Bakersfield’s Sound

Woman’s Club of Bakersfield

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On a Monday afternoon, March 2, 1896, 18 local women were gathered in the parlors of the Southern Hotel, preparing to start what would become a local legend. Obviously, it wasn’t a typical event given the time period. Read the rest of this entry »

Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

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Many of us are familiar with what was the Southern Pacific Railroad depot at Sumner and Baker streets. This is the very building that local historian Chris Brewer told the Bakersfield Californian was possibly, at some point, the oldest standing structure in our midst. Read the rest of this entry »

Beale Clock Tower

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Anyone who has been by the Kern County Museum has undoubtedly seen the great, temporal monument erected out front. But what may not be as evident as its presence is the origin of this local structure and the resistance it received when initially being placed. The Beale Clock Tower, as we see it today, may only be mere bits and pieces of what it once was prior to the 1952 earthquakes, but the legend that was the original Tower, as well as its lesser-known history, looms over Bakersfield residents, to this day. Read the rest of this entry »

Union Avenue Plunge

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Modern-day Bakersfield has spray parks and the multi-acre McMurtry Aquatic Complex for cooling off and beating the summer heat. But according to local historian Gilbert Gia, back in the day, local citizens had a massive 100 by 300 foot pool called the Union Avenue Plunge. Read the rest of this entry »

99 Drive-in Theatre c.1949

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Where are those of us who can remember Bakersfield’s simpler times well: times when everything was “Mom and Pop.” One such person is resident William Lewis, who not only grew up during the heydays of the drive-in movie theater, but got a unique understanding of some of these outdoor attractions, as well.

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Motorcycle Hill Climb c.1923

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Overlooking a veritable sea of oil derricks, the hills of Bakersfield were once the holding place of some incredible endurance tests. At least, they were when it came to motorcycle racing—an activity that was engaged in a few times a year in decades past. Some of these famous “hill climbs,” however, were more extreme—and far more exciting—than others. Read the rest of this entry »

First National Bank of Bakersfield c.1920

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For well over a century, Kern County has been known as a black goldmine. In our earliest days of drilling, oil made more than just a few people rich—it made our entire community rich in a myriad of ways. Some of those ways have endured far beyond any monetary gain that may have been had during one of our county’s famous oil booms. Read the rest of this entry »

Bakersfield Inn c.1949

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While the United States was facing a Great Depression, two brothers set out to start something great; something of their own. Brothers Oscar and C.L. Tomerlin began building the Bakersfield Inn on the west side of Union Avenue. The aim was simple: to create a few dozen small cottages for motorists to stop and rest for a while at just $1.50 per room. In fact, the duo are credited with coining the term “motel,” as it was a “motorist’s hotel.” But what started as a small dream shared by the brothers soon blossomed into something that would become a legend, and not just locally. Read the rest of this entry »

Kern County Fair c.1929

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The Kern County Fair is known far and wide for representing the time of year where you can eat deep fried anything in abundance, watch a rodeo, purchase countless locally made wares, see livestock, and have your picture taken with a camel. While all of these things are common knowledge, and much-beloved by Kern County residents and beyond, the fair, itself, has a surprising past, and was even put on hold during the more difficult times in our county’s history to become something even greater than imagined. Read the rest of this entry »

Kern River Wier c.1890

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During the late 1800’s in our lovely county, the Kern River was the place to be when the summers became too hot to bear. Not only was it a cool spot for swimming (clothing optional), but it was a mecca for fishing—a tradition that is still upheld today. However, the river wasn’t always stocked with enough fish to draw countless fisherman to its banks.

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