Forty miles northeast of Bakersfield is the historic pioneer community of Glennville, named after the Glenn brothers who had settled there in the early 1850s during the days of the California Gold Rush. Perhaps, however, the town could have been named Fitzgeraldville in honor of Thomas Fitzgerald who had already established a home there when the Glenns arrived. Thomas Fitzgerald—aka “Old Mountain Man”—had built an adobe dwelling that would stand the test of time; it remains standing today as the oldest known residence of Kern County.
Fitzgerald used his tamped-earth building as a trading post and—positioned at the intersection of two ancient Native American trails—traded with tribes and white travelers (mostly trappers and hunters). Later restored by the Kern County Museum, this structure maintains much of its original essence. It still has its original ceiling rafters and a hand-hewn oak door hung by hand-forged iron hinges.
In 1951, this site was registered as No. 495 California Historical Landmark. This historically significant adobe building and a commemorative plaque are located next to the Kern County Fire Department – Glennville Substation, on Evans Road (Highway 155) at post mile 40.2 in Glennville.
Kern County was named after the Kern River, which Captain John C. Frémont had named in honor of Edward Kern (a topographer who traveled with him throughout the west during his 1845-46 expedition). Established in 1866 from parts of Los Angeles and Tulare Counties, this county is known for its early explorers and trailblazers and its historical travel routes. Important routes such as the Grapevine, the Butterfield Overland Route, Walker's Pass, and the Tejon and Tehachapi Passes are all a part of this county.
About this Establishment
California Historical Landmarks Program
Historical Landmarks are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of statewide significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value. Historical Landmarks are eligible for registration if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type in the state or within a large geographic region
2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of California
3) Is a prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in a region of a pioneer architect, designer or master builder
California’s Landmark Program began in the late 1800s with the formation of the Landmarks Club and the California Historical Landmarks League. In 1931, the program became official when legislation charged the Department of Natural Resources—and later the California State Chamber of Commerce—with registering and marking buildings of historical interest or landmarks.
In 1948, Governor Earl Warren created the California Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee to increase the integrity and credibility of the program. Finally, this committee was changed to the California Historical Resources Commission in 1974. Information about registered landmarks numbered 770 onward is kept in the California Register of Historical Resources authoritative guide. Landmarks numbered 669 and below were registered prior to establishing specific standards, and may be added to the California Register when criteria for evaluating the properties are adopted.
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