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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 "...To the west is the Temblor Range, behind which is the Carrizo Plain National Monument and the San Andreas Fault.The Temblor Range is about 35 mi (56 km) from Bakersfield across the valley floor.) was water-covered (1.14%).Migration from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Southern California brought new residents, who were mostly employed by the oil industry.The First Baptist Church building, which survived the 1952 earthquake and is now a commercial use structure, is one of several buildings in Bakersfield listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production.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.Wanting to fire him but fearing reprisals, they came up with a scheme to disincorporate, effectively leaving him without an employer.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.

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Bakersfield lies around 100 miles (160 km) north of Los Angeles (about a 1½-hour drive on I-5 and State Route 99) and about 300 mi (480 km) southeast of the state capital, Sacramento (about a 4½-hour drive on State Route 99).