Like most California communities, Castaic is growing and growing fast. However, Castaic is one of those rare cities that believes in "managed growth" while maintaining it's natural beauty for residents.
Most California communities can trace their roots to Indian villages and sprawling Spanish Ranchos, and Castaic is no exception. Jerry Reynolds, a late Santa Clarita historian, once wrote that the name "Castaic" had been spelled various ways through the years but the area was originally called "Kashtuk", an Indian word meaning "eyes". Native Americans, specifically the Tataviam, along with Spanish explorers lived, worked and enjoyed the lush green rolling hills and streams in and around Castaic, hundreds of years before the area became the community that it is today. Most local historians, however, consider the official birth of Castaic to be around July of 1915 when the California Highway Commission completed a trail over the tops of the mountains from Castaic to Gorman, called the the old Ridge Route.
At the time, and costing a mere $500,000, the Ridge Route was considered an "engineering masterpiece", according to Reynolds. It reduced the old road between Los Angeles and Bakersfield by 60 miles. The Ridge Route was described as two lanes of asphalt with 642 curves that, when added together, made 97 complete circles between Castaic and Gorman. The curve intensive route was later replaced by Highway 99 in October of 1933.
A railroad spur line was built from Saugus to Ventura in September of 1887. Along with a cattle loading chute to transport locally raised steers, the Southern Pacific Railroad also established a depot at Castaic Junction for local rail travelers. Historic photos have proven it was literally the size of a telephone booth.
Castaic opened it's first Post Office on September 15, 1894 at the Junction, but went out of business within 11 months due to lack of interest. Sam Parsons, who purchased an acre of land in 1914 to open up the well remembered Sam's Place, re-established the Post Office in April, 1917.
As the community grew, there came a demand from families with children to establish a local school district in 1889. Castaic School was opened on March 25th of that year. The original school building continued to be used until its demolition in 1996. Four schools currently operate in the district and other school sites are planned to keep pace with resident's needs.
Parker Ranch brought suburban growth to Castaic in 1923 when land was subdivided into five and ten acre parcels. The humble Castaic industrial age began with Castaic Brick in 1927, and George Dunn's Wayside Dairy in 1929. The dairy was leased to the County of Los Angeles in 1937 to be used as a work farm. From these small beginnings a huge commerce center is now in final stages of development. The complex is expected to generate over 20,000 jobs at build out.
As we enter the new millennium one thing is certain. Castaic is attracting many new families and businesses to it's boundaries with it's convenient southern California location, mild weather, and diverse outdoor recreational opportunities. Visit us soon and see us with your own "kashtuk".