Proudly Serving Car,Truck & Hot Rod Owners Since 1969

* Car Audio & Video Systems
* Car Alarm Systems
* Keyless Entry Systems
* Remote Ignition Systems
* GPS, Ipod, Ipad & Wi-Fi Systems
* Installations, Repairs & Custom Designs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



From the earliest days of radio, enthusiasts had adapted domestic equipment to use in their cars. The commercial introduction of the fitted car radio came in the 1930s from the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. Galvin Manufacturing was owned and operated by Paul V. Galvin and his brother Joseph E. Galvin. The Galvin brothers purchased a battery eliminator business in 1928 and the corporation’s first product was a battery eliminator that allowed vacuum tube battery-powered radios to run on standard household electric current (see alsoRogers Majestic Batteryless Radio). In 1930, the Galvin Corporation introduced one of the first commercial car radios, the Motorola model 5T71, which sold for between $110 and $130 (2009: $1,700) and could be installed in most popular automobiles. Founders Paul Galvinand Joe Galvin came up with the name ‘Motorola‘ when his company started manufacturing car radios. A number of early companies making phonographsradios, and other audio equipment in the early 20th century used the suffix “-ola,” the most famous being Victrola;RCA made a “radiola”; there was also a company that made jukeboxes called Rock-Ola, and a film-editing device called a Moviola. The Motorola prefix “motor-” was chosen because the company’s initial focus was in automotive electronics.

In Germany Blaupunkt fitted their first radio to a Studebaker in 1932 and in the United Kingdom Crossley offered a factory fitted wireless in their 10 hp models from 1933. The early car radio receivers used the battery voltage (6.3 volts at the time) to run the vacuum tube filaments, and generated the required high voltage for the plate supply using a vibrator to drive a step-up transformer. The receivers required more stages than the typical home receiver in order to ensure that enough gain was available to allow the AGC to mask signal fading as the car was driven. When cars switched to 12-volt batteries, the same arrangement was used, with tubes with 12-volt heaters. In 1952 Blaupunkt became the first maker to offer FM receivers.


A common feature of modern car radios is the “seek” function which allows tuning from one station to the next at the push of a button. This was a popular option on some Ford products in the 1950s. It was known as the “Town & Country” radio since it used a pair of switches marked “Town” and “Country.” Pressing the Town button actuated a motor to rotate the tuning mechanism while the receiver sensitivity was reduced so that only local (stronger) signals would be received. When a station was tuned, the motor stopped. Pressing the Country button had the same effect except that full sensitivity was enabled so that the very next available station would be selected. In addition, for repeated seeking operations, pressing a foot switch on the driver’s floor up to the left where the “dead pedal” is located on modern cars would reactivate the Seek at whatever sensitivity was last selected.


The introduction of semiconductors (transistors) allowed the output stage to change to a transistor, which soon lead to the elimination of the vibrator, and the use of “space charge” tubes that only required 12 volts on their plates without a high voltage plate power supply (typical example was the 6GM8/ECC86). Advances in electronics allowed additions to the basic radio and Motorola offered 16 2/3 rpm disc players fitted to some Chryslers known as Highway Hi-Fi from as early as 1956[1][2] and ran through 1958. Records were produced under license byColumbia “Special Products” division and sold exclusively through Chrysler dealers. The 45 rpm record player was introduced in 1959 and ran through the early 60″s under the RCA and ARC brand. Earl “Madman” Muntz introduced the “4-track” tape player in the early ’60s using a continuous loop cartidge and was the first commercially available “car stereo. Tape players using reel to reel equipment followed, but their bulk ensured limited popularity. This changed in 1964 when Philips launched the Compact Cassette. During the ’60s Lear invented and introduced the 8track cartridge in competition with the cassette system. Other early manufacturers and enthusiasts began building extra audio amplifiers to run on 12 volts (the standard voltage in automotive electrical systems). Jim Fosgate, later to become the founder of Rockford Fosgate, was one such pioneer. The company a/d/s also brought an amplifier to market in 1978.


In 1983, Zed Audio became the first company to build a 2000 watt per channel car amplifier, which was invented by company founder Steven Mantz. At first, speakers from the home audio and professional markets were simply installed into vehicles. However, they were not well suited to the extremes of temperature and vibration which are a normal part of the environment of an automobile. Different manufacturing techniques, and different component materials were used in construction to adapt to these conditions.

Car audio competitions started in the early 1980s

The first known occurred in 1981 in Bakersfield, CA and evolved into an annual event. It was called The Summertime Car Show and Sound Off Competition, which at its height drew upwards of 300 contestants and continued into the 1990s. The Summertime Car Show and Sound Off Competition began as a promotional event for Cars on Camera, a magazine founded by owners Steve Silver and Scott Burud. Since the magazine derived a large part of its advertising revenue from local car stereo shops (TransLex, AutoSounds and others) it made sense to hold a sound off competition in order to create higher demand for magazine ad space. The original event took place in the parking lot of the local Zody’s chain store on Ming Avenue, in Bakersfield, CA. However, the following year it was moved to the Kern County fairgrounds in order to accommodate the thousands of participants. By the second year, the event added a men’s great legs contest and a bikini contest that attracted contestants from all over California. Cars on Camera changed its name to Camera Ads, which was then sold to Buck Owens Productions.

