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Bakersfield is a city at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valleymarker in Kern Countymarker, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker. It is located roughly equidistant between Fresnomarker and Los Angelesmarker, to the north and south respectively. Bakersfield is the 11th fastest growing city in California.

As of 2009, the population was estimated at 333,719 within the city limits, making it the 11th largest city in California and the 57th largest city in the United States according to U.S. Census estimates. The Bakersfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a population of 800,458 making it the 64th largest metropolitan area in the country . It is California's third largest inland city, after Fresnomarker and Sacramentomarker. The city's economy relies on agriculture, petroleum extraction and refining, and manufacturing.


Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of small hunter-gatherer bands in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley dating to at least eight thousand years ago. The Yokuts Indians lived in Lodges along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, grizzly bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, the Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts were spared intensive contact until the 1820s when Mexican settlers began to settle the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley and carried out a campaign to drive the Yokuts off their land . In his December 20, 1849 Inaugural Address, the first governor of California Peter Hardeman Burnett remarked "That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected" . Between the years of 1851-1854, the total amountof claims submitted to State of California Comptroller for Expeditions against the Indians (by militias) was $1,293,179.20. As a consequence of 18 unratified (and highly controversial) treaties between California Indians and the United States government, the Yokuts were removed from their lands and a reservation system was eventually established for them. A few surviving groups can be found in area rancherias and reservations.

In 1851, gold was discovered along the Kern River in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in 1865, oil was discovered in the valley. The Bakersfield area, once a tule-reed-covered marshland, was first known as Kern Island to the handful of pioneers who built log cabins there in 1860. The area was subject to flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.


At its founding ceremony in 1869, the town was named Bakersfield in honor of Colonel Thomas Baker. The California Gold Rush brought him to California, he moved to the banks of the Kern River in 1863. (In 1862 disastrous floods had swept away the settlement founded there in 1860 by the German-bornmarker Christian Bohna.) The place's name changed from Kern Island to Baker's Field.

By 1870, with a population of 600, Bakersfield was becoming the principal town in Kern County. In 1873 it was officially incorporated as a city, by 1874 it officially replaced the dying town of Havilahmarker as the county seat. By 1880, the town had a population of 801, and by 1890, it had a population of 2,626. Migration from Texasmarker, Louisianamarker, Oklahomamarker, and Southern California brought new residents, who were mostly employed by the oil industry. By 1980, Bakersfield's population was about 105,000. During the next 20 years, Bakersfield's population exploded and surpassed 250,000 by 2000. Bakersfield is now one of the major cities of California.

1952 earthquake

On July 21, 1952 an earthquake struck at 4:52 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The earthquake, which was felt from San Francisco to the Mexican border, destroyed the nearby communities of Tehachapimarker and Arvinmarker. The earthquake's destructive force also bent cotton fields into U shapes, slid a shoulder of the Tehachapi Mountains across all four lanes of the Ridge Route, collapsed a water tower creating a flash flood, and destroyed the railroad tunnels in the mountain chain. Bakersfield was spared, experiencing minor architectural damage without loss of life. The earthquake measured 7.3 on the Richter Scale.

A large aftershock occurred on July 29, and did minor architectural damage, but raised fears that the flow of the Friant-Kern Canalmarker could be dangerously altered, potentially flooding the city and surrounding areas.

Aftershocks, for the next month, had become normal to Bakersfield residents, until August 22 at 3:42 p.m. a 5.8 earthquake struck directly under the town's center in the most densely populated area of the Southern San Joaquin Valleymarker. The town did have some good fortune, however, as the quake struck late on a Friday afternoon when businesses were already closed down or beginning to close down. Four people died in the aftershock, and many of the town's historic structures were permanently lost.


Truxtun Tower, also referred to as the Bank of America Building, is the tallest in downtown and the second tallest building in Bakersfield.
Bakersfield lies near the southern "horseshoe" end of the San Joaquin Valleymarker, with the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada just to the east. The city limits extend to the Sequoia National Forestmarker, at the foot of the Greenhorn Mountain Range and at the entrance to the Kern Canyon. To the south, the Tehachapi Mountains feature the historic Tejon Ranch. To the west is the Temblor Rangemarker, which features the Carrizo Plain National Monumentmarker and the San Andreas Faultmarker, approximately across the valley floor.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which is land (98.86%) and is water (1.14%).

Bakersfield lies approximately north of Los Angelesmarker (about a 1½-hour drive on I-5 and State Route 99) and about southeast of the state capital, Sacramentomarker (about a 4½-hour drive on State Route 99).

Communities and neighborhoods


The Hotel Padre building, now being renovated into residences, has been a longtime landmark in downtown Bakersfield.

Downtown Bakersfield is bounded by 24th Street to the North, F Street to the West, California Avenue to the South, and Union Avenue to the East. The two main streets of downtown Bakersfield are Truxtun Avenue and Chester Avenue. Unlike most downtown areas in major cities, downtown Bakersfield does not have a towering skyline, although it has a few tall buildings such as the Bank of America Building (10 stories), the Bakersfield Marriott Hotel (9 stories), and the Padre Hotel (9 stories). .

Notable attractions in downtown Bakersfield include the Rabobank Arenamarker, the McMurtrey Aquatic Center, the Hotel Padre building, the Bakersfield Museum of Art, the Fox Theater, and a nightlife district centered around 19th Street and Wall Street Alley. .

