Small hints of our rich history are alive and well throughout Rockwall County! In 1852, Benjamin Boydstun, Terry Utley Wade, and William Clay Stevenson began digging in the rich blackland soil in need of a water well for his farmstead. Those local leaders discovered a unique “rock wall” formation that resembled perfectly stacked rocks that has been documented throughout the county. This led to the town being named Rockwall in 1854, and subsequently the county in 1873. The discovery is located on private property; however, pieces of the structure are displayed at the Rockwall County Historical Foundation museum and in front of the Rockwall County Downtown Historic Courthouse!
Unfortunately, the courthouse you see downtown is not the original structure. There was a beautiful courthouse made of native sandstone erected in 1892 for only $25,000! Many couples sought out to get married in such a remarkable place, however, due to deteriorating stones and mortar, it had to be razed in 1938. The current Historic Art Deco Courthouse was designed by Wichita Falls Architects Voelcker and Dixon and dedicated in 1941. At the time, there were several of the same design built throughout Texas with state funds, but it’s still quite unique and special to the downtown landscape.
Passing through town, we currently see “Highway 66” which used to be Bankhead Highway #1. In 1919, the 870-mile stretch went through Texarkana continuing to Mount Pleasant, traveling through Sulphur Springs, on to Greenville and through Royse City, Rockwall, downtown Rowlett, Garland, White Rock Lake, Dallas by the Old Red Courthouse, and making its way to El Paso! Automobile travel was becoming popular and many one-room lodging facilities popped up. Businesses and gas stations flourished as did our very own Bankhead Filling Station. If you look into the Lake Ray Hubbard waters today, you will see remnants of the old Bankhead.
Congressman Ralph M. Hall, Rockwall native and one of our most famous Rockwallians, was elected 17 times to Congress, one of the last veterans of World War II on Capitol Hill, and the oldest person in history to serve and cast a vote in the U.S. House. As a young man, it has been said that he pumped gas for a man and woman whom he later identified as Bonnie and Clyde. He passed in Rockwall in 2019 at the age of 95.
Between 1959 and 1970, the city of Dallas acquired over 27,000 acres of land to create Lake Ray Hubbard and widen the Interstate Highway 30 crossing. The namesake derived from Ray Hubbard who presided over the Dallas Parks and Recreation System for 25 years. It has been 50 years since the landscape between Rockwall and Dallas county changed with this addition. We have sailing, regattas, concerts by the lake, and so much more! The lakeside living lifestyle is just another part of what makes Rockwall so wonderful!