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Huell Howser's California's Gold

California's Gold -- Bakersfield and Kern County

View California's Gold episodes relating to Bakersfield and Kern County.

Bakersfield Road TripBakersfield Road Trip (#112) 5/25/2002
Huell samples Basque food, visits a Tule Elk reserve and tours country music legend Buck Owen's Crystal Palace.

Lopez-Hill HouseLopez-Hill House (#11015) 1/14/2009
J.J. Lopez, the longtime manager of the Tejon Ranch who helped shape Kern Countys history, built his Victorian-style home in Bakersfield in 1909. In the 1960s, the home was occupied by Arlin and Lavern Hill, who migrated from Oklahoma after the devastating effects of the Dust Bowl. Now, this long-overlooked California landmark has finally been renovated and preserved thanks to local fundraising efforts. Huell meets the descendants of the Lopez and Hill families, who share their story of how their house was moved to its permanent location at the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield.

Tehachapi Road TripTehachapi Road Trip (#104) 4/24/2001
Join Huell as he tries to get to Tehachapi, only to keep stumbling across many roadside gems like: a movie set built in the middle of the desert, a lake with no water, the Antelope Valley Indian Museum, and the Mojave airport--filled with hundreds of aircraft from all over the world, including a MiG Fighter. Finally, Huell arrives in Tehachapi to visit with Betty Stokoe and her backyard full of railroad signals. This is just a hint of what Huell's in for next--the world-famous Tehachapi Loop, an amazing stretch of track where trains come through a tunnel and loop back over themselves on this State and National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Sharks Tooth HillSharks Tooth Hill (#9012) 11/8/2006
Huell visits a massive archelogical site with millions of fossils dating from the Miocene Epoch, 15 million years ago. Kern County was once at the bottom of a huge sea filled with massive prehistoric sharks called megladons which were as big as city busses and fed on whales. Sharktooth Hill is literally covered with fossilized shark teeth. Huell also visits the Buena Vista Museum, which houses amazing archeological finds recovered from Sharktooth Hill.

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History is located in the heart of downtown Bakersfield. It houses an impressive display of fossils frm the Miocene Epoch which was 14 -16 million years ago. The fossils were found in the foothills northeast of Bakersfield, known as the Sharktooth Hill area. Kern County is home to over 100 square miles of fossil beds from the Miocene Epoch. While Sharktooth Hill is closed to the general public, you can arrange to go on a paleontology dig through the Buena Vista Museum and keep some real shark teeth, too.

Noriega's Basque RestaurantNoriega's Basque Restaurant (#8005) 1/9/1009
Huell's off to Noriega's Basque Restaurant in Bakersfield where he not only enjoys an amazing meal, but he is treated to wonderful stories about the Basque culture in the area. BHS Class of 1956 alumna, Jeannette Erassaret, is featured.

Ridge RouteRidge Route Road Trip (#122) 9/25/2003
Completed in 1915, the Ridge Route was carved from the San Gabriel Mountains by workers using mule-drawn dirt scrapers. From ridge top to ridge top, they cleared a 20 foot-wide roadway which was the first direct route between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, uniting Northern and Southern California. Today, a 30-mile portion of the abandoned Ridge Route between Castaic and Gorman, can be found hidden in the mountains just east of Interstate 5 which long ago replaced it. Huell is joined by Harrison Scott, a retired Pacific Bell engineer, who,with the help of U.S. Forest Service archaeologists, was largely responsible for landing part of this engineering marvel on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Together, they recreate a journey along the Ridge Route, complete with Model Ts and stops at the remnants of the inns, cafes and service stations that once marked its many twists and curves.

Oil WorkersOil Workers (#13002) 11/8/2010
Join Huell as he travels to the town of Taft to celebrate it's 100 years as an incorporated city with a celebration called Oildorado Days that takes everyone back to a time when rugged pioneers carved out a bustling community in the middle of one of the world's most productive oil fields. There is everything from an oil field skills contest, queen pageant, melodrama and a petroleum industry trade show. We cap off the adventure with a dedication of a huge bronze statue of an oil worker that is sure to become a focal point of this historic town.

Oildorado Road TripOildorado Road Trip (#137) 9/25/2006
Huell attends the City of Taft's 95 anniversary, a celebration filled with food, parades, dances and many other activities. It's a tribute to the families which make up the community, as well as its rich oil history.

CottonCotton (#8004) 1/9/2006
California is the fifth largest cotton-producing state, while the San Joaquin Valley is the heart of California cotton country. Huell spends a day in Buttonwillow, which calls itself the "Cotton Capitol of California" and has a great time out in the fields. For historical purposes, he picks cotton the old-fashioned way, and then steps into the future and learns about a new, state-of-the-art cotton gin.

Kern River PreserveKern River Preserve (#10003) 1/10/2006
Huell visits the Kern River Preserve with its natural beauty, wildflowers and turkey vultures.

Groundwater BankingGroundwater Banking (#118) 12/8/2008
Groundwater basins have long played a critical role in meeting California's water needs. Today, many local water agencies are pursuing groundwater banking to maximize water resources and improve local water supply reliability. Groundwater banking programs allow surface water to be captured in wet periods and stored in groundwater basins for use in dry times Huell visits two agencies that are putting these practices to work. Kern Water Bank Authority is the largest known underground water storage and recovery facility in the world with over 1 million-acre feet of storage capacity. The Vern Freeman Diversion Facility diverts water from the Santa Clara River that would otherwise be lost to the ocean. This is but one project in a series designed to combat seawater intrusion and conserve and protect the water supply for 325,000 people in Ventura County.