The most important of these were CAN (formed by Alpine) and NACA (supported by shop owners and amp manufacturers). Both organizations sanctioned countrywide regional events and hosted National Championship events in the late 1980s. They merged to form IASCA in 1990. Despite the move to “quality” based judging, volume was still a significant portion of most early 1990s competitions. Since then, the two styles—SPL vs. sound quality—have become almost mutually exclusive. The loudness competitions have become known as dB drag racing. Currently, Mobile Electronics Australia, an independent organisation conducts Sound Quality Competitions (MEASQ) and SPL Competitions (Bass Battle) nationally in Australia. These formats were developed by enthusiast Marc Rushton, the founder of one of the largest enthusiast organizations known as Mobile Electronics Australia.

Common components and terms

Stock unit

stock car audio system refers to the OEM application that the vehicle’s manufacturer specified to be installed when the car was built and nowadays at least includes a CD-radio, withMP3 player and an aux-in. A large after market industry exists where the consumer can at their desire replace or complement many or all components of the stock system (i.e. kits to include a USB port and A2DP bluetooth to the stock radio-CD). Nowadays, the most valued port (40% of the users) is the USB.[3]

Head unit

Panasonic single DIN head unit, combining radio, CD and MP3

In modern cars, the primary control device for an audio system is commonly referred to as a head unit, and is installed in the center of the dash panel between the driver and the passenger. In older vehicles that had audio components as an option, such devices were mounted externally to the top of or underneath the dash.

The headunit itself is usually a multi-purpose device that houses multiple types of components in its housing. The most common components are a radio receiver/tuner usually with AM and FM bands, and a small amplifier for driving an audio signal to speakers. Other possible components include various media devices, such as (in older vehicles) a tape player (either 8-track or cassette), CD playerDVD playerUSBflash memory, and even a portable hard disk drive typically used in notebook computing. Many head units also feature a DSP component, andequalization component (such as bass and treble controls), or a control interface for another feature on the car (such as a back-up/parking camera, navigation system, trip odometer, etc.).

Due to auto manufacturing differences over the years, aftermarket headunit products are manufactured in multiple form factors. The primarily used size is mostly referred to by its legacy name of DIN, which refers to ISO 7736. DIN headunits come as single DIN or double DIN. A third less common standard is used mostly by Chrysler group and for a time Mitsubishi in their OEM devices.


A set of speaker drivers removed from a passenger vehicle.

Car speakers are largely functionally identical to any other loudspeaker design with key components specialized for use in mobile environments, and generally serve an identical purpose. One major key design difference is mult-axial mounting of different types of loudspeakers in the same footprint, such as a tweeter directly mounted over a woofer. Another key difference is non-circular cone shapes, such as square, oval, or even triangular. Both of these features reflect a significant reduction in space and size that a speaker may occupy in a vehicle cabin.

Material construction may also include more exotic and hearty components more suitable to mobile use. Marine speakers may have plating for corrosion resistance. Cones may be coated with a substance to resist expansion and contraction under high vehicle cabin temperatures, known to reach 140 °F (60 °C) in the sun. Subwoofers may also be found in mobile audio applications where a cabin speaker may lack the desired low frequency response on its own.

Before stereo radio was introduced, the most common speaker location was in the middle of the dashboard pointing through perforations towards the front windshield. In most modern applications, speakers are mounted certain common locations including the front deck (or dash), the rear deck (or parcel shelf), the kick panel (located in the footwell below the A-pillar,) or the doors. In the case of subwoofers, mountings are usually under the seat or in the trunk. Each position has certain strengths and limitations from both a quality of sound, and a vehicle manufacturing perspective.

5.1 and even 7.1 channel surround sound systems, as well as


A car audio amplifier.

Basically a mobile audio amplifier, a car ‘amp’ is a term used to refer to a dedicated electronic amplifier separated from the other components of the system. Though most head units have an amplifier, some do not, or lack the desired power or additional features (e.g., equalization controls or crossover systems). External amplification is available and most often used when existing amplification is insufficient. External amplifiers can be mounted in a different part of the car than the “head unit”; in many cases, an additional amp is mounted in the trunk. This is usually the case when powering a subwoofer, where desired wattage may be several multiples more compared to other cabin speakers.

Though less common, OEM external amplification can be found in ‘premium’ audio packages, or in luxury cars. More common is aftermarket amplification installed later to satisfy the expansion of an existing system in some way. During operation, it is common for a vehicle’s charging system to fluctuate, so a regulated amplifier will maintain its power output regardless of voltage fluctuation. Amplifiers rated at 100 watts at 14.4 volts can not be regarded equal as to an amplifier that can maintain 100 watts at 12 volts. Outside of certain standards, it is not uncommon for manufacturers to list a 14.4 rating and not post a 12 volt value.


Subwoofers are a specific type of loudspeaker for low frequency reproduction. Mobile ‘subs’ are not very different from any other application of sub in terms of construction. However it is more common in aftermarket that visual aesthetics take on a more significant role in design than other types of sub drivers, including high contrast paint schemes, grill covers, translucent or refractive materials. Typical subwoofer drivers range in size from an 8″ diameter to 10″, 12″ or 15″; more rarely, some car systems may have 18″, 21″, 22″, 24″ or even 32″ subwoofers.

