Bakersfield is the largest city in Kern County and is located at the southern end of the Central Valley. It is known as the oil capital of California and one of the world’s richest agricultural regions. There are many references in the history of this famous Californian city to oil discovery and the formation of the Kern River oil field. This discovery later resulted in reform for Kern County as well as the entire state.
There are some really interesting historic sites located in Bakersfield that are registered on the national, state, and local levels. Although many of these sites were damaged by the earthquake in 1952, they have since been restored and are now important tourist attractions.
A proper tour of these historical Bakersfield buildings will take 2 to 3 days if you are planning to visit them. It is advisable to book the best hotel in Bakersfield if you are traveling from a different city, as it will allow you to rejuvenate yourself for the next day of your trip.
Nevertheless, here are the 5 most popular historical buildings and landmarks in Bakersfield.
Bakersfield’s Most Famous Historical Buildings
1. Kern County Museum
The Kern County Museum, which is located in Bakersfield, is a popular place for visitors to learn about the rich culture and history of the county. It is a 16-acre property located on Chester Avenue. More than 50 original historical buildings dating back to the 19th century make up the entire location. There are many things you can learn about in this area, including Native Americans, the Golden Rush, agriculture, mining, the railroad, oil derricks, one-room schools, the early settlers of California, etc. Visitors can explore 16 meticulously landscaped acres filled with thousands of historically and culturally significant artifacts.
2. First Baptist Church
As one of Bakersfield’s most important historical buildings, the First Baptist Church plays an extremely pivotal role in its development. The building’s origin dates back to 1931 and is commonly referred to as the “Bell Tower” in downtown Bakersfield. This is one of the most beautiful decorative concrete structures in the San Joaquin Valley. Essentially, it is a reinforced concrete structure covered with red Spanish tile shingles. During the 1952 Kern County earthquake, the church miraculously survived 7.3 Richter with no damage.
The First Baptist Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; however, it is currently being used as an office building.
3. The Fox Theatre
There is no doubt that the Fox Theatre is one of the best tourist attractions and historical sites in Bakersfield. With its history dating back to the early 1900s, the theater is also one of the last cinemas to be constructed during the Gilded Age of cinema. Its exterior is characterized by Spanish Colonial Revival stylistic elements, whereas the interior is a mixture of Mediterranean and Art Modern elements.
Currently, the Fox Theatre is one of the most popular venues to see live performances featuring top musicians, comedians, ballets, pop artists, and rock performers. The theatre is one of the oldest live performance theaters in the world, and if you wish to enjoy the best quality entertainment, you may visit this place. Don’t worry about your accommodation because the theatre has the best hotel in Bakersfield at affordable price nearby.
4. Beale Memorial Library
The Beale Memorial Library, also known as the Baker Street Library, is the oldest in Bakersfield, dating back to the early 1900s. This building is constructed in a Classical Revival style with an interior that is influenced by the themes of classical and Renaissance architecture. As the only Clark-designed building in Bakersfield, the library building is the only one that has survived.
The building has two wings on each end and a central block. There is a main entrance located in the east wing of the building. It is possible to spend some time in the library reading a book or simply enjoying its interior.
5. Gordon’s Ferry Historic Landmark
A historic site as well as a geographical landmark, Gordon’s Ferry Historic Landmark serves both historical and cultural purposes in Bakersfield. It is located 1,000 feet south of Round Mountain Road, southeast of the Kern River Bridge. The site is named after the ferry that was operated by Major Gordon during the 1850s. Although it was operational for a short period, it was eventually abandoned and left as a landmark.
In today’s day and age, locals can be seen fishing or strolling through this area throughout the day. There is a good opportunity to fish for smallmouth bass here, as well as some larger ones. The area is not ideal for swimming, and it is therefore recommended that you refrain from doing so.
All in all, these 5 Bakersfield historical buildings are worth checking out if you are planning a Bakersfield tour. Also, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, visiting these monuments will take at least 2-3 days, so book the room in the best hotel in Bakersfield for accommodations.