Buck Owens Boulevard

The "Bakersfield Sign".

Formerly named Pierce Rd, it was renamed Buck Owens Boulevard in 1998 after country music legend Buck Owens. This area is located next to Highway 99, between Rosedale Highway/24th Street in Bakersfield, and Airport Drive in Oildalemarker. It is the heart of the Bakersfield's Country Music scene. The main attractions are the Bakersfield sign (formerly located at intersection of California and Union Ave.) and the Buck Owens Crystal Palace night club, museum, and restaurant. It is also located near Bakersfield Beach Park.


Garces Circle.
The Westchester district is just north of Downtown Bakersfield. It is bounded by Highway 99 to the West, 24th street to the south, Chester Ave. to the east, and the Kern River, across from Oildalemarker, to the north. Westchester is a mostly residential neighborhood. The neighborhood is known for large shady trees and historic homes built between the 1900s and 1950s. Main points of interest include the Kern County Museum, Sam Lynn Ballparkmarker, and the Garces Circle.


The Stockdale district is bounded roughly by Ming Avenue to the south, California Avenue to the East, the Kern River to the north, and Coffee/Gosford Road to the West. Stockdale is a mix of middle-to-upper class residential, retail and offices and is home to Stockdale Country Club. Neighborhoods here include Amberton, Westwood, Stockdale Estates, Old Stockdale (which some realtors have renamed "Olde Stockdale"), Los Portales, Quailwood, and Park Stockdale. This area has four major commercial streets – California Avenue/New Stine Rd, Truxtun Avenue, Ming Ave., and Stockdale Highway. Notable points of interest include Truxtun Lake, the Kern River Parkway, and the Stockdale Tower. California Avenue is home to many office buildings, a mini financial district and regional offices for many oil companies. The Stockdale Tower, standing at 12 stories and tall, was built in the early 1980s and is the tallest building in Kern County. The Valley Plaza Mall, Bakersfield's largest mall, is located to the east of this area.This is Lauren's favorite part of Bakerrsfield

Southwest Bakersfield

Southwest Bakersfield is the most populated section of town and one of the fastest growing in terms of Real Estate as well. The boom of this part of town began in the 90’s around the same time as the growth in the northwest and northeast. California State University, Bakersfieldmarker is located in the southwest as well as The Marketplace. Some of the high schools that exist in just the southwest are Stockdale High,Ridgeview High and Frontier High school. Other prestigious housing communities consist of Haggin Oaks, Campus Park, Silvercreek, Laurelglen, Seven Oaks, Southern Oaks, The Oaks, Stone Creek, Cobblestone and the gated areas of Grand Island.

Kern City

Kern City is located within Southwest Bakersfield across from West High School. The development was built in the 1960s by Del Webb at the same time he was building Sun City and is an enclave of mostly senior citizen residents.

Northwest Bakersfield

Northwest Bakersfield is located between the Bakersfield suburbs of Rosedalemarker, Fruitvale, and Oildalemarker. It has seen rapid growth over the last 15 years. It is home to the formerly rural Green Acres and recently built neighborhoods such as Riverlakes Ranch, Madison Grove and Brimhall. Northwest Bakersfield has one major shopping center, the Northwest Promenade. This area is known for traffic congestion with few east-west and north-south arterials connecting to the rest of the Bakersfield Metropolitan Area. 7th Standard Road (now known as Merle Haggard Drive) and Olive Drive connect northwest Bakersfield to Oildale, while only Rosedale Highway connects Rosedale to downtown Bakersfield in the east-west direction. Only two roads (Coffee Rd. and Calloway Drive) connect Northwest Bakersfield to Southwest Bakersfield in a north-south direction.

Old Town Kern

The old Southern Pacific Railroad depot currently lies abandoned in Old Town Kern; it was abandoned in the 1970s.
Old Town Kern is located primarily around Baker Street, near the former town of Sumner. This was the location of the original train station in Bakersfield and competed to be the commercial downtown, eventually losing to the present location west of Old Town. It has a large homeless population. This district is home to many Basque cuisine restaurants.

East Bakersfield

East Bakersfield is generally bounded by Bernard Street to the North, Union Avenue to the West, Brundage Lane to the South, and Weedpatch Highway to the East. The two main streets of East Bakersfield are Mount Vernon Avenue and Niles Street. Most of East Bakersfield is not in Bakersfield city limits (unlike Rio Bravo, Northeast Bakersfield, and Oildale), being part of "Greater Bakersfield." East Bakersfield is one of the two first major sections of the city to develop, along with downtown. Notable attractions include the Kern County Museum which was founded in 1941 and serves more than 94,000 people each year. The museum offers displays on areas such as Native American Life and Frontier Life.

Northeast Bakersfield

Northeast Bakersfield is bounded by University Avenue to the south, Union Avenue to the west, the Panorama bluffs to the north, and Fairfax to the east. Northeast Bakersfield has both large Latino and Caucasian populations. Sections of Northeast Bakersfield, particularly The Bakersfield Country Club and homes lining the Panorama Bluffs, along with Westchester and Rio Bravo, include some of the more affluent neighborhoods in Bakersfield; though the area is predominantly middle and upper class. It has the East Hills Mall, the city's second indoor shopping mall. Bakersfield's community college, Bakersfield Collegemarker, is also located in Northeast Bakersfield. Unlike most of Bakersfield which sits on the flat valley floor, Northeast Bakersfield is situated along rolling hills that are about higher in elevation than the rest of the city. The Panorama Bluffs provide views of the Kern River oilfields, Oildale and downtown Bakersfield.

Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo
The Rio Bravo area is located east of northeast Bakersfield, in the foothills. It is largely rural and unpopulated, but saw rapid growth during the mid-2000s economic boom. Like most of the city, it greatly suffered during the Late-2000s recession. Among new developments, the City in the Hills project, a 700-acre planned community that promised a manmade lake and parks, had its master developer default on four large loans, causing a near total halt in construction as property values dropped in half and foreclosures began to set in.

Points of interest include Hart Memorial Park (named after former Kern County Supervisor John O. Hart), Lake Ming, the Rio Bravo Country Club, the California Living Museum (CALM Zoo), and the Kern County Soccer Park. Rio Bravo was also the former home of Mesa Marin Racewaymarker and Rio Bravo Resorts, before their demolitions for residential developments during the height of the housing boom; due to the bust, neither land has since been redeveloped.


The old main U.S.
Post Office, downtown Bakersfield; the main branch is now located near the airport.
Bakersfield's climate is a semi-arid dry steppe climate (Koppen climate classification BSh), defined by long, hot, dry summers and brief, cool, sometimes rainy winters. In fact, Bakersfield is one of the sunniest cities in the U.S. (just behind Yuma, Arizonamarker and Palm Springs, Californiamarker). Bakersfield enjoys long-lasting, mild autumns and early springs, giving the region a unique climate suitable for growing a wide variety of crops (ranging from citrus to carrots to almonds and pistachios). With an average rainfall of only 6.49 inches (165 mm) per year, most precipitation falls during winter and spring. Typically, no rain falls from May through September. Summers tend to be very hot in Bakersfield with daily temperatures usually exceeding from mid June to as late as mid September, and occasionally exceeding . Winters often have mild daytime temperatures reaching into the low 60s°F (15 °C). Mornings and nights however, tend to be cold (especially in December and January), where lows can reach as low as , often coming with dense Tule Fog and low visibility, causing many schools to have fog delays as long as three hours.

The record maximum temperature was on July 1, 1950, and the record minimum temperature was on December 23, 1998. The most rainfall in one month was in February 1998. The maximum 24-hour rainfall was on February 9, 1978. Although snow often falls in the Tehachapi mountains south of Bakersfield during the winter, snow is rare on the valley floor; however, fell on January 25, 1999.

The American Lung Association ranked Bakersfield as the most ozone-polluted city in the nation in 2006. It was also ranked as the second-most polluted city in terms of both short-term and year-round particle pollution. In Peter Greenberg's book Don't Go There!, Bakersfield is mentioned for its high ozone levels, and postulates that its rapid increase in size is causing the increasing rate of pollution from new construction.

Bakersfield was recently rated the #1 most unhealthy city for women in the United States by Women's Health Magazine in Dec. 2008, and #96 of 100 for men, citing very poor air quality, and "other social factors", presumably alluding to high rates of substance abuse, obesity, unemployment and exposure to industrial chemicals in the workplace.


According to the 2000 census, there were 247,057 people, 83,441 households, and 60,995 families residing in Bakersfield. The population density was 2,184.4 people per square mile (843.4/km²). There were 88,262 housing units at an average density of 780.4/sq mi (301.3/km²).

The racial makeup of the city was 61.87% White, 9.16% Black or African American, 1.40% Native American, 4.33% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 18.68% from other races, and 4.43% from two or more races. 32.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 83,441 households out of which 42.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 15.5% were female householders with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. 21.5% of households consisted of a single individual; 7.2% were additionally age 65 or older. 42.5% of households claimed children under age 18. The average household size was 2.92, and the average family size was 3.41.

By age, the population was spread out with 32.7% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were age 65 or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median income for a household was $39,982, and the median income for a family was $45,556. The median income for males was $38,834, compared to $27,148 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,678. About 14.6% of families and 18.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Housing and development

Bakersfield has been known for being a fast growing city and has seen its population more than triple over nearly 30 years from approximately 105,000 in 1980 to 333,000 in 2009. Although the city is still growing, the city's growth has slowed down in recent years due to the economic recession and high home foreclosure rates.

Bakersfield city limits continue to expand due to a "hopscotch" pattern of housing development. Westward annexation, which could eventually subsume the area between the base of the Sierra Nevada range and the Temblor Range, has led some planners to consider incorporating a new city to govern the area of rapid growth to the west of the city.

The city of Shaftermarker, a small farming town north of Bakersfield, has filed a suit to limit the northern expansion of Bakersfield's limits. Shafter has also annexed large pieces of farmland to its east and south to ensure that Bakersfield does not envelop its southern area.

The large bluff and plateau which lie east of Bakersfield—toward the Rio Bravo and Kern Canyon area—have been under development for the last sixty years. Because the steep, north-facing edge of the bluff provides a view of the foothills, mountains, oil fields, and Kern River, the city government has attempted to balance development and preservation in this area. In addition, city leaders recognize the possibility that extensive development may lead to erosion and landslides. It's estimated by local officials that Bakersfield and its outlying suburbs will reach populations over one million people by 2020.

