From a community that housed workers at McClellan Air Force Base for more than half a century to a quiet suburb today, Antelope has served as a strategically located residential area in Sacramento County.

It’s bordered on the north by the Sacramento-Placer county line, on the east by the Citrus Heights city limits, on the south by Antelope Road and U Street and on the west by 26th Street.

That prime location makes it convenient to get to Sacramento International Airport, employment in nearby Roseville and downtown Sacramento and recreation spots along the American River. Freeway access is at Greenback Lane, Antelope and Elverta roads.Antelope, like other nearby communities, was originally rooted in the railroad. By 1880, Antelope was a small settlement in Center Township with about 400 residents, many of whom worked for the Central Pacific Railroad.

Antelope remained a dot on the map until the area took off as a community for military and civilian employees of McClellan Air Force Base, which served as a logistics depot for more than 60 years. At one point, the base was one of the area’s largest employers, with as many as 26,000 workers.Its closure in 2001 didn’t ground the location as an employment center, however. The base has been transformed into McClellan Business Park, with approximately 230 major employers as tenants. Many employees live close by in Antelope.

In addition to the business park are commercial centers at Walerga and Elverta roads, Watt Avenue and Elverta, and Watt and Antelope, said Keith Weber, president of the Antelope-Highlands Chamber of Commerce. As a child, Weber said, he lived on Larchmont Drive in Antelope, which he characterized as “the end of civilization in the 1950s.” “There were only fields and farms,” he said. “I’ve lived here since 1954 when my dad was discharged from the Navy and moved here for a civilian job as an aeronautical engineer.”

Over the years, Weber has seen the area grow into a full-fledged bedroom community. Weber likes the area because of the weather, the recreation and the close-knit community. “Antelope has a good cross section of ethnic and economic families that represent Sacramento County,” he said.Affordability and schools are the two primary reasons people are attracted to Antelope, said George Brown, owner of Thompson and Brown Real Estate.“A lot of young families take advantage of the schools and the affordability is as good as you can find anywhere in the region,” Brown said.Home prices range from $130,000 to $350,000, and it’s possible for a young family to find a four-bedroom home for approximately $170,000, with payments at or below rental costs. Many Antelope homes were built between 1985 and 1991 or between 1998 and 2005, Weber said. Key home builders included Lennar, Richmond American, John Mourier, US Homes and Beazer.

Antelope students attend schools in Dry Creek Joint Elementary and Roseville Joint Union High school districts on the eastern side of the Antelope community and Center Unified School District on the western side. Oak Hill Elementary School in Center District received the 2010 Distinguished Schools award. Antelope High School, which opened to eighth- and ninth-graders in 2008, is noted for its athletics achievements. Weber considers this remarkable, considering the newness of the school.“Antelope has always been a community for young families,” he said. Adults and children can enjoy 43-acre Antelope Community Park and eight other small parks, an aquatic center and Gibson Ranch in nearby Elverta. Sunrise Recreation and Park District sponsors sports activities, including soccer, adult volleyball, pee wee basketball and flag football.

Special events in Antelope include an ice cream social, planned for Sept. 17, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Antelope Library. Among upcoming events are a Antelope Lions Club golf tournament Sept. 23 and the 21st annual Christmas Hayride on Dec. 10. A Community Sale Day is held each August.The Antelope Community Forum, with Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, is held on the second Thursday of each month from January through October.Antelope residents are involved in the schools and organizations such as Scouting, said Liz Goldthorpe, editor of the monthly Antelope News for 22 years.Goldthorpe knows exactly what she likes most about the community.

“The people — they’re just great,” she said. “Everybody cares, wherever you go — schools, shopping. People are great.”