Bakersfield Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Bakersfield

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    United States of America Armed Forces Memorial~

    by Yaqui Updated May 25, 2013

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    Located along Airport Blvd is a business (now Closed) called Oakie Ray's Barbiershop who built a tribute next to their shop called United States of America Armed Forces Memorial. Wonderfully done and packed full of some neat things to see and appreciate. It has replicas of the Liberty Bell, The Declaration of Independence, Huge Model Airplanes, cannons, and many other sculptures. We salute you Ray!

    Exit from Hwy 99 onto Airport Blvd, travel on Airport Blvd, to 900 Wilson Ave Bakersfield, CA 93308

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    Water Wheel in Hart Park~Crashed to ground:(

    by Yaqui Updated Feb 20, 2013

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    This very rustic water wheel was built in 1933 to mimic a 1700 Italian design. This wooden water wheel had 5ft tall paddles that powered a water pump that supplied water to Hart Pool. It was one of the crown jewels of the park. It was knocked off its foundation in 1937 from a flood, but was reconstructed with brass screws to make it more secure. Sadly as you can see from the photo’s it has been falling into disrepair again. A fence is around it for obvious reasons and the day I took this picture, there was evidence of many feral cats, but someone was feeding them at least. Yet, the old water wheel is still serving a purpose, it serves as a reminder of simpler times when children rushed to it to during the hot summer while enjoying the dancing of water from paddle to paddle and the magical sound it made while performing its daunting task. Now, she serves as a much needed home for stray cats.

    Warning, fenced off for your safety!

    Eight miles northeast of Bakersfield on Alfred Harrell Highway.

    Update:
    Hart Park's historic water wheel crashes to ground
    BY HERB BENHAM, Californian staff writer hbenham@bakersfield.com

    The big Kern River water wheel at Hart Park finally crashed to the ground last week. The wheel, finished in 1933, has been falling down for the last 20 years, according to Bob Lerude, head of the County Parks, .

    "I drove by it Friday and the wheel didn't look much different than it has looked," Lerude said.

    Local historian George Gilbert Lynch disagreed, saying that the water wheel is officially resting on the ground.

    Lynch should know. His father, a carpenter, helped build it in 1933. The water mill was part of Lynch's childhood.

    "I was a small child when my dad introduced me to the big log cabin mill house, with the slowly rotating water wheel inside. We walked into the west entrance and were instantly engulfed in a pleasantly cool, foggy mist, due to the dripping wet paddles and the breeze caused by the wheel rotation," Lynch wrote a couple of years ago.

    Lynch talked about "the loud sound of tumbling water, the creaking of the wooden joints of the big wheel," and the gear box turning as it was connected to its main shaft.

    Designed in 1932 by R. E. White, a local civil engineer, the water wheel was based on an Italian design from the 1700s. The wheel was 21 feet in diameter, the paddle boards crafted from heart redwood, five feet in length, making the wheel about 51/2 feet wide. The wheel pumped water for park use, but also could power an electric generator.

    The water wheel mill was funded by the Works Progress Administration. The carpenters earned $1.75 per day.

    "Most workers on this project became so interested in the mill construction that they would work overtime of their own accord," Lynch wrote.

    The water wheel took five weeks to build. The water wheel was held together by hundreds of wooden pegs and used no screws or bolts. The paddle boards were painted with linseed oil every day for six weeks to make them waterproof.

    Logs for the log house came from Breckenridge Mountain. Lime mortar was used to seal the logs. The mill was damaged in 1936 when the Kern River overflowed its banks, but rebuilt in 1938 with WPA funds. This time 20,728 large brass screws were used.

    The mill was neglected after World War II.

    "One day I walked through the door and the big wheel had stopped turning. The large axle had broken and the wheel leaned over until it wedged against the building, never to again turn," Lynch said. "My children are now grown and they never had the privilege to see the water wheel run."

    The county has floated ideas about reconstructing the water mill, but none have come to fruition, Lerude said. Now, the magic of the water mill will survive in photos, stories and the historical imagination.http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x431719671/Hart-Parks-historic-water-wheel-crashes-to-ground.

