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East Bakersfield
Region in Bakersfield
Country United States
State California
County County of Kern
City City of Bakersfield
Founded 1876
Incorporated 1892
Annexed 1910
Subdistricts of East Bakersfield
 • Total 4.00 sq mi (10.4 km2)
ZIP Code
Area Code 661

East Bakersfield is a region in Bakersfield, California directly east of downtown. The region was formerly known as the town of Sumner, which was later incorporated and renamed Kern City. It is primarily a mixture of residential and commercial developments. It also contains a small business district (which was the downtown for Kern City) centered on the intersection of Baker Street, and Sumner Avenue. Census data is provided on the right for the time period when the region was an independent town and city. It is part of the Bakersfield Urban area of almost 500,000 people.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 242
1890 622 157.0%
1900 1,291 107.6%
US Census

In 1874, the Southern Pacific railroad was extended to the southern San Joaquin Valley. Bakersfield was positioned to be a whistle-stop, but a land dispute developed between the city and the railroad. Southern Pacific wanted two blocks of land from the city, Bakersfield was only willing to give one block. The result of the dispute was Southern Pacific building its tracks five miles east of Bakersfield and founding their own town. That town was called Sumner in honor of Joseph W. Sumner, and mine owner and judge. It would eventually become East Bakersfield. The Sumner post office opened in 1876.

Since the train went through Sumner, instead of Bakersfield, it was a serious competitor to the city. However, the citizens of Bakersfield rallied, and maintained a presence in their city. By 1888, a street car line was built between Bakersfield and Sumner. The route was down 19th St, and was the only road that connected the two settlements.

By 1892, Sumner, which was now known as Kern City, would incorporate into a city. The city of Bakersfield, which deincorporated (or dissolved as a city) in 1874, was then reconsidered to become a separate city. Six years later, Bakersfield voted to reincorporate, and became a city again... including East Bakersfield . It was also the same year Bakersfield became its own whistle-stop with the building of the San Francisco and San Joaquin Railroad, which was later bought by Santa Fe.

With the construction of the railroad, the need for "Kern City" in east Bakersfield diminished. By 1910, Kern City voted to join Bakersfield. It also became known as East Bakersfield. This was Bakersfield’s first major expansion outside its historic central area. Many of the city's transit locations were in East Bakersfield. These included a second fire station, another library (Baker Street Branch), and a new high school (East Bakersfield High School).

Old Town Kern

Old Town Kern is located primarily around Baker Street, and was the former central business district for the town of Sumner (which was later renamed Kern City). This was the location of the original train station in Bakersfield and competed to be the commercial downtown, eventually losing to the present location west of Old Town. This district is home to many Basque cuisine restaurants.

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