Red Rock Canyon State ParkRed Rock Canyon State Park (#163)
Located just off highway 14, Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is not only rich in natural beauty, but has a deep human history as well. From the native Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs, to the 1870s 20-mule team freight wagons that stopped for water. There are also the remains of 1890s-era mining operations, and the area has been the site for a number of movies.Located just off highway 14, Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is not only rich in natural beauty, but has a deep human history as well. From the native Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs, to the 1870s 20-mule team freight wagons that stopped for water. There are also the remains of 1890s-era mining operations, and the area has been the site for a number of movies.

Lunar LandingLunar Landing (#13003) 11/8/2010
Huell travels to Edwards, California to visit Dryden Flight Research Center, which is NASA's primary center for atmospheric flight research and operations. Before man could walk on the moon, they had to land safely and the Lunar Lander needed a lot of fine-tuning. Huell meets up with some of the men who spent many hours working on and flying that amazing craft in preparation for the first moon landing.

PetroglyphsPetroglyphs (#10012) 1/13/2008
Huell travels to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake to see some rock art that is arguably the largest concentration within the Western Hemisphere, and can number 6000 images just in one small canyon area of 1.5 miles alone. Though an accurate dating technique is still being sought, it is thought that certain petroglyphs date as much as 16,000 years old, with others made as recently as 1800. This rock art is so important to our cultural heritage and our knowledge of the desert's past that in 1964 the sites were listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Tejon RanchTejon Ranch (#129) 5/7/2006
Special one hour show all about the 270,000 acre Tejon Ranch. Huell sees the diverse beauty of this enormous ranch and and learns about its rich history.

WeedpatchWeedpatch (#601) 12/10/1995
Huell learns that many "Okies" fled the Dust Bowl in their jalopies with signs reading "California or Bust." Out of options, they often ended up at the "Weedpatch camp," a federal labor and living camp for migrant workers in Kern County. Huell visits this historic camp, later immortalized in John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath," and talks with both the "Okies" who grew up there and the Latinos who now call it home.

WascoWasco (#133) 8/12/2007
The small town of Wasco in Kern County is famous for its roses. There's nothing like acres and acres of rose bushes to stimulate the eyes and your nose. Huell gets a behind the scenes tour of how rose bushes are harvested, packaged and shipped to nurseries and home centers all over the country. He'll also hook up with a couple of town historians who show him the rest of Wasco and teach him about the town's rich history.

California FlowersCalifornia Flowers (#506) 6/1/1994
One of Huell's favorite things is when California blooms anew, bringing forth a striking display of flowers. Huell visits three places across the state where the splendor of California is in full bloom: Daffodil Hill in the Gold Country, the Ranunculas fields of Carlsbad Ranch, and the California Poppy Reserve in Antelope Valley all amazing vistas where swaths of color stretch as far as the eye can see.

Things That Crawl in the NightThings That Crawl in the Night (#309) 12/10/1992
Join Huell and encounter the endangered kangaroo rat at Carrizo Plain Natural Area, considered the best example of the fragile ecosystem in the San Joaquin Valley; then experience first hand one of nature's unique phenomenon: the grunion run, this one at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.

OilOil (#609) 11/8/1995
Huell finds out how oil made Kern County great, visiting the vast Midway-Sunset Field which is the top oil-producing field in the lower 48 states and the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, which has one of the last huge wooden derricks in existence. Huell's last stop is the site of the Lakeview Gusher, which at the turn of the century was the largest gusher in the United States.

Camel and BisonCamel and Bison (#709) 1/8/1996
Huell goes in search of two animals found in our state today which aren't supposed to be here. First, he travels to Catalina Island in search of historic buffalo the descendants of fourteen which were brought over from the mainland for a silent movie shot in 1924. Next, Huell travels to Ft. Tejon State Historic Park between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, in search of camels used during the 1850's by the U.S. Army in hopes of developing improved transportation across the arid west. It was dubbed the "great camel experiment" and was a bizarre chapter in our states history book.

A Tale of Two CitiesA Tale of Two Cities (#308) 12/10/1992
Join Huell and visit Allensworth, now a state historic park, California's only community founded, financed and governed by African Americans during the early 1900s; tour old and new Kernville as area residents recount their experiences; and go whitewater rafting down the wild and scenic Kern River, one of the fastest flowing rivers in the nation.

RandsburgRandsburg (#10010) 1/13/2008
Huell visits the historic and remote mining town of Randsburg.

Dry Lake BedDry Lake Bed (#708) 1/8/1996
Huell visits a dry lake bed in the Mojave desert that is so hard and so gigantic that it is the site of Edwards Air Force Base and a landing strip for the Space Shuttle. In the 1920's and 30's it was also used by hot-rodders from all over Southern California as a speed trails course for their fast cars. Muroc Dry Lake has remained off-limits since WWII, until recently when the Air Force re-opened the dry lake bed, inviting back all the old-timers for a weekend of racing. Thousands of car enthusiasts showed up for this historic event.

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