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    The Old Indian

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 22, 2012

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    The Indian on the circle, he stood there very proud. All the cars would circle and he would draw a crowd. Many would look in amazement, at the largeness he possessed. Others drew back a bow and sent an arrow into his mighty chest. He always seemed to be standing there, watching and protecting everyone below. Then the sad day came along, it was time for him to go. Standard Jr. High School was building a new gym. This seemed like the perfect place for him to fit right in. The school was called the Warriors, and a Warrior he would be, but standing in his brand new gym was not his destiny. Rules and regulations, and policies came around. So the mighty Warrior was hauled to a vacant lot and laid upon the ground. For seventeen years he laid there not knowing his next quest. Then a cowboy came along and said, “I’m going to do my best”. He decided to relocate him for everyone to see, because this mighty Indian is part of our hometown history. Forty years later on the cowboys ranch standing tall and proud. He hadn’t lost his spirit, he still knew how to draw a crowd. In 1999 he was taken to North High to be entered on a float. It wasn’t any surprise that he won the hearts of the judges as well as all of their votes. The cowboy sold his ranch, but kept his word as a man, he promised to relocate the Indian to a place of honor for him to stand. The moral of the journey is to take life in stride, and to always just remember, there’s many more happy trails to ride. Marv 2000 Marv Rohlfing and Peppy.

    From the West Hwy 58, exit onto Mt. Vernon Ave and head east to you see Alfred Harrel Hwy, you will come to a small interchange make sure you cross over on the over pass to the other side and you will see a access road to the right, turn right.

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    Chinese Memorial Cemetery

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 8, 2012

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    I put places like these on my pages because people forget. I don't want people to forget our pioneers. If it were not for folks like these, we would not be here today.

    This small lot holds the remains of 300 Chinese immigrants who came to America looking for work and new home. They brought with them the shear grit to work hard labor and endure grueling long hours. The railroad was quick to hire them because they kept to themselves, worked hard, and was always quiet. As little they were paid by the railroad they were still able to feed themselves and save money. Many bought farms and business and still managed to prosper through such difficult times of racial discrimination. Sadly, the Chinese cemetery that was established in 1870s near Terrace Way that used to stretch along an old farm field that belonged to Yen Ming at one time. Many of graves were forgotten, not marked, and not taken care of. So a gentleman by the name of C.D. Holden a petroleum engineer decided these remains needed to be moved to protect them. Real estate in Bakersfield was booming after WWII and housing needed to be built and oil needed to be pumped. So after convincing the local Chinese Benevolent Association, Chung Wah, they agreed to help the removal and hopefully indentify the ancestors. This memorial was erected in 1958 and is adjacent to Union Cemetery. The pagoda design was by architect Allan Choy.

    The words on the plaque in front, was accomplished by the hard work of “Chung Wah members, Mrs. Sing Lum, Earl Wong, Bill Lee, C. Choy, Jack Chow Wong, and D.L. Joe. Jack Chow Wong, who inscribed all the names in a book, and Gregory Lim wrote a plaque in poetic antique Chinese verse. The plaque recognized the hardships faced by Chinese immigrants, expressed the reason for disturbing the remains, expressed regret, and thanked those of the non-Chinese community who helped Chinese immigrants of the early years. “It happened that a Westerner by the name of Horton [sic, Holden] was willing to change the use of his land so that the early residents of Chinese descent would have peace.” (Boyd, op cit, p 237)” Gilbert Gia, 2002. http://www.gilbertgia.com/hist_articles/civRights/chinese_cemetery_aj_civ.pdf

    It sits right across the residential area that has seen better days, but they are still homes with loving families. Even though the crime in this area is high. Yet, it sits proudly still and you can sense some peace while the world around it revolves. The Memorial is fenced off, but it needs loads of TLC.

    Exit onto Union Ave from Hwy 58 head North and turn right onto 6th street and left on Tulare, you cannot miss it.

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    Let Sing Gong Temple~

    by Yaqui Written Dec 26, 2011

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    Bakersfield may be the only U.S. city that had distinct Chinatowns at the same time. These were called Old and New Chinatown. Old Chinatown was located where Highway 178 today comes into downtown Bakersfield from the east, between K and N and 20th and 23rd streets. The only remains are China Alley, the Ying On Chinese Association building and the Confucius Church. The famous 1903 shootout between the outlaw Jim McKinney and lawman Will Tibbet (among others) took place there. New Chinatown was between Q and R and 17th and 19th, near the Bill Lee's and Rice Bowl restaurants. All that remains there is the Let Sing Gong Temple. The people in Old Chinatown and New Chinatown were from different districts in China and spoke different dialects -- and they didn't always get along. A small number of them settled near the Southern Pacific Railroad depot in the Old Town area.

