, Lexington, and Charlle Morgan, Milano, vice- presidents; Don Mercer, secretary; T. B. Ryan treasurer. Other members of the Board of Directors were H. A. (Speedy) Crockett, Bill Hall, George Lee Price, J. R. Yeager, Henry Camp and Chuck Tolbert.
Since the establishment of the Babe Ruth League, it has been fortunate to have had men like W. T. Pearson, Jr., J. R. Yeager, Reuben Seelke, B. F. Cook, John Scaff, Charlie Floyd, M. J. Boyer, Harold Lankford and Sam Peebles to serve as president. At one time, J. R. Yeager served as State Director, and John Scaff was District Director. At the present time Spud Caywood is serving as Director of District I of the East Texas Babe Ruth Leagues.
At the present time there are only four teams in the Local Leagues. They are The Lions, The Rotary, The Athletics and The Cubs.
During its seventeen years of existence, The Babe Ruth League has helped and guided many boys at an age when they needed it
The Rockdale Rotary Club was the first League Champion in 1956. The Lions Club won the League Championship in 1973.
ROCKDALE CITY PARK
(Researched by Mrs. Ida Jo Marshall)
In 1952, The Aluminum Company of America donated five acres of land to the city of Rockdale for the purpose of the construction of a new City Park which would be municipally owned.
The McNeme Company of Houston built a large, modern swimming pool in the park. During 1953, a spacious bathhouse was built.
Many recreational features have been added to the park such as playground equipment, picnic tables, etc.
THE ROCKDALE COUNTRY CLUB
(Researched by Hal Reagan)
After 10 years of periodic editorial nudging by The Rockdale Reporter, the Rockdale Country Club was conceived in 1962 as "The Rockdale Golf Club."
The golf course was literally built through a labor of love by countless golfers and even non-golfers, with heavy equipment operators of local industrial operations leading the way.
Eventually a full-fledged Rockdale Country Club and golf course came into existence in 1964. In July of 1962 it became apparent Aluminum Company of America was willing to go along with some sort of land low-cost lease or donation provided townspeople were behind a golf course effort.
Two informal meetings were held and a plan presented to sign 100 people willing to pay $150 for a membership in a proposed golf club to raise $15,000 for the start-up.
When Reporter publisher W. H. Cooke called for names of people interested in this plan, 90 people signed up within 5 days. A week later the list had grown to 115 and an August, 1962, deadline for memberships was set. Before the middle of August the list had grown to 143.
The official organizational meeting was held Aug. 21, 1962. Golf course construction began in February 1963 and the course opened for play that September. Talk immediately began on building a clubhouse and swimming
The grand opening of all facilities was held May 23-24, 1964.
The original 12-man board of directors of "The Rockdale Golf" club were W. H. Cooke, president, Bill Harris, B. V. Hodge, W. P. Hogan, Frank Hyder, Harold Luckey, Fred Magness, L. C. Mehaffey, Boswell Newton, Ralph Nichols, Kenneth Smith, and Bill Wininger.
By mid-1962 it became apparent Alcoa planned to be generous m providing land. Ralph Nichols, public relations director, who had been helping Cooke push the project, showed directors aerial maps of possible sites. In the same meeting Frank Hyder said Alcoa had offered to donate the old Ebasco frame construction building if the.club would move it.
W. P. Hogan and Kenneth Smith were first and second vice-presidents, and George Wall secretary. Directors placed a limit of 145 on memberships.
Linwood Mehaffey and Leo Ogea formulated the original constitution and by-laws. Frank Hyder R. R. Sugg, Kenneth Earman, and Morgan Stanton made up the site-selection committee. On Sept. 25, 1962, directors chose the name "Rockdale Country Club," outlining a golf course as the prime objective with a clubhouse and pool to follow.
Revised by-laws were officially adopted Oct. 23, 1972, and the club's charter was received from the secretary of state Oct. 25. Directors set the membership fee at $150 and monthly dues at S7.50.
On Nov. 1 the following 7-man committee was named to do preliminary work on the golf course layout: Bill Wininger, Frank Hyder, Ken Smith, Fred Magness B. V. Hodge, Ken Earman, and Morgan Stanton. Wininger told directors arrangements had been made with Industrial Generating Co. for use of heavy equipment for construction. He had an abundant supply of volunteer equipment operators and volunteer workers for building the course.
The directors employed Leon Howard, golf architect from Corpus Christi who was then completing a municipal course at Austin. Howard went to work immediately and designed the new golf course with irrigated fairways and greens. Early in February 1963 volunteer workers were building a golf course. In early March two bulldozers were busy as construction work was stepped up, still with mostly volunteer workers. By the middle of April the course was nearing the grass planting stage. The club had a paid-up membership of 125 with only 20 memberships open.
By the first of May 1963 the club had eight more members, the building donated by Alcoa was being moved, greens were finished, fairways were being seeded, and the water well, irrigation pump from the lake was being installed.
Membership hit the maximum of 145 on May 16 and a waiting list was started. With the golf course practically complete directors and members began turning attention toward a complete country club facility with swimming pool.