A subwoofer is used when existing low frequency production is unsatisfactory, either in frequency range or in volume. Design goals have led to subwoofer, both drivers alone and whole packages, with some extreme difference from one another. Space conscious design has reduced some driver depth to 2″ or less, or enclosure depth to 3″. Pure loudness through increasing sound pressure has led to some drivers with excursions as great as 4″ and vented components to cool the “motor” of the speaker. Quality and clarity has led to driver enclosures being tuned by construction to resonate or neutralize certain frequencies.


A powerful after-market audio system installation in a Toyota

A powerful after-market audio system installation in a Honda Jazz

Capacitors are used to store energy for the amplifier to draw on demand. They come in many different sizes ranging from 0.5 farad to well over 100 farads and their intended function is to temporarily cover the short-burst electrical demands of a car audio system that have exceeded the general electrical capabilities of the vehicle. There is little evidence to suggest they impart any benefit to the system, however, due to their low energy storage (compared with the battery) and exponential nature of capacitor voltage decay. {need citation}


Sound deadening material is often used in the door cavities and boot/trunk area to damp excess vibration of the panels in the car in response to loud subwoofer bass tones, especially the boot/trunk. The most common type of deadening is either butyl or rubberized asphalt, a product which has an adhesive quality and can be applied by simply pressing it into place with a roller and using a heat gun (or hair dryer). Other types of deadening can be sprayed on, but they are less common because of the additional installation difficulties.

Other components

Uniden BCT-15 radio scanner installed with aftermarket head unit

Other components that make up high-end car audio installations may include:


Bakersfield has been briefly known as Baker’s FieldKern Island,[7] and Alkalai City.[10]

Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating thousand of years.[11] The Yokuts lived inlodges[12] along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, the 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 were spared intensive contact until the 1820s 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.[13] 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 flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks ofmalaria.[14]


The old Southern Pacific Railroad station, currently the crew change depot for north and southbound Union Pacific Railroad trains. Old Town Kern is located primarily around Baker Street, near the former town of Sumner. It competed to be the commercial downtown, eventually losing to the present location west of Old Town.

At its founding ceremony in 1869, it was named Bakersfield to honor Colonel Thomas Baker. The California Gold Rush brought him to California,[15] and he moved to the banks of the Kern River in 1863.[15] In 1862 disastrous floods had swept away the settlement founded there in 1860 by the German-born Christian Bohna,[15] and the area’s name changed from Kern Island to Baker’s Field.[15]

By 1870, with a population of 600, Bakersfield was becoming the principal town in Kern County.[15] In 1873 it was officially incorporated as a city,[15] by 1874 it officially replaced the dying town of Havilah as the county seat.[15] By 1880, the town had a population of 801, and by 1890, it had a population of 2,626. Migration from TexasLouisianaOklahoma, and Southern California brought new residents, who were mostly employed by the oil industry. By 1980, Bakersfield’s population was about 105,000. During the next 20 years, Bakersfield’s population exploded and surpassed 250,000 by 2000. Bakersfield is now one of the major cities of California.[15]

[edit]1952 earthquake

Main article: 1952 Kern County earthquake

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 (NRHP).

On July 21, 1952, an earthquake struck at 4:52 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.[16] The earthquake, which was felt from San Francisco to theMexican border, destroyed the nearby communities of Tehachapi and Arvin. The earthquake’s destructive force also bent cotton fields into U shapes, slid a shoulder of the Tehachapi Mountains across all four lanes of the Ridge Route, collapsed a water tower creating a flash flood, and destroyed the railroad tunnels in the mountain chain.[citation needed] Bakersfield was spared, experiencing minor architectural damage without loss of life. The earthquake measured 7.3 on the Richter scale.

A large aftershock occurred on July 29, and did minor architectural damage, but raised fears that the flow of the Friant-Kern Canal could be dangerously altered, potentially flooding the city and surrounding areas.

Aftershocks, for the next month, had become normal to Bakersfield residents, until August 22 at 3:42 p.m. a 5.8 earthquake struck directly under the town’s center in the most densely populated area of the Southern San Joaquin Valley. The town did have some good fortune, however, as the quake struck late on a Friday afternoon when businesses were already closed down or beginning to close down. Four people died in the aftershock, and many of the town’s historic structures were permanently lost.


Truxtun Tower, also referred to as the Bank of America Building, is the tallest in downtown and the second tallest building in Bakersfield.

Bakersfield lies near the southern “horseshoe” end of the San Joaquin Valley, with the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada just to the east.[17]The city limits extend to the Sequoia National Forest, at the foot of the Greenhorn Mountain Range and at the entrance to the Kern Canyon.[18]To the south, the Tehachapi Mountains feature the historic Tejon Ranch. To the west is the Temblor Range, behind which is the Carrizo Plain National Monument and the San Andreas Fault. The Temblor Range is approximately 35 miles (56 km) from Bakersfield across the valley floor.[19]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 143.6 square miles (372 km2), of which 142.2 sq mi (368 km2) is land (98.99%) and 1.4 sq mi (3.6 km2) is water (1.01%).

At the 2000 census, according to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 114.4 square miles (296 km2), of which 113.1 sq mi (293 km2) was land (98.86%) and 1.3 sq mi (3.4 km2) was water (1.14%).

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

[edit]Communities and neighborhoods

A panoramic view of Bakersfield, taken from Stockdale Tower, the tallest building in the city, facing east/northeast. The office buildings in the foreground make up a mini financial district and regional offices for many oil companies that operate in the region; the major street to their right is California Avenue. Towards the upper right is downtown Bakersfield, marked by the black-with-white-roof Truxtun Tower (the 2nd tallest building in the city). The area rising in the background-right is East Bakersfield. The mountain range in the background is the Greenhorn Mountains.

