In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area.
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.
Alexander Mills was hired as the city marshal, a man one historian would describe as "...
an old man by the time he became Marshal of Bakersfield, and he walked with a cane.
According to local historian Gilbert Gia By 1880, the town had a population of 801, and by 1890, it had a population of 2,626.
Migration from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Southern California brought new residents, who were mostly employed by the oil industry.
The earthquake's destructive force also bent cotton fields into U shapes, slid a shoulder of the Tehachapi Mountains across all four lanes of the Ridge Route, collapsed a water tower creating a flash flood, and destroyed the railroad tunnels in the mountain chain.
Bakersfield was spared, experiencing minor architectural damage without loss of life.
Bakersfield has historically referred to its regions by directional names.