Arts and culture

Many of Bakersfield's oldest and most historic restaurants are Basque, including Woolgrowers, Maitia's, Noriega's, Pyrenees, Benji's, and Narducci's.

The Kern County Museum, located on Chester Avenue just north of downtown Bakersfield, boasts an extensive collection of regional artifacts. Permanent exhibits include: "Black Gold: The Oil Experience", a hands-on modern approach at showing how oil is extracted; and "The Lori Brock Children's Discovery Museum", a hands-on children's museum and a display on the influential "Bakersfield Sound" style of country music.


Bakersfield hosts horse shows all year round ranging from local, 4h, and breed shows.

Every Spring, Bakersfield hosts one of California's Scottish Games and Clan Gathering. In the late summer, the local St. George's Greek Orthodox Church hosts an annual Greek Festival.

Every year during the summer, Bakersfield hosts the Lowrider National in the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Memorial Day weekend is host to the Kern County Basque Festival, sponsored by the Kern County Basque Club. This 3 day festival features food, music, dance, and handball games.

In March, Auto Club Famoso Raceway holds the annual March Meet nostalgia drag racing event. The event dates back to the U.S. Fuel and Gas Finals held in March 1959.

Twice a year, the CSUB Indigenous Native American Club hosts a Native Gathering on the California State University Bakersfield campus at Runner Park.

In the fall, Bakersfield hosts the annual Kern County Fair, which showcases much of the area's agriculture as well as putting on entertaining concerts and hosting a small carnival.

Previously every year and now every five years , Bakersfield hosts a political conference known as the Bakersfield Business Conference. Since 1985 this conference has grown in attendance and as of 2007 the attendance numbered over 9,000. The Conference has had several notable political speakers to include Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Neil Armstrong, Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Rush Limbaugh and Paul Harvey.



In the 1950s and -60s, local musicians such as Bill Woods, Tommy Collins, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Wynn Stewart developed a streamlined country music style called the Bakersfield sound, which emphasized pedal steel guitar, the Fender Telecaster electric guitar and intense vocals. Bakersfield country was considered a spinoff of the honky-tonk style of country music that emerged from Texasmarker, appropriate since many musicians there hailed from either Texasmarker or surrounding states. Today, Bakersfield is third only to Nashville, Tennesseemarker and Texasmarker in country music fame, and Bakersfield continues to produce famous country music artists. The late Buck Owens' Crystal Palace is a respected concert venue, regularly featuring new recording artists as well as established country music stars. Buddy Alan (Buck's eldest son) performs with The Buckaroos (Doyle Curtsinger, Jim Shaw, Terry Christoffersen and David Wulfekuehler) regularly. Country music artist Gary Allan bases his music on the Bakersfield sound.


In 1978, The Rolling Stones released the song "Far Away Eyes" on the album Some Girls. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards collaborated extensively on writing the song and it was recorded in late 1977. The Rolling Stones, longtime country music fans, incorporated many aspects of Bakersfield sound country music into this song. Bakersfield is mentioned in the first line of the song.

In the early 90's, a group of friends from the lower and middle-class parts of Northeast and East Bakersfield formed the band Korn. The members of the band attended Highland High School (Jonathan Davis), East Bakersfield High School (Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu and former lead guitarist Brian "Head" Welch) and South High School (James "Munky" Shaffer). Korn's former drummer David Silveria, is from San Leandromarker. They quickly became innovators in the alternative metal genre by employing low-tuned 7-string guitars, along with low bass lines influenced by funk and hip-hop music. This sound later characterized the nu metal genre. Korn have sold 30 million albums worldwide, and were given the Keys to the city. Korn's frontman's brother Mark Chavez has a band of his own named Adema


In 1974 Southern Gospel artist The Lighthouse Boys was formed.

Pete Prevost joined Sparrow Records rock band Sanctus Real in 2006.

Sports and recreation

Professional and semi-professional sports

Club League Venue Established Championships
Bakersfield Blaze CAL, Baseball Sam Lynn Ballparkmarker 1941 2
Bakersfield Condors ECHL, Ice hockey Rabobank Arenamarker 1995 0
Bakersfield Jam D-League, Basketball Rabobank Arenamarker 2003 1
Bakersfield Brigade PDL, Soccer Bakersfield Christian High Schoolmarker 2005 0
Note: Bakersfield had an Arena Football team in the af2 league in the 2000s (the Bakersfield Blitz), but has folded operations.

The Bakersfield Racquet Club was a site during the 1965 Davis Cup tennis tournament.


Football is the most popular sport in Bakersfield. The Bakersfield High School team has won more total games, sections, and state titles than any other California school and the Bakersfield Collegemarker team has won four national championships. In addition, several notable NFL athletes first played football at one of the seventeen Bakersfield-area high schools (see listing below). The Bakersfield High School Driller football team attracts huge crowds at every game. In film, the movie The Best of Times was based loosely on an old rivalry between Bakersfield High and Taft High.

Motor sports

Bakersfield is the home of several motor sports venues. The Bakersfield Speedway is a ⅓-mile (500m) banked clay oval track. It hosts weekly Saturday-night racing, most notably the World of Outlaws. The Bakersfield Speedway is currently attempting to become a more nationally significant track by hosting races that feature out-of-state drivers.