See also: List of neighborhoods in Bakersfield

The Bakersfield Sign, once spanning the old State Route 99, is a landmark.

Bakersfield has historically referred to its regions by directional names. They are: Central Bakersfield, North Bakersfield, Northeast, East Bakersfield, Southeast, South Bakersfield, Southwest, and Northwest. With the exception of Central and East Bakersfield, all regions extend to the city limits. East Bakersfield generally refers to the formal town of Sumner (later renamed East Bakersfield). As a result, the Northeast wraps around East Bakersfield.[20]

Regions are further broken down into neighborhoods and districts. Unlike regions, their boundaries are not as firmly established and tend to vary from person to person. Most of Bakersfield’s named neighborhoods tend to refer to upper-class areas. Most are centered around a golf course, either public or private.


Dense Tule fog in Bakersfield, California. Visibility in this photo is less than 500 feet.

Bakersfield has a Desert climate (Koppen BWh),[21] with long, hot, dry summers, and brief, cool, wet winters. In fact, Bakersfield is one of the sunniest cities in the U.S. (just behind Yuma, Arizona and Redding, California).[citation needed] Bakersfield enjoys long-lasting, mild autumns and early springs, giving the region a unique climate suitable for growing a wide variety of crops (ranging from citrus to carrots to almonds and pistachios). Rainfall averages only 6.5 inches (165 mm) annually, mostly falling during winter and spring. Typically, no rain falls from May through September.

Summers see extended stretches of hot weather, with 108 days per year above 90 °F (32 °C);[22] in addition, there are 36 days above 100 °F(38 °C) from late May to mid-September,[22] and a 110 °F (43 °C) day can be seen every few years. Winters feature mild daytime temperatures, but frost can be occasionally seen, often coming with dense Tule fog and low visibility, causing many schools to have fog delays as long as three hours. The official time frame for Tule fog to form is from November 1 to March 31.[23]

Snow is rare on the valley floor; however, it does snow in Bakersfield about once every 20 to 30 years.[24] The last time it snowed was on January 25, 1999 when Bakersfield received 6 inches (150 mm).[25] The record maximum temperature was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 28, 1908, and the record minimum temperature was 11 °F (−12 °C) on January 3, 1908.[26] The most rainfall in one month was 5.82 inches (148 mm) in December 2010,[27] and the maximum 24-hour rainfall was 2.29 inches (58 mm) on February 9, 1978.[22]

The American Lung Association ranked Bakersfield as the most ozone-polluted city in the nation in 2006.[28] It was also ranked as the second-most polluted city in terms of both short-term and year-round particle pollution.[29][30] In Peter Greenberg’s book Don’t Go There!, Bakersfield is mentioned for its high ozone levels, and postulates that its rapid increase in size is causing the increasing rate of pollution from new construction.[31]

[hide]Climate data for Bakersfield, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 56.3
Average low °F (°C) 39.3
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.18
humidity 53.0 71.5 63.5 55.0 45.0 39.5 36.0 38.0 41.0 45.5 55.0 67.0 50.8
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.0 6.5 6.9 3.4 1.6 0.6 0.1 0.4 1.2 1.7 3.8 5.1 38.3
Source no. 1: NOAA [22]
Source no. 2: ClimateZone.com [32]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 801
1890 2,626 227.8%
1900 4,836 84.2%
1910 12,727 163.2%
1920 18,638 46.4%
1930 26,015 39.6%
1940 29,252 12.4%
1950 34,784 18.9%
1960 56,848 63.4%
1970 69,515 22.3%
1980 105,611 51.9%
1990 174,820 65.5%
2000 247,057 41.3%
2010 347,483 40.6%
Source:US Census[33]


The 2010 United States Census[34] reported that Bakersfield had a population of 347,483. The population density was 2,419.6 people per square mile (934.2/km²). The racial makeup of Bakersfield was 197,349 (56.8%) White, 28,368 (8.2%) African American, 5,102 (1.5%) Native American, 21,432 (6.2%)Asian (2.1% Indian, 2.0% Filipino, 0.5% Chinese, 0.4% Korean, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Cambodian), 478 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 77,686 (22.4%) from other races, and 17,068 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 158,205 persons (45.5%). Among the Hispanic population, 39.5% are Mexican, 1.3% Salvadoran, 0.5% Guatemalan, and 0.5% Puerto Rican.

The Census reported that 344,088 people (99.0% of the population) lived in households, 2,094 (0.6%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1,301 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

There were 111,132 households, out of which 51,995 (46.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 57,276 (51.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 18,049 (16.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 7,829 (7.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 8,159 (7.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 845 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 21,800 households (19.6%) were made up of individuals and 7,354 (6.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.10. There were 83,154 families (74.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.56.

The population was spread out with 109,479 people (31.5%) under the age of 18, 37,368 people (10.8%) aged 18 to 24, 97,024 people (27.9%) aged 25 to 44, 74,276 people (21.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 29,336 people (8.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.0 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males.

There were 120,725 housing units at an average density of 840.6 per square mile (324.6/km²), of which 66,323 (59.7%) were owner-occupied, and 44,809 (40.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 9.0%. 206,492 people (59.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 137,596 people (39.6%) lived in rental housing units.


