Bakersfield was settled in 1858
by a handful of families who had trekked northward through the
El Tejon Pass seeking home sites rather than gold. The town
was named by an early settler, Colonel Thomas Baker, who invited
the weary travelers through the valley to rest overnight. These
travelers would plan in advance to meet and rest in "Colonel
Baker's field." Baker formally laid out the town in
1869, and within two years the city had a telegraph office, two
stores, a newspaper, two boarding houses, one doctor, a wagon shop,
a harness shop, one attorney, a saloon, and fifty school pupils. The
Bakersfield Centennial Garden and Convention Center rests on part
of the original Colonel Baker's field as well as the Centennial
Plaza community park.
The City of Bakersfield
was first incorporated in 1873, and in the same year, the County
seat was moved from the booming little town of Havilah to Bakersfield. Three
years later, the town decided to disincorporate. It was not
until 1898 that the community incorporated again. The 1910,
the City of Kern, formerly the Town of Sumner (East Bakersfield),
annexed to the City of Bakersfield.
In 1915, the citizens
of the City of Bakersfield adopted a charter calling
for the city to operate under the council-manager
form of government. This charter provides that the governing
body of the city shall be the city council composed
of seven members, one to be elected from each of the seven
wards of the city for four years, overlapping terms, with a
mayor elected from the council. In 1957, the charter was
amended to elect a mayor at large.
Bakersfield was one
of the first cities in the United States to adopt the council-manager
form of government. This type of government provides
that the city council adopts ordinances; appoints members of various
committees, boards, and commissions; and establishes general policies
for the city. Final determination of all city policies rests
with the seven members of the city council. The council also
appoints a city manager to implement council policies.
Many changes have been
many since Colonel Baker's time, but Bakersfield still retains
the hospitality originally extended by the Colonel.
Copyright @ 1998 - 2013 - City of Bakersfield. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: 1600 Truxtun Avenue., Bakersfield, California 93301
Phone: (661) 326-3000 | Business Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Monday through
Friday except Holidays.