After the destruction of the Mesa Marin Racewaymarker, a new track, formerly known as Kern County's New Home to NASCAR, and now known as the Kern River Speedway was approved for construction by the Kern County Board of Supervisors in December, 2006. The track will be built west of Bakersfield, at the Interstate 5/Highway 43 (Enos Lane) interchange near the Kern River, on what is now an almond orchard. Current designs indicate a ½-mile (800m), high-banked tri-oval, similar to its predecessor, which will allow speeds over . The track is set to open for the 2008 racing season and will host local racing events, a popular high school racing series, and the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series events. Construction has halted due to the falling out of California's real estate market that the track financiers were depending on to sell land to fund the construction of the track. The track lies in a state of flux half built with creditors unpayed. A time of finishing is yet to be set but will likely take a few more years due to the current financial situation in California and the U.S.

Famoso Raceway is a drag racing track north of Bakersfield. Each Spring, they host an event called the March Meet. The initial March Meet was started by the car club The Bakersfield Smokers, in 1959, and included the legendary Swamp Rat machine driven by "Big Daddy" Don Garlits. This event, which originally gave legitimacy to the NHRA, is now a nostalgic drag racing event held every March and operated by the track. In the fall of each year, Auto Club Famoso Raceway also hosts the California Hot Rod Reunion, a gathering of street rodders, drag racers and auto enthusiasts.

Recreational sports

Bakersfield also hosts various amateur sporting events, including shooting, cycling, boat drag, rugby, water skiing, soccer, youth baseball, tennis, horseshoes, and volleyball competitions. Other recreational opportunities include whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, and skiing in the southern Sierras.

Bakersfield is also home to a large population of off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts. As of May 2001, over 18,000 OHVs were registered in Kern County. On May 26, 2005, the City of Bakersfield and the State of California Parks department obtained an assignable option, using a grant from the OHV Trust funds, to purchase a prospective 11,000 acre (45 km²) site for an OHV park. Ruth Coleman, Director of California State Parks, remarked, "This project responds to the needs of the Bakersfield community for increased recreation opportunities and will provide a cornerstone for the Central Valley Strategy." Several programs, including National 4-H and California Off-Road PALS, exist to train youth in proper OHV recreation.


Rabobank Arena

The city's major civic center, the Rabobank Arenamarker (formerly known as Centennial Garden) in downtown Bakersfield, is the home of the Bakersfield Condors; an ECHL AA-level hockey team,who are now affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks. In addition, the arena hosts basketball teams of CSU Bakersfieldmarker, the California State High School Wrestling Championships, sporting, and entertainment conventions. The Bakersfield Blitz; a former af2 team, also played at Rabobank Arena. The arena was the former home of the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League. The Jam plan to play in a small practice gym on Roberts Lane in Oildale next to Meadows Field Airport converted to host games as a cost saving measure in 2009-10.

Historic Sam Lynn Ballparkmarker plays host to the city's minor league baseball team, the Blaze, along with local high school baseball tournaments, is located in the northern downtown area. Built in 1941, it is the oldest stadium in the California League and is the only remaining professional baseball stadium in the United States that faces west.

Other arenas include the McMurtrey Aquatic Center, which includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool that hosts high-school events, a recreational pool with two waterslides, a smaller "child safe" pool, lockers, showers, and much more. The Ice Sports center hosts youth hockey. The Kern County Soccer Park is the largest soccer facility in California.

Bakersfield has been a stop for the Ben Hogan Tour and Nike Tour. It also hosts PGA Tour qualifying events and NCAA Division II regionals and tournaments. Courses include the private Seven Oaks Country Club, the Bakersfield Country Club, the Rio Bravo Country Club and the public River Lakes Golf Club.

Fox Theater is a restored movie theater. It hosts movies, concerts and entertainers.

Bakersfield currently has five movie theatres: Edwards Cinemas Bakersfield Stadium 14, United Artist East Hills Mall 10 (both apart of Regal Entertainment Group), Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza 16, Maya Cinemas Bakersfield 16, and Bakersfield Movies 6 (a second-run theater).

The Dome, a small building formerly known as Strongbow Stadium, hosts a number of different events including concerts, boxing, kickboxing, and professional wrestling.

Public safety

Law enforcement is provided by the Bakersfield Police Department. Fire protection is provided by the Bakersfield Fire Department.

The Bakersfield Police Department patch

Bakersfield Police Department

The Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) is the agency responsible for law enforcement within the City of Bakersfield, California in the United Statesmarker. It has over 400 officers and staff, covering an area of 131 square miles (296.3 km2) serving an urban population of more than 800,000. The current chief of the department, since of 2004, is William Rector. The department protects the city, split between two areas: West area and East area with stations in each area aside from the main department headquarters. The department administration is made up of the chief of department, two assistant chiefs, four captains and eleven lieutenants.

The department headquarters are located at 1601 Truxtun Ave. The west area station is located at 1301 Buena Vista Rd. The east area station is located at East 11th St. The department shooting range is located on Truxtun Ave. with the K-9 training school next door to the range. The department training academy is located on Norris Rd in conjunction with the Kern County Sheriff's Department.

Bakersfield Fire Department

The Bakersfield Fire Department's communications division, known as ECC (Emergency Communications Center), is located in the Whiting Communications Center in Northeast Bakersfield. ECC is a joint dispatch center for the Kern County, Bakersfield City and California City Fire Departments. Built in 1988, ECC is responsible for dispatching resources over an area of approximately that includes 65 fire stations. ECC's approximate call volume is 82,000 calls a year and processes Emergency and Non-Emergency Fire and Medical 911 calls for the entire County of Kern.