According to the 2000 census,[35] there were 247,057 people, 83,441 households, and 60,995 families residing in Bakersfield. The population density was 2,184.4 people per square mile (843.4/km²). There were 88,262 housing units at an average density of 780.4 per square mile (301.3/km²).

The racial makeup of the city was 60.5% White, 12.6% Black or African American, 0.9% Native American, 4.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 18.7% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. 32.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 83,441 households out of which 42.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 15.5% were female householders with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. 21.5% of households consisted of a single individual; 7.2% were additionally age 65 or older. 42.5% of households claimed children under age 18. The average household size was 2.92, and the average family size was 3.41.

By age, the population was spread out with 32.7% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were age 65 or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median income for a household was $39,982, and the median income for a family was $45,556. The median income for males was $38,834, compared to $27,148 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,678. About 14.6% of families and 18.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Bakersfield has consistently ranked as one of the least educated metropolitan areas in the United States.[36][37] A study by the Brookings Institution using 2008 data found that the proportion of Bakersfield metro adults age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree was the lowest (14.7%) of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States; that 100th place finish was down from being ranked 95th in 1990.[38]

According to a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Bakersfield ranks as one of the ten most obese metro areas in America. Of its residents, 33.6% were found to be obese, compared to the national average of 26.5%.[39] The same study found that 21.2% were smokers, 12.7% had diabetes, 27.9% had high blood pressure, 22.8% had high cholesterol, 3.3% had aheart attack, 75.2% felt they had enough money to buy food and 75.5% had health insurance.[39]

[edit]Housing and development

Bakersfield has been known for being a fast-growing city and has seen its population more than triple over nearly 30 years from approximately 105,000 in 1980 to 347,000 in 2010 and 486,900 by 2030. Although the city is still growing, its growth rate has slowed in recent years due to the economic recession and high home foreclosure rates.

The city of Shafter, a small farming town north of Bakersfield, has filed a suit to limit the northern expansion of Bakersfield’s city limits. Shafter has also annexed large pieces of farmland to its east and south to ensure that Bakersfield does not envelop its southern area.[40]

The large bluff and plateau which lie east of Bakersfield—toward the Rio Bravo and Kern Canyon area—have been under development for the last sixty years. Because the steep, north-facing edge of the bluff provides a view of the foothills, mountains, oil fields, and Kern River, the city government has attempted to balance development and preservation in this area. In addition, city leaders recognize the possibility that extensive development may lead to erosion and landslides.[citation needed] It is estimated by local officials that Bakersfield and its outlying suburbs will reach a population of over one million people by 2020.[citation needed]


Bakersfield’s historic and primary industries have related to Kern County’s two main industries, oil and agriculture. Kern County is the most oil productive county in America, with approximately 10% of the nation’s domestic production.[41] Kern County is a part of the highly productive San Joaquin Valley, and ranks in the top five most productive agricultural counties in the nation.[41] Major crops for Kern County include: grapes, citrus, almonds, carrots, alfalfa, cotton, and roses.[42] The city serves as the home for both corporate and regional headquarters of companies engaged in these industries.

Bakersfield also has a growing manufacturing and distribution sector. Several companies have moved to Bakersfield because of its inexpensive land and access to the rest of America, as well as international ports in both Los Angeles and Oakland.[43] Other companies have opened regional offices and non-oil/agricultural businesses because of Bakersfield’s and Kern County’s business friendly policies, such as having no local utility or inventory taxes.[41] Products manufactured in the city include: ice cream (world’s largest ice cream plant), central vacuums, highway paint, and stock racing cars.[44]

Bakersfield is the largest city with the lowest sales tax in California at the state minimum of 7.25%.

[edit]Top employers

According to the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce,[45] the top employers in the county based in Bakersfield are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 County of Kern 11,500
2 The Giumarra Companies 4,200
3 Grimmway Farms 3,500
4 Bolthouse Farms 2,000
5 Bakersfield Memorial Hospital 1,400
6 City of Bakersfield 1,300
7 Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield 1,200
7 ARB 1,200
9 Kern Medical Center 1,304
10 State Farm Insurance 1,045
11 Sun World 1,025
12 Chevron 1,000
13 San Joaquin Community Hospital 880
14 AndrewsAg 800
15 Sun Pacific 800
16 Paramount Farms 800
17 California State University, Bakersfield 600
18 Clinica Sierra Vista 600
19 Frito-Lay 520
20 Kaiser Permanente 500

[edit]Public safety

Law enforcement is provided by the Bakersfield Police Department. Fire protection is provided by the Bakersfield Fire Department.

[edit]Bakersfield Police Department

Main article: Bakersfield Police Department

The Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) is the agency responsible for law enforcement within the City of Bakersfield, California in the United States. It has over 400 officers and staff, covering an area of 131 square miles (340 km2) serving an urban population of more than 800,000. The current chief of the department (as of 2010) is Greg Williamson. The department protects the city, split between two areas: West area and East area, with stations in each area aside from the main department headquarters. The department administration is made up of the chief of department, two assistant chiefs, four captains and eleven lieutenants.[46]

The department headquarters are located at 1601 Truxtun Avenue. The West area station is located at 1301 Buena Vista Road. The department shooting range is located on Truxtun Avenue, with the K-9 training school next door to the range. The department training academy is located on Norris Road in conjunction with the Kern County Sheriff’s Department.

