Incorporated in 1898, Bakersfield is located in the County of Kern and is the county seat. The City of Bakersfield covers approximately 115 square miles (metro area is 224 square miles) and is 492 feet above sea level. Located at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield is partially surrounded by three mountain ranges: The Tremblor to the west, the Tehachapis to the south and the Sierra Nevadas to the east. The Kern River flows through the valley, adding natural beauty to the area.
The discovery of gold in the bed of the Kern River in 1851 attracted the first wave of pioneers. Four years later, the discovery of oil brought more and more people, growth, development and diversity into the area. Early settler Colonel Thomas Baker purchased a 170-acre parcel and began land reclamation in 1873. Fencing off ten acres of alfalfa to feed the horses of travelers, Baker was later appointed to survey the area for a formal township in 1869. It was suggested that the new town be called Bakersfield because it was already known to wayfarers as Baker’s field.
Bakersfield was designated an All America City in 1990 by the National Civic League. Its centralized proximity to the mountains, coast, Los Angeles and San Francisco, plus convenient access to a network of highways, rail and air services, make Bakersfield an ideal place to live, work and play.