The Bakersfield Police Department has a holding area, but In-Custody (Inmates) are transported to the Kern Countymarker Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield. Sentenced criminals are held at the Lerdo Detention Facility, just outside the City's limits.

Government and politics

The government of Bakersfield consists of a mayor and council. The city council consists of seven members each of whom are elected from individual wards. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote.Bakersfield differs from many California cities in that it is overwhelmingly conservative. In the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, John McCain received 55.6% of the city's votes to Barack Obama's 42.9%. The same year, Bakersfield cast 75.2% of its votes in favor of Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Bakersfield is represented in the California State Senate by Dean Florez (D)and Roy Ashburn (R)in the California State Assembly by Danny Gilmore (R) and Jean Fuller (R). The citizens of Bakersfield are represented in the U. S. Congress by Jim Costa (D) (CA-20) and Kevin McCarthy (R) (CA-22).

An August 2005 article by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer listed Bakersfield as the 8th-most conservative city in the US out of the 237 ranked cities, listing it as the most conservative city in California.


CSUB's Walter Stiern Library

Two of the earliest schools founded in Kern County were Mrs. Thomas Baker's school, opened in 1863 at the Baker home (near present-day 19th and N Streets); and a Catholic parochial school opened by Reverend Father Daniel Dade in 1865 in Havilah (then the county seat). In 1880, Norris School was established. The land for this school was donated by William Norris, a local farmer. Thirteen to twenty students were taught in its one classroom during the 1880s. Bakersfield City School District (BCSD), is the state's largest elementary school district. The first high school in Bakersfield, Kern County Union High School, opened in 1893. It was renamed Bakersfield High School after World War II.
Bakersfield College
The site at California Avenue and F Street is the location of the first campus of Bakersfield Collegemarker, which was established in 1913 and relocated in 1956 to its current location overlooking the Panorama Bluffs in northeast Bakersfield. Bakersfield College has an enrollment of 16,000 students. To serve a growing baby-boomer population after World War II, the Kern High School District has steadily expanded to nineteen campuses and more than 35,000 students, making it the largest high school district in the state. In 1965, a university in the California State University system was founded in Bakersfield. California State University, Bakersfieldmarker (CSUB) has approximately 7,800 students. It was an NCAA Division II sports powerhouse in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) with some sports, including wrestling (PAC-10), competing in Division I. CSUB has become a Division I athletic school and is trying to begin the process of joining the Big West Conference . In 1982, Santa Barbara Business Collegemarker was founded.

High schools

Bakersfield is part of the Kern High School District (KHSD), California's largest high school district, comprising 28 schools and educating about 35,000 students. There are 15 high schools within the KHSD in Bakersfield:

Private high schools include Garces Memorial High Schoolmarker, Bakersfield Christian High Schoolmarker.


Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College (BC) is a public community college located in Bakersfield, Californiamarker, USAmarker. Its main campus is located on a plot in northeast Bakersfield, and it also operates two satellite campuses: the Weill Institute in downtown Bakersfield, and at the Delano Center in Delano, Californiamarker, approximately north of Bakersfield. BC serves more than 18,000 students each semester and is part of the Kern Community College District (KCCD). Currently there are a total of 184 Associate's degree and certificate programs for students to choose from. BC is a part of the California Community Colleges system.


The Bakersfield Californian building is also listed on the NRHP.
Due to its key position in the southern San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield is served by several media outlets. The primary newspaper is The Bakersfield Californian, which is a direct descendant of the first paper published in the region, The Daily Courier in 1866.

The city has a number of television stations and network affiliates, including KERO-TVmarker (ABC), KBAK-TVmarker (CBS), KGET-TVmarker (NBC), KBFX-CA (Fox), KABE-LP (Univision), KKEY-LP (Telemundo, KGET-DT2 (The CW) and is served by Fresno's PBS affiliate, KVPTmarker. Bakersfield is also home to Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision's only English-language station, KUVI-DTmarker.



Garces Circle

Bakersfield is currently serviced by three freeways. State Route 99 bisects Bakersfield from north to south, while State Route 58 exists as a freeway east of SR 99, servicing the southeast part of the city and extending over the Tehachapi mountains to Tehachapi, Mojave, and Barstow. State Route 178 consists of a short segment of freeway that runs from a point near downtown to the northeastern part of the city, although there is currently no direct freeway connection between SR 99 and SR 178.

Bakersfield is also served by a short, unsigned, four-lane freeway called Alfred Harrell Highway. It was constructed between 1956 and 1958 and extends from China Grade Loop to Hart Park (a large recreation park in Northeast Bakersfield). Unlike most freeways, Alfred Harrell Highway lacks the traditional signage used on divided freeways. There is also a 2-lane expressway to the east of the park. This section was originally reserved to be converted to a four-lane freeway similar to the constructed western portion. If it were every constructed, it would have two interchanges at Morning Dr. and Lake Ming Rd. and would terminate at the SR 178 adopted alignment (not constructed).

