Nearly 100 years ago, a teenager created a stir when he came across what appeared to be an ancient, hand-hewn “rock wall,” raising questions of whether a prehistoric civilization existed thousands of years before Rockwall County was settled.
Over the past century, the Rockwall-Terrell-Forney area has evolved from agricultural production into a diverse economy, attracting defense, health care, technology, numerous manufacturing industries, and a wide range of residential and retail development.
The concentration of homeowners and renters has made the Forney Independent School District this area’s top employer, followed by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Another notable workplace in this area includes international defense and commercial communications, electronics and avionics contractor L-3 Technologies. Other top employers include corrugated package manufacturer Smurfit Kappa and Texas Star Express, which serves as a major southwestern trucking hub for Greensboro, N.C.-based Epes Transport System.
Aside from serving as a base for L-3 and Col-Met Engineered Finishing Solutions, the 400-acre Rockwall Technology Park also serves as a location to a $75 million Bimbo Bakeries facility. Bimbo USA owns several brands including Mrs. Baird’s, Oroweat, Sara Lee and Tia Rosa.
Nearby, 22,000-acre Lake Ray Hubbard serves a dual purpose: as a recreational water body, and as a water reservoir for North Texans. The lake and its 111 miles of shoreline have been a magnet for retail, commercial, recreational and residential development. The Harbor District, started by Rockwall City Council in 2003, was created to ensure that the public could access the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard. Since then, the development has grown to include a Hilton Hotel, a Cinemark Movie Theater, a marina and more than a dozen shops and restaurants. Roughly 20 percent of this area’s workforce is in the retail sector.
More than a third of all workers commute less than 10 miles to their jobs; the vast majority of those commuters travel eastward. Two thirds have post-high-school educations.
Whatever came of the rock-wall mystery?
“The verdict of the scientists was that the walls are of natural origin,” the Dallas Morning News deadpanned in 1925. “Volcanic sands thrust up through strata of clay formations, and solidified into sandrock.”
SAMPLE OF MAJOR EMPLOYERS IN ROCKWALL/TERRELL/FORNEY
4Steve Silver Company
6Lowe's Home Improvement
8Ridgecrest Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center
10Eric L. Davis Engineering
11Three Forks Senior Living
13Baylor Scott & White Emergency Center
15Aircraft Ducting Repair Inc.
18Oncor Electric Delivery
20The Sophia Design Group
23Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
25Texas Star Express/Epes Transport
26Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront
31SPM (Special Products & Mfg.)
33Col-Met Engineered Finishing Solutions
35Multi-Metal & Manufacturing Co
38Falcon Fine Wire
39Precision Sheet Metal Products
42Terrell State Hospital
44Old Castle Building Envelope
45AutoZone Distribution Center
47American National Bank
50Fine Line Metal Fabricators
51Country View Manor
52Windsor Nursing Home
53Maines Paper & Food Service, Inc
55Renfro Industries, Inc.
56Lakes Regional MHMR Center
58Preferred Powder Coating
62Family Medical Center at Terrell
63Carlisle Syn Tec/Hunter Panels
64Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing
65The Terrell Tribune
66The Van Tone Co.