Rockwall County celebrated the opening of its $37.2 million, 134,000-square-foot, Neoclassical-styled courthouse on Nov. 11, 2011.
Some 1,000 people were on hand to first dedicate the Rockwall County Veterans Memorial, located next to the new county capitol. Following the memorial dedication on Veterans Day, visitors then walked around the corner for the courthouse ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony.
Former Rockwall County Judge Ralph Hall presided over the ribbon cutting. Hall served the county from 1950 to 1962 before his election to the Texas Senate, where he remained for a decade. He was then elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where he has been a member for 31 years.
“It is appropriate this building that bridges the movement of Rockwall County from a farming, rural county to a rapidly growing, urban county be opened by a man who has served so many of our citizens for so long,” current Rockwall County Judge Jerry Hogan told the Rockwall Herald Banner.
Rockwall County was organized in 1873. Both the county name and its county seat reference a mostly subsurface wall of rock that runs through the area.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rockwall County is the smallest county, land-wise, in the Lone Star State with a total area of 149 square miles. However, the Census Bureau also reported Rockwall as one of the top 25 fastest growing counties in the United States. In fact, Rockwall County was recognized as the No. 1 county in the country for job creation by CNNMoney magazine, with 98 percent job growth from 2000-2010. In July 2009, Family Circle magazine named Rockwall as No. 1 on their “10 Best Towns for Families” list, spotlighting the county’s topnotch public school systems, affordable housing and green spaces, financial stability, low crime rates, and access to health care as the main reasons for the designation.
At the courthouse grand opening, Hogan noted the progression of the county’s growth, from a rural farming county of 6,000 in 1960, to 25,000 in 1990, 43,000 in 2000, and almost 80,000 last year. Rockwall County is expected to grow to 250,000 by 2035.
Rockwall County forms part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, with a straight shot from downtown Dallas on Interstate 30. The Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce refers to this association on its website with the following: “The real beauty of Rockwall is its hometown feel with all of the advantages of a major city,” (www.rockwallchamber.org).
Many of the area’s special events are testament to the “hometown feel” including Founders Day on the historic square each spring; the Aspasians Arts and Crafts show every September and April, a 30-year event that funds scholarships for local high school seniors; the “Concert by the Lake” series at the Harbor Amphitheater during the spring and summer; and “Rockin On The Docks,” an all-day event in October, also on the Harbor at Lake Ray Hubbard.