Both SR 58 and SR 178 have planned future extensions. SR 58 western extension is known as the Centennial Corridor, and will extend the freeway west to I-5. Included in the Centennial Corridor is the Westside Parkway (sometime referred to by its formal name Kern River Freeway). This is a new freeway which will run through Western Bakersfield, on a route parallel to the Kern River and Stockdale Hwy. SR 178 western extension is known as the Crosstown Freeway/SR 178 Connection, although is was formally know as the Centennial Corridor before that name was moved to SR 58. It will connect SR 178 to the Westside Parkway.

In addition to these freeway extensions, there is also a proposed network of beltways. Currently there are two beltways being considered in Bakersfield. The West Beltway would run north-south from Seventh Standard Rd. to Taft Hwy. It will run parallel to Heath Rd. to the north and parallel to South Allen Rd. to the south. A future extension would connect the West Beltway to SR 99 and I-5, providing a bypass to Bakersfield. The South Beltway would run east-west from SR 58 to I-5. From SR 58, it would run south, parallel to Comanche Dr, until Taft Hwy. From there, the freeway would turn west, and run parallel to Taft Hwy. until it terminated at I-5. A future extension would extend the freeway north to SR 178 and terminate at Alfred Harrell Hwy. Bakersfield also envisioned Caltrans building a North Beltway as the western extension of SR 58, but has been withdrawn in favor of the Centennial Corridor.

Bakersfield is one of the largest cities in the U.S. that is not directly linked to an Interstate highway. SR 99 and SR 58 have shown interest in being converted to interstates. SR 99 would be a new interstate signed either as Interstate 7 or Interstate 9, while SR 58 would be an extension of I-40 which currently terminates in Barstow. In 2005 SR 99 was added to the FHWA list of high priority corridors as “California farm to market route” and designated a NHS Future Interstate.

Garces Memorial Circle

Garces Memorial Traffic Circle, informally known as Garces Circle or just The Circle, is the only traffic circle in Bakersfield, Californiamarker. The traffic circle is located at the intersection of Chester Avenue, Golden State Avenue (State Route 204) and 30th St in Bakersfield. The Circle was originally built as a part US 99 in approximately 1932. A large 1939 sculpture of Father Francisco Garces by John Palo-Kangas rests inside the circle.


  • Bakersfield is served by the Golden Empire transit District.
  • A total of 18 routes are operated, the majority of which serve the urbanized portion of the county which includes the city of Bakersfieldmarker.


Amtrak Station
The Bakersfield Stationmarker, opened in 2000, provides Amtrak California passenger and Amtrak Express freight rail service to the city. Previously, Bakersfield had been served by two previous depots; the first was located in Old Town Kern and the second was built in downtown. Bakersfield is a planned station for the proposed California High Speed Rail system.


Meadows Field
Meadows Field Airportmarker in Bakersfield was recently rebuilt and dedicated as the William M. Thomas Terminal. In 2009, a grant was awarded to the Airport to fix Taxiway Alpha which is to be completed by a local company around the end of October 2009.

Also located at the Airport: Hall Medivac Helicopter, SRT Helicopter Flight School, & numerous other aviational mechanics and technicians.

Notable natives and residents

Law and politics

[[File:2009-0726-CA-Bakersfield-BushHouse.jpg|thumb|The Bush House: In 1949, George H. W. Bush (41st President of the U.S.) moved here to sell oil field equipment with son, George W. Bush (43rd President of the U.S.), who was three years old at the time.]]

Science and medicine

Arts and entertainment




American football


Other sports

Cultural references



Film and television

Many films and television shows are filmed in and around Bakersfield. Bakersfield is sometimes depicted humorously or negatively which may have been popularized by Johnny Carson during his reign of The Tonight Show where he would often make fun of the town during his monologue. This list represents a selection of those which feature specific references to the city.


  • In Airplane II: The Sequel, Controller Jacobs (Stephen Stucker) makes reference to places where he traveled to, and says "Then we went to Bakersfield, then we went to Fresnomarker, but no one goes to Fresno anymore."
  • In Alpha Dog, Bakersfield is mentioned toward the end of the film.
  • In Cast Away, a port-o-potty with "Bakersfield" marked on one side washes up on the beach. Excited, Tom Hanks's character shouts "Bakersfield" and begins to construct a raft that eventually led to his escape.
  • In Every Which Way But Loose, Clint Eastwood's character sneaks his pet orangutan into the fictional Bakersfield Zoo. Also, several scenes were shot in Bakersfield, including views of the famous Bakersfield sign.
  • In Fearless, a plane crashes in a cornfield outside Bakersfield. The film also features the now-defunct Golden Empire Ambulance service.
  • In Five Easy Pieces, Jack Nicholson is seen walking through downtown Bakersfield.
  • In Lucky You, Drew Barrymore's character is from Bakersfield.
  • In Misery, Kathy Bates's character Annie Wilkes mentions growing up in Bakersfield.
  • In North by Northwest, the famous Prairie Stop crop-duster scene was filmed in the Bakersfield area, near Wasco on Corcoran Road north of Highway 46.
  • In Short Circuit, the character Ben Jabituya mentions he is originally from Bakersfield.
  • In Smile, one of the beauty pageant contestants is from Bakersfield.
  • In Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson's character Norma Desmond mentions she has oil in Bakersfield.
  • In The Best of Times, the Taftmarker high school football team plays against the Bakersfield High School football team, 13 years after a 0-0 tie.
  • In The Cell, the equipment used by the serial killer has a plate stamped "Made in Bakersfield."
  • In The Running Man, Ben Richards (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is referred to as "The Butcher of Bakersfield."
  • In There Will Be Blood, reference is made to Bakersfield towards the end of the film. The story was based on the early days of the Oil industry in the area.
  • In View from the Top, Gwyneth Paltrow's character mentions the routes of the flights for the airline she is applying to and at her job interview she claims that they stop once a week to Bakersfield.
  • In Witch Hunt, a documentary, the fraudulent child molestation trials that occurred in mid-1980s Bakersfield and the subsequent overturning of the verdicts are profile.
  • In Terminator: Salvation, Bakersfield is one of the military installments that delay their attack because of John Connor's emotional exhortation.
  • In Where the Heart Is, Natalie Portman's character's boyfriend abandons her at a Walmart and drives away saying that he is going to Bakersfield.
  • In The Great Buck Howard, John Malkovich's character, mentalist Buck Howard first performs in Bakersfield when he hires Colin Hanks's character as his road manager. In the epilogue of the film, Buck Howard performs once again in Bakersfield as Hanks's character narrates on what kind of towns best suit Buck Howard for his performances.