[edit]Bakersfield Fire Department

Main article: Bakersfield Fire Department

The Bakersfield Fire Department’s communications division, known as ECC (Emergency Communications Center), is located in the Whiting Communications Center in Northeast Bakersfield. ECC is a joint dispatch center for the Kern County, Bakersfield City and California City Fire Departments. Built in 1988, ECC is responsible for dispatching resources over an area of approximately 8,100 square miles (21,000 km2) that includes 65 fire stations. ECC’s approximate call volume is 82,000 calls a year and processes Emergency and Non-Emergency Fire and Medical 911 calls for the entire County of Kern.[47]


For more details on this topic, see Bakersfield Police Department.

The number of violent crimes recorded by the Bakersfield Police Department in its 2008 Crime Reports was 5,961.[48] 27 of those were murders and homicides.[49] Data collected by Bakersfield Police Department, an anti-gang program under the City of Bakersfield, shows that the city of Bakersfield has experienced an increase in gang membership and gang activity since the early 2000s.


The Bakersfield Police Department has a holding area, but In-Custody (Inmates) are transported to the Kern County Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield. Sentenced criminals are held at the Lerdo Detention Facility, just outside the City’s limits.[50] The Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Detentions Bureau has an average daily inmate population of approximately 2,500 inmates.[51]

Central Receiving Facility: The primary facility for receiving inmates arrested in the Bakersfield area.[52]

Lerdo Minimum Security Facility: Part of the Lerdo Complex, this facility holds inmates of lower security levels.[53]

Lerdo Pre-Trial Facility: Part of the Lerdo Complex, this facility holds inmates of higher security levels.[54]

Lerdo Max/Med Security Facility: Part of the Lerdo Complex, this facility holds overflow inmates from the Pre-Trial Facility. [55]

[edit]Government and politics

City Hall is the seat of government for the city. Both the mayor’s office and city council chambers are located inside.

The government of Bakersfield consists of a mayor, council, and city manager. The city council consists of seven members each of whom are elected from individual wards. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. The city manager is chosen by the city council. Bakersfield uses theCouncil–Manager form of government.

Bakersfield differs from many California cities in that it is overwhelmingly conservative. In the 2008 U.S. Presidential electionJohn McCainreceived 55.6% of the city’s votes to Barack Obama‘s 42.9%.[56] The same year, Bakersfield cast 75.2% of its votes in favor of Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.[57] The city owes its socially conservative atmosphere in large part to a historically high number of migrants from Oklahoma and neighboring states during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Bakersfield is represented in the California State Senate by Dean Florez (D)and Roy Ashburn (R) and in the California State Assembly byDanny Gilmore (R) and Jean Fuller (R). The citizens of Bakersfield are represented in the U. S. Congress by Jim Costa (D) (CA-20) and Kevin McCarthy (R) (CA-22).

An August 2005 article by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer listed Bakersfield as the 8th-most conservative city in the US out of the 237 ranked cities, listing it as the most conservative city in California.[58]


CSUB’s Walter Stiern Library

Two of the earliest schools founded in Kern County were Mrs. Thomas Baker’s school, opened in 1863 at the Baker home (near present-day 19th and N Streets); and a Catholic parochial school opened by Reverend Father Daniel Dade in 1865 in Havilah (then the county seat). In 1880, Norris School was established. The land for this school was donated by William Norris, a local farmer. Thirteen to twenty students were taught in its one classroom during the 1880s. Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) is the state’s largest elementary school district. The first high school in Bakersfield, Kern County Union High School, opened in 1893. It was renamed Bakersfield High School after World War II.

Bakersfield College

The site at California Avenue and F Street is the location of the first campus of Bakersfield College, which was established in 1913 and relocated in 1956 to its current location overlooking the Panorama Bluffs in northeast Bakersfield. Bakersfield College has an enrollment of 16,000 students. To serve a growing baby-boomer population after World War II, the Kern High School District has steadily expanded to nineteen campuses and more than 35,000 students, making it the largest high school district in the state. In 1965, a university in the California State University system was founded in Bakersfield. California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) has approximately 7,800 students. It was an NCAA Division II sports powerhouse in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) with some sports, including wrestling (PAC-10), competing in Division I. CSUB has become a Division I athletic school and is trying to begin the process of joining the Big West Conference. In 1982, Santa Barbara Business College was founded.

[edit]High schools

The Baker Street Branch Library, part of the Kern County Library system, is among the Bakersfield structures listed on the NRHP.

Bakersfield is part of the Kern High School District (KHSD), California’s largest high school district,[59] comprising 28 schools and educating about 35,000 students. There are 15 high schools within the KHSD in Bakersfield:

Private high schools include Garces Memorial High SchoolBakersfield Christian High School, and Bakersfield Adventist Academy.

[edit]Accredited colleges and universities

[edit]California State University, Bakersfield

Main article: California State University, Bakersfield

California State University, Bakersfield (often abbreviated CSUB or shortened to CSU Bakersfield or Cal State Bakersfield) is a public university located in Bakersfield, California and was founded in 1965. CSUB opened in 1970 on a 375 acres (1.52 km2) campus, becoming the 19th school in the California State University system. The university offers 31 bachelor’s, 22 master’s degree programs, and one doctoral program, the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). As of Fall 2002, some 7,700 undergraduate and graduate students attended CSUB, at either the main campus in Bakersfield or the satellite campus, Antelope Valley Center in Lancaster, California.