The club was receiving generous gifts from a number of sources and on Aug. 17 directors and members gave the go-ahead for construction of pool and clubhouse facilities.
The club's first golf tournament was held Sept. 18-21, dubbed "The T. J. Kyle Tourney," scheduled as an annual event. Hal Franklin was tourney winner.
With 27 on membership waiting lists directors on Dec. 17, 1963, opened the rolls for 20 "temporary" members. The fee was changed to $200. Temporary members were to become permanent as vacancies occurred.
In the January 1964 membership meeting Alex McLeod, Charlie Martin, T. J. Kyle and Doug Smith were named directors in the first yearly meeting. Directors re-elected W. H. Cooke president for another term, also re-electing all other officers.
The grand opening of the new Rockdale Country Club, including all facilities, was held May 23-24, 1964, with Open House in the new clubhouse, a golf tournament, swimming in the new pool, barbecue, and a dance at night. The Rockdale Country Club was officially launched. In the intervening years it has filled an important niche in the life of the Rockdale community and fall and spring invitational golf tournaments here are noted over a wide area. The first one was held Aug. 22-23, 1964.
Since its inception the following have served the club as president:
From the first election through 1964 and 1965, W. H. Cooke was president followed by: 1966, Harold M. Luckey; 1967, Jim Goley; 1968, T. J. Kyle, 1969 Emory Camp; 1970, Ed Remaley; 1971, Glen Beyer, 1972, Truman Haupt 1973, Bill Avrett.
ROCKDALE FAIR PARK
(Researched by Mrs. Ida Jo Marshail)
The Rockdale Fair was organized in 1908. It ran successfully for a long span of years. At one time it was considered the third largest fair in Texas. Citizens of Rockdale were very proud of this organization.
The grounds are located on the edge of the city limits in the southwestern part of town. It contains a roofed pavilion, a race track, a clubhouse, exhibit hall, barbecue pits and stands, rodeo grounds, a riding arena, baseball park concession stands, and bleachers.
The Rockdale Fair Association was organized in 1908. It was incorporated and owned a park of thirty acres. This park was covered by many immense oak trees.
In 1911 H. C. Meyer was president; John Hicks, vice-president; A. P. Perry, Jr., secretary: R. L. Hale. treasurer. The Board of Directors consisted of George Banzaff, Leonard Isaacs, O. K. Phillips, S. G. Hodge, J. F. Coffield Jr., and W. E. Gaither.
Because of financial loss, lack of interest, and "hard times" the Fair was discontinued.
This Fair Park is now used by various clubs, entertainments, celebrations and other organizations. The Rockdale Homecoming is held at the Fair Park annually.
ROCKDALE JUNIOR OLYMPICS PROGRAM
(Researched by T. A. Weems-Junior Obmpic Program Director)
The Junior Olympics program of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) was inaugurated in 1949 to stimulate the interest of the nation's youth through sportsmanlike participation in amateur athletic competition in accordance with the Olympic motto: "In the Olympics it is not the winning, but the taking part, that counts," To this end, the AAU's Junior Olympics seek to instill and develop, in America's youth of high school age and younger, the qualities of courage, self-reliance, honesty, tolerance and the virtue of fair play associated with the Olympics.
Each year since its inception the program has expanded until in 1970 some sixteen million of our nation's boys and girls were active participants in the Junior Olympics which covers most phases of athletics.
Rockdale's first charter was obtained in 1961 under the joint sponsorship of the Rockdale Public Schools, the City of Rockdale and Chamber of Commerce, and was obtained for the purpose of providing a summer recreation program of tr~ck and field events for girls only. A very active and well organized summer baseball program was available to boys of all ages in this area and for that reason the board decided to restrict participation in Junior Olympic events to girls only. When the City and Chamber of Commerce withdrew their sponsorship after a few years, the school continued to furnish all necessary equipment and facilities as well as make their buses available for transportation to the meets, and the girls themselves solicited and performed odd jobs and chores for small fees, and sold bottles and various types of merchandise, in order to obtain necessary finances to continue their activities.
This group was organized, a director was employed, and the girls began practice in early June, 1961. Each participant is required to join the AAU organization by securing a membership card for a small fee in order to compete in the scheduled meets. Our charter was obtained in the South Texas AAU Association with headquarters in San Antonio, and at that time all practice meets and qualifying meets were held in that city, with the sites of the State Meet competition changing each year. Those earning places in the qualifying meet were entered in the State Meet, and first two places in each event there went on to participate in Regional, with first place winners only progressing to the national level of competition.
Events and age groups in the girls' track and field program are listed below. Ages are determined as of May 1 each year.