  • 24 - On Day 2, George Mason plans to escape the blast radius of an atomic bomb set to go off in Los Angeles by going to Bakersfield.
  • Bakersfield P.D. - A situation comedy about Bakersfield police officers.
  • Brothers & Sisters - Episode 45 (S3E6) is titled "Bakersfield".
  • Catscratch - In one episode, there is a race called "The Bakersfield 500".
  • Clueless - In the episodes "Bakersfield Blues" and "Back From Bakersfield", the main character and her father move to Bakersfield.
  • Columbo - In the episode "Swan Song", fictional country singer Tommy Brown (played by Johnny Cash) plays a concert in Bakersfield before staging a fatal plane crash killing his wife.
  • Friends - During the episode "The One with Chandler's Dad", Bakersfield is mentioned in a joke while Chandler and Monica go to Las Vegasmarker to tell Chandler's father about their marriage.
  • Fringe - In the first part of the episode "A New Day in the Old Town," (Season 2, Episode 1) Walter mentions that he used to be the sous-chef at the Bakersfield Food Lab where he worked under Seymour Brodien, purported inventor of the Ho Ho.
  • George Lopez - Ernie says he has to go visit his relatives in Bakersfield.
  • George Lopez - Benny says "the lettuce never made it to Bakersfield"
  • Johnny Bravo - In the Christmas episode guest starring Donny Osmond, Johnny wants to mail a letter to Santa Claus and the postal worker mentions that the post office's range of operations spans "from Bakersfield to Borneomarker."
  • Last Comic Standing - On the August 17, 2007 episode, comedian Doug Benson made a religious reference to Bakersfield as being "hell" in his head-to-head comedic performance.
  • Numb3rs - There is a whole episode that talks about a crazy religious leader who lives with his following Bakersfield.
  • Numb3rs - In the episode "Disturbed", the FBI agents discuss a serial killer that lived in Bakersfield.
  • Numb3rs - In the episode "Hydra", the FBI agents are tracking a corporate jet heading for Bakersfield.
  • Psych - In the episode "He Dead", Shawn and Gus talk about a pilot landing in Bakersfield to refuel.
  • Sons Of Anarchy - In the episode "Better Half" a club member mentions that he has a sick mother living in Bakersfield.
  • South Of Nowhere - In the episode "Spencer's New Girlfriend", Carmen (Brooke Vallone) talks about Bakersfield being the worst place she has lived in.
  • The Big Bang Theory - In episode 25, Howard sarcastically states that he got a Mars rover stuck in a ditch just outside of Bakersfield.
  • The Fall Guy - In one episode, the lead character (played by Lee Majors) tracks a villain to Bakersfield.
  • The Shield - Near the end of Season 3, members of the Strike team try to move cash from a robbery to a storage shed in Bakersfield.
  • The Simpsons - The episode "Take My Wife, Sleaze" features the Hell's Satans, a fictional biker gang from Bakersfield.
  • Wheel of Fortune - "Bakersfield California" was the subject of one of the puzzles.

Sister cities

See also


  1. California Department of Finance 2008 Population Estimate
  2. Yokuts History and Cultural Relations
  3. Yokuts Dwellings
  4. California Militia and Expeditions Against the Indians, 1850 - 1859
  5. The Tachi Yokut tribe - INTRODUCTION TO THE TREATIES
  6. Southern California Earthquake Data Center - Kern County Earthquake (1952)
  7. Edgar Martins, Ruins of the Second Gilded Age: City in the Hills, The New York Times, July 5, 2009.
  8. People at Risk In 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities American Lung Association. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  9. People at Risk In 25 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Short-Term Particle Pollution American Lung Association. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  10. People at Risk In 25 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution American Lung Association. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  11. www.DontGoThere.orgDon't Go There!, Peter Greenberg, Rodale, 2009
  12. Official website
  13. California 2008 U.S. Presidential Election Results by Political Districts
  14. California 2008 Ballot Measures by Political Districts
  16. Progress Report 2008/2009. TRIP (Thomas Roads Improvement Program). Page 7.
  17. The Bush House,, Accessed August 8, 2009.
  19. Witch Hunt: A KTF Films Production


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