[edit]Bakersfield College

Main article: Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College (BC) is a public community college located in Bakersfield, California. Its main campus is located on a 153-acre (0.62 km2) plot in northeast Bakersfield, and it also operates two satellite campuses: the Weill Institute in downtown Bakersfield, and at the Delano Center in Delano, California, approximately 35 miles (56 km) north of Bakersfield. BC serves more than 18,000 students each semester and is part of the Kern Community College District (KCCD). Currently there are a total of 184 Associate’s degree and certificate programs for students to choose from. BC is a part of the California Community Colleges system.

[edit]Other accredited colleges and universities

National University maintains a campus in Bakersfield, while the University of LaVerneFresno Pacific University, and Point Loma Nazarene University all have branch campuses located in Bakersfield. Santa Barbara Business College also has a campus in Bakersfield.

[edit]Arts and culture

Main article: Arts and culture of Bakersfield

Many of Bakersfield’s oldest and most historic restaurants are Basque,[60] including Woolgrowers, Noriega’s, Pyrenees, Benji’s, and Narducci’s.

The Kern County Museum, located on Chester Avenue just north of downtown Bakersfield holds a collection of regional artifacts. Permanent exhibits include: “Black Gold: The Oil Experience”, a hands-on modern approach at showing how oil is extracted; and “The Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Museum”, a hands-on children’s museum and a display on the influential “Bakersfield Sound” style of country music. Bakersfield is also home to the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, which has a collection of Miocene era marine fossils collected from the region as well as other displays.


Bakersfield hosts horse shows all year round, including local, 4H, and breed shows.

Every spring, Bakersfield hosts one of California’s Scottish Games and Clan Gatherings.[61] In the late summer, the local St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church hosts an annual Greek Festival.

Every year during the summer, Bakersfield hosts the Lowrider National in the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Memorial Day weekend features the Kern County Basque Festival, sponsored by the Kern County Basque Club.[62] This three-day festival features food, music, dance, and handball games.

In March, Auto Club Famoso Raceway holds the annual March Meet nostalgia drag racing event. The event dates back to the U.S. Fuel and Gas Finals held in March 1959.

Twice a year, the CSUB Indigenous Native American Club hosts a Native Gathering on the California State University Bakersfield campus at Runner Park.[63]

In mid to late September, Bakersfield holds the annual Kern County Fair, which showcases the area’s agricultural produce and animal husbandry, along with a rodeo, concerts, and a traditional carnival.

Previously every year and now every five years,[64] Bakersfield hosts a political conference known as the Bakersfield Business Conference. Since 1985, this conference has grown in attendance and as of 2007 the attendance numbered over 9,000. The Conference has had several notable political speakers to include Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Neil Armstrong, Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Paul Harvey.[65]

In mid October, Bakersfield LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Question) holds its an annual Bakersfield Pride. It is a family welcoming event every year. Starting in 2004, it has grown from being located at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, to now being held at Stramler Park.


Bakersfield has five movie multi-screen theaters: Edwards Bakersfield Stadium 14Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza 16, Maya Cinemas Bakersfield 16, as well as two second-run theaters: Starplex Cinemas Movies 6 and Regency Theatres East Hills 10. The historic downtown Fox Theater (Bakersfield, California) has been renovated, and is now a venue for concerts, musicians, comedians, and movie showings.


Although Bakersfield is known mostly for its country music roots, other styles of music are also quite prevalent in the area’s nightlife. Bakersfield has its share of notable “native-born” musicians (country or not), including Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard, renowned jazz pianist David Benoit, Cory Hohlbauch of the Northern California born hardcore band RISE!, Hall of Fame Guitarist Bill Aken (One of the first members of ‘The Wrecking Crew’), country music artist Buck Owens, nu metal band Korn, rock band Adema, deathrock bandBurning Image and American Latin jazz musician Louie Cruz Beltran, among others.


In the 1950s and 1960s, local musicians such as Bill Woods, Tommy CollinsBuck OwensMerle Haggard, and Wynn Stewart developed a streamlined country music style called theBakersfield sound, which emphasized pedal steel guitar, the Fender Telecaster electric guitar and intense vocals. Bakersfield country was considered a spinoff of the honky-tonk style of country music that emerged from Texas, appropriate since many musicians there hailed from either Texas or surrounding states. Today, Bakersfield is third only to Nashville, Tennesseeand Texas in country music fame, and Bakersfield continues to produce famous country music artists.[citation needed] The late Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is a respected concert venue, regularly featuring new recording artists as well as established country music stars. Buddy Alan (Buck’s eldest son) performs with The Buckaroos (Doyle Curtsinger, Jim Shaw, Terry Christoffersen and David Wulfekuehler) regularly. Country music artist Gary Allan bases his music on the Bakersfield sound.


In 1972, Bob Weir released the song “Mexicali Blues” on his first solo album, Ace. However, the album is basically a de facto Grateful Dead album. Not only does the sound of the song pay tribute to the Bakersfield sound, the name of the city is referenced in the lyics.

In 1978, The Rolling Stones released the song “Far Away Eyes” on the album Some Girls. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards collaborated extensively on writing the song and it was recorded in late 1977. The Rolling Stones, longtime country music fans, incorporated many aspects of “Bakersfield sound” country music into this song. Bakersfield is mentioned in the first line of the song.

