This is a wonderful museum was founded in 1967 to preserve the valleys western history. It has many treasures from most of the local communities. It is filled with exhibits of Native American, gold mining, farming, ranching, lumbering, western movies, and a fast amount of local history for the whole valley. They have some of the best displays for the valley.
Make sure you wonder to the back patio where they have more wonderful exhibits. They have a 1925 Graham Truck, covered wagon and a stage coach that John Wayne rode on while filming “Stagecoach” in Kern River Valley. Be sure to see the 100 Year old cabin and Giant Stamp mill too.
Thursday – Sunday
Admission is Free
The Stagecoach originally called a mud wagon, was used to transport passengers and freight between Caliente and the Kernville area.
When the movie Stagecoach, was in its planning stages, the producer asked John Wofford if he could provide him with a stagecoach for a scene crossing the river. Wofford who regularly provided extras, horses, equipment and cattle to the movie industry said he could do that. So he modified the mud-wagon and make it look like the stagecoach needed for the scene.
Incidentally, it had been called the mud-wagon because passengers sitting on the exposed seat would often received a share of the mud thrown from the wheels as the magon moved along.
The stagecoach as you see it here is the modification made by Wofford and is the stagecoach as seen in that Kern River crossing scene with John Wayne on the back, snapping his whip and yelling at the horses(http://kernvalleymuseum.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=64&Itemid=72)
I will have to say this is my son Nate's favorite exhibit. He got excited right away when he saw this.
BOB POWER BOTH
June 7, 1924 – September 11, 2002
A fifth generation of Kern River Valley, Bob is remember for the 9 history books he wrote. Without him, much of what happened in our valley’s past would have been lost. He was cowboy, cattleman, ranger, family man, and historian. But most of all he was a man of honesty and integrity. As a director and curator of the museum, he gave a lifetime collection of artifacts for all to enjoy. Awarded for his writing, his wife Marge said he would be embarrassed with the attention. When asked for his reason for writing, Bob simply said, I did it because it needed to be done.” And to the question, “What has meant the most over the years?”, his reply was, “I have 6 loves: the Lord, my family, my friends, the Kern River Valley, cowboying, and the Forrest Service.” With this plaque we are preserving the memory of a man for all reasons.
Dedication Celebrated October 6, 2007
Havilah Centennial Group
Kern River Valley Historical Society
Peter LeBeck Chapter 1866 of E Clampus Vitus
In August 2008, The United State Board of Geologic Names recognized Bob’s service to our community by naming the peak directly behind you as “Powers Peak.”
This wonderful piece of history is located at the museum, just felt it was notable to mention as a tip.
The information reads:
Johnny Powers marble gravestone originally in the Cottage Grove Cemetery where he is buried. It was stolen and not returned until the historical society offered a reward. It was broken and being used as a stepping stones.
July 3, 1891 – Age 27 years, 9 months
Johnny was a handsome and popular young man. He lost his left leg in a shotgun accident as a small boy, but was able to ride well.
The story of Johnny’s death
A shoshone Indian , Wampei Jiggens, had a dispute at the Smith Ranch. He took off after consuming some bootleg whiskey, and setting fire to three haystacks. Constable Johnny and Constable Sam Gann, and Deputy Oliver McCoy tracked him to the Indian camp, Chief Kiowa and his sons ambushed the lawmen. Killer were Johnny, Chief Kiowa and two his sons. McCoy was critically wounded, and Gann escaped back to the valley.
A posse to 21 men took up the chase, but the Indian eluded them. Three months later, Wampei was captured in Lone Pine. Wampei was tried and sentenced to life in state prison. Johnny was the second officer to be killed in the line of duty in Kern County.
Another one of those wonderful pieces of hisotry that is located at Kernville River Museum.
The information reads:
Mayflower Log Cabin
This cabin (also know as the INSALLAH)was located in the Greenhorn Mountains above Wofford Heights. Built in around 1896 of rough-hew logs, it was used as a miners living quarters and store. The US Forrest Service was going to demolish it as it attracted squatters. The Historical Society purchased the cabin and another called the “Flying Eagle” (in storage)for $1.00. It was re-assembles here by society members.
From the book of “Buried Treasures and Lost Mines” by Frank L. Fish.
One lore of who may have built or operated the Mayflower cabin was an unknown Frenchman, who operated the Beartrap and Mayflower mines around the 1800’s. He owned a saloon and store. The lore goes that he had buried $100,000 in or around his store. He went missing and was eventually found in a cave-in with a pick-ax hole in the back of his head. Relatives found $48,000 of his money. Yet, it is unknown who operated the Mayflower Mine and who built this cabin.
This plaque reads:
This monument moved from old Kernville
And rededicated May 3, 1953 by
Kern River Chamber of Commerce
Kern River Veterans Club
Kern River V.F.W.
Kern County Historical Society
Kern County Museum
The plaque reads:
California Historical Landmark
Kernville called Whiskey Flat until 1864, was founded in 1860 when Adam Hamilton a whiskey dealer moved shop here from for more temperature Quartzburg, founded earlier that year. Both camps resulted by the discovery of “The Big Blue Ledge” by Lovely Rogers while tracking a stray mule from the earlier camp of Keyesville.
Dedicated April 18, 1937
Kern River Chamber of Commerce
Department of Natural Resources Reg. No.132
State of California
Upriver from Kernville there are several outdoor adventure
businesses which conduct kayak trips which leisurely drift
down the water several times a day. Many people bring their
own inner-tubes, or buy them from the bait shops/markets/gas
stations, and we found one which would sell you a tube for $20 and buy it back later for $10, if it was in good shape!
Many people were waterskiing on Lake Isabella, and we saw
jetskiis and seadoos there too. A really nice golf course is located just south of the dam on the east side of the lake~at the Kern Valley Country Club...my boyfriend and his dad played nine holes on our first morning at the river, and they went early, making sure they would be done well
before the day became really, really hot! Who won? Seems
much can be said for experience...There are also many cute
souvenier shops in Kernville where one can while away a few
hours indulging in curiosity and gift shopping too maybe.
See the scenic Kern River and even better, raft it!
Lots of obstacles along the river such as these rocks. Usually the raft will float over the rocks, but sometimes it doesn't and you're stuck. But taht's also fun too, getting the raft unstuck.
Kernville is a hub for some of the best whitewater rafting in California. All within a stones throw, you can experience half day to 3 day rafting trips from class one to class five rapids.
Great for families, couples and thrill seekers.
Some people tube the calmer sections, others go with rafting outfitters. If you decide to do your own trip, make sure you wear a lifejacket!
The plaque reads:
Dedicated to the memory of Quartzburg and Kernville Pioneers who lie here. Kern County is their monument.
Platrix Chapter E.C.V. Oct 1, 1950