Cantil was the name given to one of the stations along the Southern Pacific's Lone Pine or "Jawbone" Branch, built between 1908 and 1910 to connect the SP owned Nevada & California Railway with their main line at Mojave and to provide transportation for workers and supplies during construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. The name came from the Spanish word for "steep rock," probably due to its location near the mouth of Red Rock Canyon. From September 1908 until December 1910, Cantil was also the southern terminus of the nine-mile Red Rock Railroad, used to transport aqueduct equipment up the canyon.

Homesteaders first arrived to Cantil in 1911. Prior to the establishment of the post office, a bag of mail was left on a hook at the station for locals to sift through to find their mail. A post office opened in 1916 at the Cantil General Store, and a new school was completed in early 1917. Over the years, oil drilling occured and agricultural developments were attempted. In 1945, the store closed and never reopened, however the post office continued to operate. In 1948 Martin Engle of the Yellow Aster Mining Company moved his assay office from Randsburg to his property in Cantil, and the post office relocated there; Engle would serve as postmaster until 1972. Today few remain in Cantil, and the Red Rock School closed in 2008.

Jawbone Branch
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