Texas abounds with opportunities for this feature, and some seem irretrievable, lost and gone. Doesn't seem to be the case here, but

Wikipedia notes what happened lately:

Rockdale was the site of a large Alcoa smelting operation, which could produce 1.67 million pounds of aluminum per day. The ALCOA plant profoundly changed the city, as noted in a Saturday Evening Post article by Rockdale native George Sessions Perry - within a few years of its arrival in 1952, Rockdale almost doubled in population, changing in character from a predominantly agricultural economy to one heavily driven by manufacturing jobs. The ALCOA plant was partially closed in late 2008 - early 2009.

It's completely closed now. The company said it was not competitive with "other smelters globally."

The town grew up alongside a train line, the International-Great Northern Railroad. Their depot:

I wondered what the Great Snortin' was doing down in Texas, but the famed Minnesota line was a different company. The Great Northern Railway. I'm sure they didn't chose the name of the Texas line to make people think they were part of that successful company. Nah.

So what's downtown? This off-putting piece of visual abrasion:

A facade job, or new construction? The door is situated like a 60s building, and the same goes for the window. If I had to guess: bank or public building of some sort.

It's certainly arresting, I'll give it that.

NOTE: in the middle of writing this, I found a resource that gives some context. It seems to have replaced another structure.

Full enshinglement in the Buckaroo Revival style, with late 60s / early 70s faux stone for the full length:

Think of men with wide lapels and thick ties and brown-rimmed glasses and combovers and polyester shirts, and that's who clustered around the day they had their grand opening.

As the song says: something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

It looks like a second floor was lopped off and the windows filled in, but the proportions are wrong, and the roofline pyramids look original.

The town went all-out when it seemed like Pepto-Bismol might build plant:

Thin bricks indicate a 50s makeover; the corners show the tell-tale signs of glue daubs, suggesting Vitrolite or porcelain plates. Which might have been put up in the 30s or 40s.

Overall it looks as if it lost a story - the second, in between the first and third.

The building on the left looks like an indifferent Rock 'em-Sock 'em robot:

On the right - why, look! Buckaroo Revival of the most delicate sort.

Yes, that's a great place for shingles! And as long as they're at it:

It must have been beautiful, once - imagine that window glowing in the twilight.

Tire & Automotive . . .

. . . and treasures.

On the edge of downtown, looking as if it's 1948:


And it's open! Take a look at how rotten it was before renovation.

There was another theater . . . but we'll get to that.

A hopeful sign: old structures respectfully renovated.

One more note:

From 1992 to 2011, the Rockdale facility had been the sole supplier of the aluminum powder used to propel U. S. space shuttles.

Ironically, the commander on three shuttle missions,— pilot on a fourth and mission specialist on a fifth—was a Rockdale native.

Ken Cockrell commanded shuttle missions in 2002, 2001 and 1996, piloted a 1995 flight and first flew into space aboard a 1993 mission.

Cockrell is a 1968 graduate of Rockdale High School and won an Alcoa scholarship that year.

Wonder if he got gas here, or whether it had been shuttered even then:


There's more: have a look.

Bonus fun: look at this photograph, and see if you can find the street. The 7th building from the corner is still around.