|| In the first decades of the twentieth century, affordable roadside accommodations began with campsites equipped with amenities. These eventually developed into cottage style courts in the 1920s. Nathan Monroe (N.M.) Bullock, a member of the State Mining Board, opened Rainbow Tourist Camp near his Rockdale home in 1918. By the 1920s, Bullock and his wife, Lenora, added cottages to the camp. A fire destroyed Bullock’s house in 1930, but he rebuilt it with an attached motel office and constructed additional cottages.
In 1936, when U.S. Highway 79 was built through town, business boomed and Bullock called in his brother, Ira Benjamin (I.B.), to assist in running the courts. After N.M. Bullock died in 1945, his brother purchased the tourist courts. He purchased additional space, added more rooms, and renovated much of the facilities. I.B. Bullock died in 1970 and in 1975 his wife, Algia Mae Bullock, sold Rainbow Courts Motel to their daughter and her husband.
Many of the cottages present are the original structures from the 1920s, although renovated. The cottages were originally constructed as wood frame with piers and beam foundations. The cottages were built to include carports within an inline power-sharing design. The mission revival style cottages’ parapets and flat roofs have been covered with gabled metal roofs.
The motel office was remodeled with an Austin stone veneer in the 1950s. The layout of the motel cottages is still a classic “u” shape. Iris plants, first planted by Lenora Bullock, still bloom on the property. Rainbow Courts had a significant impact on the evolution of travel and tourism in Rockdale and the State of Texas.