While not everyone is ready for a real-life getaway, the Kern County Historical Society has a virtual one set for Saturday.
Lori Wear, social/digital media manager and state park interpreter II for the Great Basin District, will lead a tour of Fort Tejon State Historic Park via Zoom.
Fort Tejon Historic Park is home to some of the oldest buildings in Kern County including restored adobes from the original fort. The park has a number of 400-year-old valley oak trees and its museum features exhibits on army life and local history.
The U.S. Army set up in 1854, and the fort served as a military post and social center of the region for the next seven years, according to William G. Hample in his book "Historical Site Markers of Kern County."
The post featured barracks, a hospital-commissary, officers’ quarters and an adjutant’s office as well as stables, a blacksmith shop and granary. Many of the buildings were of adobe with shake roofs.
Additionally a Butterfield Overland Mail station was built opposite the fort's main gate since, as a commercial entity, it could not be located on government property.
A regiment of dragoons — soldiers “always ready in every emergency” whether on foot or horseback — were stationed at the fort to uphold its mission, which included keeping the peace between settlers and Indians, a concern after the founding of the nearby Sebastian Indian Reservation.
The dragoons would patrol, assist in the pursuit of cattle rustlers, robbers and other outlaws and serve as protective escorts for Army and civilian wagon parties as needed.
Camels were brought to the fort in 1857 as part of an army experiment. Despite being a more suitable beast of burden in the arid Southwest than the mules and horses, the dromedaries proved unpopular with the Army handlers and were eventually sold.
Located about four miles from the intersection of the Garlock and San Andreas earthquake faults, the fort was no stranger to temblors, and one in 1857 was severe enough to damage several of the buildings, leading to extensive repairs.
Fort Tejon remained a military post until 1861 when, at the outbreak of the Civil War, it was decommissioned.
Those interested in watching the tour can access it via Zoom (meeting ID: 990 3163 4353; passcode: parks) before 1 p.m. Saturday. While last month's tour of the Tule Elk State Natural Reserve had some technical difficulties, Wear said the issue with the internet connection has been resolved and should pose no issue with future events.
This tour is the latest in a monthly series of programs offered by the historical society. The events are open to the public and one does not need to be a KCHS member to take part.
Next up is a tour of Red Rock Canyon State Park, focused on “Fossils, Mining, and the Rudolf Hagen Years," that will take place Nov. 21.