The oldest settlement in Tehachapi Valley, known as ‘Old Town,’ was established here during the 1860s. It was long an important station on the road between Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The community began to decline when residents gradually removed to nearby Greenwich, later renamed Tehachapi, after completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1876.
From this spot may be seen a portion of the world-renowned Loop completed in 1876 under the direction of William Hood, Southern Pacific railroad engineer. In gaining elevation around the central hill of the Loop, a 4,000-foot train will cross 77 feet above its rear cars in the tunnel below.
In front of you is the world famous Tehachapi Loop which is about halfway upgrade to the Tehachapi Pass. This steep line averages 2.2% in gradient in its 28 miles of length. This feat of civil engineering genius was crowning achievement of civil engineer William Hood of the Southern Pacific Railway Company. It is one of the seven wonders of the railroad world.
The Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line was cut through solid and decomposed granite by up to 3000 Chinese laborers from Canton, China. They used picks, shovels, horse drawn carts and blasting powder. This line, which climbs out of the San Joaquin Valley and through the Tehachapi Mountains had 18 tunnels, 10 bridges and numerous water towers for the old steam locomotives. It was completed in less than 2 years time under the leadership of civil engineer J.B. Harris, Chief of Construction, a remarkable feat.
This line was part of the last and final link of the first railroad line connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles. It was a primary factor in the early growth of the City of Los Angeles and the State of California.
This single track line, essentially unchanged, is still in constant use today, 122 years after its completion. It passes an average of 36 freight trains each day. This attests to the superior job of both engineering and construction done by the two civil engineers and the Chinese laborers.
Named for Edward F. Beale, this station on the Southern Pacific rail line was established in 1876 as a depot and telegraph office. Service was discontinued in 1913. Beale was superintendent of California Indian Affairs during the 1850’s. In 1865 he became owner of the adjacent Rancho El Tejon.
This historic marker was dedicated July 15, 1962 and placed by Kern County Historical Society.
It is California Historic Landmark #741 – see others on this page.
The Lost Hills post office opened in 1911, closed in 1912, re-opened in 1913 (having transferred it from Cuttens), and moved in 1937. At one time, the Post Office was a small rented room, in the Edmondson’s cafe and bar. Later it was a small mobile home size building. In 2012-2013, Paramount Farms, the company 75% of the population works for, gave the small town of Lost Hills a helping hand with the reopening of the Lost Hills park. In 2012, the town of Lost Hills underwent through infrastructure projects like new sidewalks paved and gentrification in the town. By 2014, new housing developments start to spring up in the town of Lost Hills.
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 Garcés 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.