Events Previously Held but Discontinued
|Division||Age||Present Events||(since 1961)|
|Bantam||8-9||50 yard dash||75 yard dash|
|100 yard dash||220 yard relay|
|440 yard run||Standing broad jump|
|440 yard relay||Softball throw|
|Running long jump|
|Running high jump|
|Midget||10-11||50 yard dash||75 yard dash|
|100 yard dash||200 yard relay|
|440 yard run||220 yard relay|
|440 yard relay||Standing broad jump|
|Running long jump||Softball throw|
|Running high jump|
|Junior||12-13||100 yard dash||50 yard dash|
|220 yard dash||75 yard dash|
|440 yard run||Standing broad jump|
|440 yard relay||Softball throw|
|Running long jump||Shot put|
|Running high jump|
|50 yard hurdles|
|Intermediate||14-15||100 yard dash||75 yard dash|
|220 yard dash||Standing broad jump|
|440 yard run||Softball throw|
|880 yard run||50 yard hurdles|
|440 yard relay||80 yard hurdles|
|100 meter hurdles|
|Running long jump|
|Running high jump|
|Shot put (8 lbs.)|
|Discus (Jr. size)|
|Senior||16-17||(Events same as Standing|
|broad jump Intermediate|
|Softball throw Division|
|50 yard hurdles|
|80 yard hurdles|
Daily practices were held and practice meets were usually on Thursday of each week in preparation for the qualifying meet scheduled the second Thursday in July each year. The first three places than advanced to the State Meet which was held the following week. The State Meets served as a "reward" for all the efforts of the previous six weeks of practice and hard work, as the group of qualifiers (usually numbering 20 to 25) earned a two to three-day stay in a luxury motel and enjoyed swimming, excellent food, and excursk~ns to zoos, amusement parks, etc.. as well as the thrill and excitement of participating in an excellent track meet in which winners were awarded Olympic design medals for the first three places in each event. The largest group of participants beginning the season during the peak years of the program numbered near 90, but only the best performers survived the process of elimination and were privileged to compete in the qualifying meets in an attempt to earn berths for the exciting "State Meet" trips to San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Abilene or Odessa. Two or three of the mothers of contestants would accompany the girls on each of these trips as chaperones.
Many medals and certificates were awarded to members of the Rockdale team during the twelve years this program was in existence, and a few of our participants won national recognition by quality performances at State Meet level which ranked in the first five places in competition in all regions of the United States.
The summer of 1973 is the first year since 1961 that Rockdale has not fielded a group of young hopefuls in the Junior Olympic program in the South Texas Association. However, the University Interscholastic League of Texas has sancthmed track and field events in junior high and high school competition for girls, and the committee felt that students who participated in track from February to May during school would not be enthusiastic about continuing these same activities in a summer recreation program.
In the last two or three years we have had several outstanding boys who expressed a desire to compete in the Junior Olympic meets and agreed to furnish their own transportation. Under those conditions they were allowed to participate within the Rockdale Public Schools charter and added their list of accomplishments to those of the Rockdale girls' team which compiled an outstanding record over their twelve consecutive seasons of competition.
We in Rockdale are reluctant to see the popular Junior Olympic program come to an end. However, we are certain that the Rockdale Public Schools will provide a qualified coaching staff and the necessary facilities to ensure that our young girls of school age will continue to have the opportunity to participate in a track and field program and be encouraged to perform to the highest level of their capabilities.
(Researched by Mrs. Leo Quick)
The Rockdale Roller Rink was built in 1954. It was a small portable structure which was started on a small scale to see if the Rockdale and surrounding people would care for skating. It was soon evident that the building would have to be enlarged and improved to accomodate the crowds.
It was decided that if the larger places could support large, well-equipped rinks so could the smaller towns have nice, modern small rinks.
The owner, Mr. Leo Quick, planned the entire building, including the lighting and the sound systems. Much of the work was done by Mr. Quick.
The skating floor was enlarged to 65 by 142 feet of plastic coating. Music for skating was taped.
Crowds in attendance grew. Particular hours for private parties were used. Church groups came from far and near. Some kept regular dates or would plan their parties in advance. By-passers on the highway would stop and skate for fun and for relaxation. Very little static was had from our patrons. The Rockdale Police Force has been most cooperative in giving us help in case it was needed. Some of the police members have enjoyed skating when they had the time.
Many people from all walks of life have been our patrons. Soon after the rink was opened, one young man came to the rink often. He was not a good skater but he was a nice, clean-cut, handsome fellow. Years later, he was seen on television as one of our first astronauts. Later his life was taken doing a service fi~r his country. This man was Virgil Grissom.
Years later another young man who was a frequent visitor to the rink and who was a wonderful skater had a similar experience. He met his death in a helicopter crash. He was Weldon Davenport.
This all began almost 20 years ago. Time passes on and people are still skating.
(Researched by Sharon Hodges)
C. W. Matson found two "picture shows" in operation when he arrived in Rockdale in 1921. He opened his first movie theatre in a rented building at the site of Singer's Grill on Cameron Street. About three years later he purchased a building two doors away and opened the Dixie Theatre. His business venture expanded through the years and in time he had bought out the other two theatres, one of which was located at the corner of Main and Bell. Following the renovation of the Dixie, Mr. Matson consolidated his businesses into that one theatre. During World War 11 he opened the Reel Drive-in Theatre on U S. 79. His later competition came in 1947 when the Kay Theatre opened for business on Main Street under the proprietorship of Mr. and Mrs. Foy Arrington. The Kay Theatre operated until the early fifties. Only the Dixie and the Reel have remained in continuous operation. In faet, the Dixie will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary the year of Rockdale's Centennial.
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