Wikiup Ranch History

In 1834, Governor Figueroa of Mexico visited Sonoma County on a mission to establish a presidio.  He selected a site on what became Mark West Creek.  This colony was to be occupied by a group of Mexicans called the Cosmopolitan Company. The leaders of the Cosmopolitan Company arrived in Sonoma County, disagreed with the head of the government here, and promptly left Sonoma County never to establish the presidio. 


In 1840 Mark West acquired the Rancho San Miguel land grant which included 6,663 acres between the Mark West and Santa Rosa Creeks. It supposedly was the "Richest Body of Land of the same number of acres in the state. There was not an acre of it that would not produce from seventy-five to one hundred bushels of wheat." On the Rancho San Miguel, Mark West built a great adobe hacienda and established a trading post and post office near the beautiful stream which now bears his name. 


In 1851, there were five schools in the County: Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Analy, Bodega, and last but not least, one at San Miguel Ranch (Mark West). Mark West was the only school that taught in Spanish, the rest were taught in English.  The original one room Mark West School was built in the same location as it sits today. The area was also the hub of the town and included a general store, post office, blacksmith shop, and the adobe home on the banks of the Mark West Creek.


Located within the Mark West area, Wikiup Rancho which was established in 1920 by John Rosseter, owner of Pacific Mail Steamship Company in San Francisco and president of Sperry Flour Co.  A leisure-time resident of Santa Rosa and an avid sportsman, Rosseter raised the sophistication level of the county several notches. On a hillside 200 yards from the Mark West Creek, he built his 800-acre summer rancho home and called it "Wikiup" to go with the tradition of the land. At his rancho he kept his racing greyhounds (he owned the fastest greyhound in the world, named Freedom), his prize Berkshire hogs, several ranch-sired Grand Champion Black Angus Cattle and, most important to the area; thoroughbred racehorses. From the magnificent Rossiter Barn (considered, in its day, the finest facility of its type west of the Mississippi), came two Kentucky Derby winners confirming Mr. Rosseter’s reputation was a well-known horse breeder.  Horse buyers came to his ranch to purchase horses for the US Calvary.   The 31-stall horse barn was complete with a cork and asphalt brick floor and silver platted brass fillings on the doors.  In 1926, the Rosseters hosted a birthday party at the ranch for their prized stallion, Disguise;  including  a birthday cake made from grain and mash, with carrots for "candles".


In 1941, the 74th Field Artillery, still using horse-drawn caissons, took over the Rosseters’ Wikiup Ranch.  The barn was used as barracks for the horses and portions of the ranch, including the area of the future golf course, were used for training purposes.  Later that year, the Ranch was requisitioned by the Army and occupied by the 48th Field Artillery including 20 officers and 566 enlisted soldiers.  The Ranch became known as Camp Wikiup.  


In 1961, the Wikiup, as it was known, was purchased by Captain Stan Anderson and Cecil Kettle and was developed over the next 30 years.
The Wikiup Golf Course, designed by Clark Glasson, opened in 1963

 

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