The Hard-Luck Texas Town That Bet on Bitcoinand Lost

In 1952, The Saturday Evening Post christened Rockdale, Texas, “The Town Where It Rains Money.” An estimated 100 million tons of lignite coal lay buried a few miles south of the city limits, and Alcoa had just swooped in to build a $100 million smelter that would use the cheap energy source to produce aluminum for fighter planes, skyscrapers, auto­mobiles, and more. “At the mere mention of somebody blowing into town with $100,000,000 to spend, many citi­zens were seized by attacks of vertigo,” wrote local author George Sessions-Perry. “Others merely went off and lay down in an effort to regain their composure. Then things began to happen.” Seemingly overnight, Rockdale’s population doubled to 5,000. A photo accompanying the Post story …