1866: Kern County’s first newspaper, the Weekly Courier, makes its debut on Aug. 18, 1866, in Havilah, a small mining town about 50 miles northeast of Bakersfield.
1 For the first time, The Californian has published online "The story of us," a collection of history pieces, old photos, columns and an exhaustive timeline chronicling 150 years of Kern County history. It had been included with the printed paper on Aug. 6, 2016, but not made available to on…
As Kern County celebrates its 150th anniversary, we honor a colorful past full of dreamers, doers, movers and shakers. I'd like to tell you about a few of the people who helped make Kern County what it is today.
If you watched the creation of Kern County in 1866, you were likely a Kern River Valley miner, probably one of 3,000 living in the town of Havilah.
About 15 million years ago: Ancient sea covers the Central Valley.
They've become such basic points on our collective map that it's odd to think the names of the cities, towns and places in Kern County actually mean something. A history of Kern's place names:
"The report from the Kern River Mines continues to be very flattering, and numbers are leaving daily for the diggings. There appears to be no doubt of the truth of the reports."
The oil industry has made Bakersfield a world city, and it has spurred innovation and speculation like nothing else.
In 1931, here in the San Joaquin Valley, the term "agribusiness" first appeared in the American lexicon. Farming in Kern County has usually been a family affair, but these families (often Eastern and Southern European immigrants), frequently created highly successful farming operations that …
The Kern River once tumbled out of its canyon, all the way to the valley floor, feeding a network of river channels, sloughs and lakes fringed by thick tule reeds and riparian woodlands. It made "much noise," Father Garces wrote in 1776, and flowed with "crystalline, bountiful and palatable"…
One of the signature books (and films) of the 1980s was "The Right Stuff," Tom Wolfe's outstanding look at the early years of Edwards Air Force Base and the fabled test pilot program. In the years before and after World War II, Muroc Army Air Field (later Edwards) would be home to most of th…
When the United States entered World War I, Kern County's 50,000 residents were in a unique position to contribute with their gold and silver mines, oil fields and a growing agriculture industry.
Lt. William G. Sylvester of Kern County was one of America's first casualties of World War II, at Pearl Harbor.
Kern County's first sheriff's deputies didn't have it easy. Back then, the Winchester lever-action rifle was advanced weaponry, understanding of DNA was generations in the future and horsepower didn't go beyond one. Outlaw gangs, Indians and the elements (the invention of the first modern ai…
Kern County boasts nearly 40 high schools, one university, three community colleges — almost all with full sports programs — plus two minor league teams, a handful of race tracks, numerous golf courses and bowling centers and various other sports facilities.
It's a sure bet that the 36,000 residents of Bakersfield, the 9,000 in Arvin/ Lamont, and the 2,000 in Tehachapi never heard of the White Wolf Fault. But at 4:52 a.m. on July 21, it introduced itself by moving the earth for a near-minute.
Roads and highways have been an important part of Kern County from its earliest history.
You can explore Kern County's history for yourself by visiting nearly 50 sites designated California historical landmarks by the state Office of Historic Preservation.
Who better to talk about The Californian through the years than the people who have worked here? So we asked them to tell us their best stories.
All year long, The Californian has been celebrating the 150th anniversary of Kern County’s incorporation with historical accounts of its founding and development, old photos and reader stories of how their families came here.
Competing in the Olympics is literally a once — OK, maybe twice, and we’re not counting Michael Phelps here — in-a-lifetime event. The early part of an Olympian’s life is spent training and dreaming, and the latter part is for looking back at their few days of competition.
They’re swimmers and wrestlers, runners and kayakers.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Kern County’s creation, The Californian has been serializing history pieces. This piece, published by the paper for the county’s centennial in 1966, chronicles how the railroad arrived and forever changed life here.
To celebrate Kern County’s 150th birthday, The Californian has been serializing history pieces. Today we republish a 1966 Californian profile of Col. Thomas Baker, founder of Bakersfield.
Former lawman Harry W. Bludworth may have died 103 years ago but you don’t have to look far to see his spirit, said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
All year, The Californian has been serializing historical accounts of Kern County’s founding and development to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of its official creation by the California Legislature. We asked readers to help tell the story by recounting how their families ended up here.
The narrow strip of asphalt winds up the face of the ridge that juts above Bodfish, taking the traveler out of a world of fast food joints, hardware stores and freeway traffic.
This history of Havilah’s founding was published by The Californian in 1966, when the county turned 100.
Seldom has the west seen as successful an entrepreneur as Asbury Harpending, whose development of Havilah high in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada led to the formation of the county.
It took a court order to undo some political mischief and make Bakersfield the county seat of Kern County in 1874.
It was during the Mexican period that the first Americans began visiting this area. In 1827, Jedediah Strong Smith, referred to as “Mountain Man” Smith, entered the San Joaquin Valley. The New York native was a trapper and explorer.
To celebrate the 150th birthday of Kern County — officially established April 21, 1866 — The Californian is digging into its archives and other research and serializing pieces recounting local history.
Christian Bohna, first to build a permanent house in the area now known as Bakersfield, was born Jan. 20, 1805, in Germany. At 14 he began a four-year apprenticeship as a blacksmith and at 18 joined the army, where he spent three years. He was married soon after his discharge and brought her…
The Californian has been publishing history pieces about Kern County to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of its official creation by the California Legislature. We asked readers to help us tell Kern’s story by recounting how their families came here.