Rosamond reportedly started life as a settlement named "Sand Creek" (the Valley's water table was much higher then!) Initially, the settlement was off the beaten path, which in those days was a stage route running through Willow Springs a few miles west. When the Southern Pacific RR routed a new Los Angeles-to-San Francisco rail line by Sand Creek in the late 1870's, the settlement suddenly gained easy travel access. By 1885 it had grown enough so that a post office was established with David Bayles as postmaster, serving around 100 residents. Occasionally referred to in the early days as "Bayles Station" or "Baylesville", the emerging town was officially named Rosamond after the daughter of a Southern Pacific official.
In its earliest years, Rosamond primarily supported ranching activities in addition to the railroad's operations.
In the 1890's gold mining first became a major activity, with the Lida (now Tropico) Mine producing tons of high-grade ore. Just north of Rosamond, the Soledad Mountain area was also extensively mined, and mines such as Elephant-Eagle, Asher, Yellow Dog and Golden Queen provided employment to hundreds. This activity declined over the years but surged again during the late 1930's when Roosevelt took America off the gold standard and gold prices subsequently rose. Suspension of gold mining by the government during WWII was a blow that most operators never recovered from, but a limited amount of mining continues in the area to this day, such as the recent proposal for expanded recovery operations at the Golden Queen.
Around 1908, the massive Los Angeles Aqueduct project ramped up, bringing road improvement and an influx of workers and support operations to and through the area. Also during the early 20th century, farming, utilizing the then-abundant ground water, started to compete with ranching in the Valley.
World War II brought the military, with contract flight training operations being conducted by the Army at War Eagle Field and nearby auxiliary strips just south of Rosamond. Just north of town at Mojave the Navy built an airfield and carried out extensive training for Navy & Marine pilots. Most significant for the future of Rosamond, an existing remote training facility at nearby Muroc Dry Lake was upgraded in 1942 to become Muroc Army Air Base, a training and test facility. This post eventually evolved into Edwards Air Base, which continues today as the hub of America's flight test & development operations, and a major economic factor for Rosamond.
Post WW-II, various industrial operations were conducted in the Rosamond area, including a carbon processing plant and some recycling operations, before declining profits shut them down. With cheap ground water available, the late 40's and into the 70's were also boom years for farming, which gradually displaced much of the earlier ranching activity.
Another major transportation milestone came in 1968 when the Antelope Valley Freeway (California 14) was extended to Rosamond. Los Angeles was now "freeway close"....by California standards. Although nearby aerospace activities and an expanding local business base employ thousands, some residents do make the daily 70 to 80+ mile trek into the Los Angeles area.
As we plod through 2014, Rosamond's housing expansion matches the economy with new housing starts gradually appearing, providing a selection of new homes at attractive prices. The long view is that just the past 25 years Rosamond's area population has expanded by a power of 10, and there is no doubt that the inevitable continuation of Southern California's population growth will ensure Rosamond's expansion in the decades to come.
>For more from Rosamond's history, visit our "Bits of History" page<