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The east-west highway through the town was designated as U. Highway 66 in 1926, and the increase in traffic made the community a popular rest stop with motels and cafes.

Santa Rosa's stretch of Route 66 is part of film history.

It was also one of the shooting scenes for Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw starring Lynda Carter in the titular role.

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When John Steinbeck's epic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, was made into a movie, director John Ford used Santa Rosa for the memorable train scene.

Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) watches a freight train steam over the Pecos River railroad bridge, into the sunset.

The city is located west of, but not within, the Llano Estacado or "staked plains" of eastern New Mexico and west Texas.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Santa Rosa was not the largest settlement within the region.

Males had a median income of $20,161 versus $16,417 for females. About 18.9% of families and 23.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.5% of those under age 18 and 23.9% of those age 65 or over.

Santa Rosa High School's football team won back-to-back-to-back state championships in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 AA state championships.Puerto de Luna, about ten miles south, held the county seat for Guadalupe County.Santa Rosa was smaller than Puerto de Luna until 1901 when the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad was built into Santa Rosa from the east, quickly followed by arrival of the El Paso and Northeastern Railway in February 1902, from the southwest, thereby creating a transcontinental connection.The racial makeup of the city was 57.47% White, 2.19% African American, 1.75% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 33.13% from other races, and 4.56% from two or more races.Hispanic or Latino of any race were 81.16% of the population. The name was changed in 1890 to Santa Rosa (Spanish for "Saint Rose"), referring to a chapel that Don Celso Baca (the founder of the city) built and named after both his mother Rosa and Saint Rose of Lima.

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