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Historic Bakersfield and Kern County

   Much has been written about this region of California, but the histories on these pages deal with people and events that others overlooked or ignored. If you have corrections or questions, please contact me at

   My other research papers are hosted at Michigan State University with Humanities Commons and MESH Research. ( )

  Although I've copyrighted the histories, download what you want for your own personal use.  I only ask that you include a link back to this site. Teachers, these histories are free for your professional use.-Gilbert Peter Gia

  Commercial interests: Honor my copyright by inquiring for permission to use. 

  The histories are in PDF format. Adobe Reader® works well, and it's  free at

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About Gilbert Peter Gia

I was raised in Bakersfield, taught 32 years in city schools and in 2002 turned my attention to local history.  Without my wife's patience and understanding these histories would not exist.  I am past president of the Kern County Historical Society. My work has variously appeared in the Bakersfield Californian; Bakersfield Magazine; The Blackboard; publications of the Kern County Historical Society; Quarterly of the Kern Genealogical Society; Quarterly of the Tulare County Historical Society; newsletter of the Golden Empire Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Levan Humanities Review at Bakersfield College; City College of New York at Humanity Commons; and The Pulse, the monthly publication of Kern Division, California Retired Teachers' Association. I am co-author of  _Peasant in a Paper Suit_ , the biography of local wrestling promoter Steve Strelich, ISBN 1466464941 .  I'm author of Race, Sports, and Black Unity, 1875-1988: Voices From Chops Lawrence’s Bakersfield , ISBN 978-1-7338860-0-0 and A History of the Kern County Fair, 1871-1952: Racing, Rodeos, Giant Pumpkins, Lop-Eared Rabbits and Big Tops.  ISBN 978-1-7338-8601-7. “This is the first complete-as-humanly-possible history of the Kern County Fair through 1952. Inside are exhaustively researched and documented details of the business goings-on that made Kern fairs possible from the mid-1870s to the Great Quake of 1952. Included throughout are scores of fun, nostalgic, sweet, and thrilling stories and descriptions of horse races, rodeos, hot-air balloons, death-defying aerial performers, speed demons, musicians, and spectators of the time.”

     --The  train logo in each of the histories is my acknowledgment of the  impact that railroads brought to Kern County. --

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