For more than a thousand years, the rolling hills and grasslands of South Placer County were home to the Maidu Indians. then, in 1849, came the discovery of gold with its influx of prospectors, and the landscape would change forever.
In 1864, a track-laying crew from the Central Pacific Railroad came eastward across the plain from Sacramento, building the western half of the nation's first transcontinental railroad. They crossed a small rail line that linked the young towns of Lincoln and Folsom, and gave the spot the imaginative name of Junction.
For the next forty years, Junction evolved into Roseville, a small trading center for area farmers. It was greatly overshadowed in those days by Rocklin, where the Southern Pacific Railroad maintained it's Roundhouse facilities.
Then, in 1906, feeling the need to expand, the Southern Pacific Railroad moved its facilities to Roseville. The city incorporated in 1909, built sewer lines and organized its fire department. During. During the three year period between 1911 and 1914, the citizens of Roseville erected more than 100 structures.
In 1913, 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, and is today one of the largest independently owned telephone companies in the country.
By 1929, the railroad employed up to 1,225 people in it's Roseville yard assembling trains, repairing engines, and handling freight. Then came the Great Depression. It hit Placer County as hard as the rest of the country, but more than 2,000 of Roseville's unemployed found jobs in the Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A), paving streets, pouring sidewalks, and building storm sewers. Many sidewalks in older sections of Roseville still have W.P.A. embossed in the concrete.
The rail yards of Roseville became busier than ever with the onset of World War II, and the subsequent post-war building boom brought continued prosperity, including upgrades to the city owned electric system and construction of a new city hospital. The years 1948 through 1950 saw the construction of a new city hospital. the years 1948 through 1950 saw the construction of the Washington Street underpass to carry traffic under Vernon Street and the Southern Pacific railroad tracks.
The pattern of life changed as the fifties wore on and the railroad found stiff competition from the airlines and 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 century approached, Roseville had grown into a progressive 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 the major employers with both Hewlet Packard and NEC becoming the major employers of Roseville and South Placer County.
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