Rockne began as a small farming community, Phillip Goertz (1825-1900), considered to be the first German Catholic Settler of the area, arrived from Germany is 1856 and purchased land along Walnut Creek. He was soon joined by more German Catholic Immigrants who established family farms.
The first church built by the settlers, Ascension of Christ Church, was erected on Walnut Creek in 1876 but was destroyed by an arsonist's fire in 1891. A new structure was completed in 1892 and named Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Rockne has been known by several names. First called Walnut Creek because of its proximity to the stream, it was known as Lehmanville when the Lehman Post Office was established in 1900, and as Hilbigville after William Hilbig opened a store here.
In 1931 the children of Sacred Heart School were given the opportunity to permanently name their town. A vote was taken, with the children electing to name the community Rockne in honor of Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame University football player and Head Coach who had died in a plane crash in 1931.
Rockne continues to be a rural community, with Sacred Heart Catholic Church at its center.
*This history of Rockne can be found on the Rockne Historical Marker located in front of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and on the University of Notre Dame campus.
Additional early history of Rockne, Texas can be found in the official Rockne Red Book. If you would like to find out more information about ordering "The Red Book", click here!
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