    Some Chinese also worked for Col. Thomas Baker, one of the founders of Bakersfield, as domestics, or farmed for him. He gave some of them plots of land to farm on their own. One of those plots belonged to Lee Guey and was across the street from where Sam Lynn Ball Park is today.

    Chinese also participated in Kern County oil production in Oildale, Taft, Maricopa and McKittrick. In the 1890s and early 1900s, they farmed asphalt and oil out of tar pits. They also had businesses in the westside Chinatowns, were cooks in oil fields, and in one case, sold sheep to the oil workers. Some Chinese immigrants sold vegetables to oil workers on both the west side and Oildale~Ellen Miller of Kernville is co-author of "The Chinese of Kern County".

    18th Street Bakersfield, CA 93301

    Located at: Exit Highway 58 onto Chester Ave and once you pass under the railroad and Truxton, look for 18th street, turn right. Next to Mexicali Restaurant.

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    Tejon Ranch - 1843

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 26, 2011

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    This is a photographer’s delight and many commercials, and movies are filmed here because of the beautiful wide landscape.

    In 1850's General Edward Fitzgerald Beale a hero of the Mexican American War, purchase the bulk of what is Tejon Ranch today. He was also the first to bring news to the President of Washington DC of the gold discover here in California. He is also the founder of the first Indian Reservation in 1853, where Indians, Hispanics and Anglos worked together in agriculture. He helped established Fort Tejon, which experimented with the Camel Corps (that must have been amusing:-) and Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Stop.

    His son Truxton eventually purchased the property in 1912 along with a group of pioneer businesses, which today is Tejon Ranch Co.

    Tejon Ranch is celebrating its 160 years as one of the most significant ranches due to being the largest pieces of land under single ownership in California. Over 270,000 acres of one the most beautiful expansions of land you'll ever see.

    I know, because I cherish the vastness when driving to Bakersfield. It is breath taking to see that we still live in a land so beautiful.

    It is one of America's last great historic ranches that still operates towards farming and ranching, which continues to be a primary focus. Almonds, pistachios walnuts and wine grapes are among the chief crops, while more than 10,000 head of cattle graze on the land each year.

    Yet, as most business find, it has to give up some of this prime land to develop communities and industrial development which will produce jobs and income into the communities.

    You can see this wonderful landscape from Highway 5 Grape Vine and off the Highway 58. These two freeways are miles and miles away from each other so it is a wide space of land.

    P.O. Box 1000 Lebec, California 93243

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    Kern Country Land Company 1893

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Located at 1712 19th Street. This was built in 1893 as a Renaissance Revival. This served as the Kern co. Land Company until it outgrown itself and was sold in 1959.

    This is a very beautiful brick building. It was will catch your eye if your any kind of a historian.

    On the list of National Register of Historic Places #84000780

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    The Hayden Building 1915

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    A Renaissance Revival style building. Located at 1626 19th Street. It pretty much looks the way it is as it was when it was built. I has a very lovely mural on the side where there is parking.

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    Baker Branch Library 1915

    by Yaqui Updated Sep 6, 2010

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    The library built in 1915 is a classic example of Italian Renaissance version of Greek Revival Federal public building architecture. Architect O.L. Clark was commissioned by the City of Bakersfield to design the library. In the 1980's the building underwent architectural renovation and seismic retrofit. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Hours:
    Mon 11am-7pm
    Tue- Sat Closed
    Library Activities

    Facts About the Branch:
    Materials Checked out-13,583
    Library Holdings-17,742
    Weekly Hours-Open 8
    Year Built-1915
    Square Feet-4,242

    1400 Baker Street
Bakersfield, CA 93305

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    Southern Pacific Railroad Depot ~ Sumner

    by Yaqui Updated Sep 6, 2010

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    This area was once the City of Sumner, it began after a dispute between Southern Pacific Railroad and the city of Bakersfield, the railroad bypassed the city and laid out their own town in 1874. Named in honor of Joseph W. Sumner, mine owner and judge. The Sumner post office opened in 1876. (Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 997.) By 1892 it became Kern, but by 1910, the city became East Bakersfield, annexed to the City of Bakersfield.

