| United States of America|
6.8% (Dec 2014)
143.609 sq mi
San Joaquin Valley
| Kern County Museum, Buck Owens Crystal Palace, California Living Museum, Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, Rabobank Theater and Convention Center|
California State University - Bakersfield, Bakersfield College, San Joaquin Valley College - Bakersfield, Kaplan College-Bakersfield, Milan Institute-Bakersfield
Bakersfield is a city near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County, California. It is roughly equidistant between Fresno and Los Angeles, which are 110 mi (180 km) to the north and south, respectively. In the 2010 census, the city’s population was 347,483, making it the 9th largest city in California and the 52nd largest city in the United States. The city is also the county seat for Kern County, which encompasses the entire MSA and is the third largest county in California by area. The total Bakersfield inner urban area, which includes East Bakersfield and Rosedale, has a population of about 464,000.
Bakersfield is the focal point of the larger Bakersfield-Delano, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is coextensive with Kern County. In 2010, it had a population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in United States.
Bakersfield has a very diverse economy. Kern County is the most productive oil producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Other industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate/regional headquarters.
Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating back thousands of years. The Yokuts lived in lodges along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garces became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts remained largely isolated until after the Mexican War of Independence, when Mexican settlers began to migrate to the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley. 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 periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.
Bakersfield lies near the southern "horseshoe" end of the San Joaquin Valley, with the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada just to the east. The city limits extend to the Sequoia National Forest, 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 Range, behind which is the Carrizo Plain National Monument and the San Andreas Fault. The Temblor Range is about 35 mi (56 km) from Bakersfield across the valley floor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 143.6 sq mi (372 km2), of which 142.2 sq mi (368 km2) is land (98.99%) and 1.4 sq mi (3.6 km2) is covered by water (1.01%).
At the 2000 census, the city had a total area of 114.4 sq mi (296 km2), of which 113.1 sq mi (293 km2) was land (98.86%) and 1.3 sq mi (3.4 km2) was water-covered (1.14%).
Bakersfield lies around 100 miles (160 km) north of Los Angeles (about a 1½-hour drive on I-5 and State Route 99) and about 300 mi (480 km) southeast of the state capital, Sacramento (about a 4½-hour drive on State Route 99).
Bakersfield’s historic and primary industries have related to Kern County’s two main industries, oil and agriculture. Kern County is the most oil productive county in America, with around 10% of the nation’s domestic production. Kern County is a part of the highly productive San Joaquin Valley, and ranks in the top five most productive agricultural counties in the nation. Major crops for Kern County include: grapes, citrus, almonds, carrots, alfalfa, cotton, and roses. The city serves as the home for both corporate and regional headquarters of companies engaged in these industries.
Many of Bakersfields oldest and most historic restaurants are Basque, including Woolgrowers, Noriegas, Pyrenees, Benjis, and Narduccis.
The Kern County Museum, located on Chester Avenue just north of downtown Bakersfield holds a 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 Childrens Discovery Museum", a hands-on childrens museum and a display on the influential "Bakersfield Sound" style of country music. Bakersfield is also home to the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, which has a collection of Miocene era marine fossils collected from the region as well as other displays.