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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.
A large aftershock occurred on July 29, and did minor architectural damage, but raised fears that the flow of the Friant-Kern Canal could be dangerously altered, potentially flooding the city and surrounding areas.Aftershocks, for the next month, had become normal to Bakersfield residents, until August 22 at pm a 5.8 earthquake struck directly under the town's center in the most densely populated area of the southern San Joaquin Valley.Four people died in the aftershock, and some of the town's historic structures sustained heavy damage. communities to receive the All-America City Award from the National Civic League.Kern County is the most productive oil producing county, 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 Garcés became the first European to explore the area.