    It's suppose to be abandon, but you see Union Pacific trucks around it all the time. Its fenced off due to the area. So be careful if you venture this way and do NOT come here at night.

    Located on Baker & Sumner Street.

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    Central Park At Mill Creek

    by Yaqui Written Feb 21, 2010

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    Located on between 21st and 19th Streets, just east of R Street is located one of very many wonderful parks Bakersfield has. I have to say this is probably the only other covered bridge that Kern County has. The first is in Stallion Springs in Tehachapi. What a beautiful place to sit and relax or stroll thru the covered bridge or the many walk ways that passed by some of the beautiful sprays of water coming from the mini lake. I wonderful attention to the inner city of Bakersfield.

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    The Southern Pacific Portable Jail

    by Yaqui Updated Jun 27, 2009

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    If you love historical buildings, then you are going to just love this place. Kern County has taken great pride and effort to preserve the history of pioneers and where they once lived. These 56 buildings on 16 acres were lovingly moved and restored inside the park and arrange into a wonderful presentation of what an old town would look like. Most of the building you can walk inside and view the furnishings of what may had been the fashion during its era.

    Every building is special and all has some type of significant history. This one is the Southern Pacific Portable Jail. A most unusual accommodation, the Southern Pacific Portable Jail was built sometime in the 1870's, and was used to house prisoners being taken by rail to the county seat for judgment. It did its duty affixed to the top of a railroad flat car as a sort of paddy wagon on rails, but when its time was up, the little calaboose was forced to do hard time in Delano until sprung by the Kern County Museum and brought to Pioneer Village for its well deserved retirement.

    During its time of service the little jail rolled up and down the Southern Pacific tracks as the rail line to Caliente was being completed. On the southern side of the Tehachapis getting prisoners to their destination meant getting them as close to Caliente as possible, and then taking them by horseback up the Caliente-Bodfish Road to the County Courthouse at Havilah. All this was to change in 1884, when the Kern Valley Diggings began to play out and the county seat was transferred to Bakersfield; but even then, the little jail just kept right on rolling.http://www.peterlebeckecv.com/1971_Max_Bowser.html

    Dedicated June 5, 1971
    E Clampus Vitus
    Peter Lebec Chapter
    1866

    Located at: 3801 Chester Ave, Bakersfield, Ca
    Located in the park grounds of the Kern County Musuem.
    Kern County Museum

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    Sill Building ~1939

    by Yaqui Written Jun 8, 2009

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    Built in 1939 in Art Moderne style, the Sill Building (Ernest & Franklin Kump) is a three-level building constructed of reinforced concrete and steel.

    Located at 1500 18th Street, exit Hwy 58 onto Chester Ave head north and it is on the left side off of Chester Avenue on 18th street.

    Be careful it is a oneway street.

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    Big Shoe ~1947

    by Yaqui Updated Jun 8, 2009

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    Built in 1947 as Deschwanden's Shoe Repair shop, designed with the appearance with a white low-top with a black lace and a thick orthopedic heel. It is 30-ft. long, 20-ft. high plaster and wood frame construction. There are only two other shoe dwellings in the United States, and this is one has the distinction of only one with a shoe lace (50-ft. long black rope).

    Located at 931 Chester Ave, Bakersfield, CA

    Exit Hwy 58 onto Chester Ave head north. On the corner of Chester Ave and 10th Street%c

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    Bakersfield Fire Department 1904

    by Yaqui Updated Jun 8, 2009

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    It is important for us and for cities to preserve these historical structures. Just like the old saying, "They don't build them or make them like they use too!" These wonderful old buildings preserve our wonderful cultural past and if we lose them, we lose our treasures of the past for future generations to enjoy.

    Stepping into the Past

    History of Fire Department

    Built originally in 1904(Designed Charles Biggar) 1939 PWA moderne design, replaced an aging two story red brick fire station.

    Located on 2120 H Street

    Get off of Highway 58 onto Chester Ave and make a left onto H street.

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