|For more than three thousand years, the rolling hills and grasslands of southern Placer County were home to the Nisenan (Maidu) Indians. |
In 1850 the area that would become Roseville was settled by a few ranchers, some of whom were failed gold miners.
In 1864 the Central Pacific Railroad track was laid eastward from Sacramento, building the western half of the nation's first transcontinental railroad. They crossed a small rail line (the California Central Railroad) that linked the young towns of Lincoln and Folsom, and gave the spot the imaginative name of Junction.
Over the next forty years, Junction evolved into Roseville, a trading center for area farmers. It was greatly overshadowed by neighboring Rocklin, where the Southern Pacific Railroad maintained it's Roundhouse facilities.
In 1906 the Southern Pacific Railroad moved its facilities to Roseville where it remains (and is still the largest rail yard on the west coast). The city incorporated April 15, 1909. The new town built sewer lines and organized a fire department. During the three year period between 1911 and 1914, the citizens of Roseville erected more than 100 structures including the Carnegie Library which now houses the museum.
In 1913 the Pacific Fruit Express, the largest ice manufacturing plant in the world, was constructed in Roseville to chill fruits and vegetables being shipped from California to other parts of the country. In 1914 the Roseville Telephone Company was formed.
The rail yards of Roseville became busier than ever with the onset of World War II. The pattern of life changed in the fifties. The railroad found stiff competition from the airlines and the development of the national interstate highway system brought competition from interstate truckers. In the late fifties, Interstate 80 came through Roseville, Rocklin, Loomis and Auburn, linking South Placer County with the rest of Northern California. Folsom Dam was completed in 1955, creating a reservoir about eight miles east of Roseville that provided the city with a dependable domestic water supply as well as an excellent recreational amenity.
By 1964 the 100-year-old city was peaceful, self-contained and embodied the ideal of a small American town. The publishers of Look magazine recognized that fact when they named Roseville an "All American City" that year.
As the turn of the 21st century approached, Roseville grew into a city with a population of over 70,000 people. With the advent of the "seventies" and "eighties," numerous international corporations relocated here, bringing new technology, opportunities and people into the area.
While Roseville is no longer completely dependent on the railroad, its roots as a "Junction" are as evident today as they were in the last two centuries. The electronics industry is becoming major employers with both Hewlet Packard and NEC among the major employers of Roseville and South Placer County.
Courtesy of Carnegie Museum Roseville Historical Society