In the early 1990s, a group of friends from the lower and middle-class parts of Northeast and East Bakersfield formed the band KoRn. The members of the band attended Highland High School (Jonathan Davis and Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu ), East High School (James “Munky” Shaffer and former lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch) and South High School (David Silveria).

Orange County punk band Social Distortion have a song on their 2011 album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes entitled “Bakersfield.”


In 1974, Southern Gospel artist The Lighthouse Boys was formed.

Pete Prevost joined Sparrow Records rock band Sanctus Real in 2006.


Main article: Sports in Bakersfield

Rabobank Arena

Bakersfield is currently home to three minor league teams. They are: Blaze (Baseball, CL), Condors (Hockey, ECHL), and Jam (Basketball, D-League). In addition, Bakersfield has two colleges with strong athletics programs. Bakersfield College Renegades is a community college with 19 varsity sports, the most notable being football.[66] It competes in the Western State Conference, which is a part of the California Community College Athletic Association. California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners is a university with 15 varsity sports, the most notable being basketball.[67] It is a part of NCAA division I and is currently attempting to join the Big West Conference.

Bakersfield is also located near a variety of racing sports. Current racing sports include: drag strip (at Famoso Raceway), dirt (at Bakersfield Speedway), and paved (at Buttonwillow Raceway). The national jet boat association holds drag boat races at Lake Ming. Bakersfield was also home to Mesa Marin Raceway, a NASCAR associated oval track, but was demolished in 2004. A replacement, the Kern River Speedway, was under construction and was expected to open by 2008, but has been delayed because of a lack of funding.[68]

Bakersfield has many venues for a variety of different sports. One of the most notable and versatile is the Rabobank Arena (formerly the Centennial Garden) which hosts concerts, shows, and sporting events. In addition, Bakersfield has facilities that can host tournament games. The Kern County Soccer Field has 24 full-size light soccer fields.[69] Also, currently under construction is the Bakersfield Sports Village. When completed, it will have 16 baseball fields, 6 football fields, and 16 soccer fields.[70]

[edit]Parks and recreation

Bakersfield also hosts various amateur sporting events, including shooting, cycling, boat drag, rugby, water skiing, soccer, youth baseball, tennis, horseshoes, and volleyball competitions. Other recreational opportunities include whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, fossil collecting and skiing in the southern Sierras.

Bakersfield is also home to a large population of off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts. As of May 2001, over 18,000 OHVs were registered in Kern County.[71] On May 26, 2005, the City of Bakersfield and the State of California Parks department obtained an assignable option, using a grant from the OHV Trust funds, to purchase a prospective 11,000 acres (45 km2) site for an OHV park.[72] Ruth Coleman, Director of California State Parks, remarked, “This project responds to the needs of the Bakersfield community for increased recreation opportunities and will provide a cornerstone for the Central Valley Strategy.” Several programs, including National 4-H and California Off-Road PALS, exist to train youth in proper OHV recreation.[73]


The Bakersfield Californian Building is also listed on the NRHP.

Due to its key position in the southern San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield is served by several media outlets. The primary newspaper is The Bakersfield Californian, which is a direct descendant of the first paper published in the region, The Daily Courier in 1866.

The city has a number of television stations and network affiliates, including KERO-TV (ABC), KBAK-TV (CBS), KGET-TV (NBC), KBFX-CA(Fox), KABE-LP (Univision), KKEY-LP (TelemundoKGET-DT2 (The CW) and is served by Fresno’s PBS affiliate, KVPT. Bakersfield is also home to Spanish-language broadcaster Univision’s only English-language station, KUVI-DT. The city also has a News Site Bakersfield News


Main article: Transportation in Kern County


California State Route 178 at M Street in Downtown Bakersfield.

Garces Circle

Bakersfield is currently serviced by three freeways. State Route 99 bisects Bakersfield from north to south, while State Route 58 exists as a freeway east of SR 99, servicing the southeast part of the city and extending over the Tehachapi mountains to TehachapiMojave, andBarstowState Route 178 consists of a short segment of freeway that runs from a point near downtown to the northeastern part of the city, although there is currently no direct freeway connection between SR 99 and SR 178. Interstate 5, the fast north-south superhighway, bypasses the city several miles to the west.

Bakersfield is also served by a short, unsigned, four-lane freeway called Alfred Harrell Highway. It was constructed between 1956 and 1958 and extends from China Grade Loop to Hart Park (a large recreation park in northeast Bakersfield). Unlike most freeways, Alfred Harrell Highway lacks the traditional signage used on divided freeways. There is also a 2-lane expressway to the east of the park. This section was originally reserved to be converted to a four-lane freeway similar to the constructed western portion.[74] If it were ever constructed, it would have two interchanges at Morning Drive and Lake Ming Road and would terminate at the SR 178 adopted alignment (not constructed).

Both SR 58 and SR 178 have planned future extensions. SR 58 western extension is known as the Centennial Corridor, and will extend the freeway west to I-5.[75] Included in the Centennial Corridor is the Westside Parkway (sometime referred to by its formal name Kern River Freeway).[76] This is a new freeway which will run through western Bakersfield, on a route parallel to the Kern River and Stockdale Highway. SR 178 western extension is known as the Crosstown Freeway/SR 178 Connection, although it was formally known as the Centennial Corridor before that name was moved to SR 58. It will connect SR 178 to the Westside Parkway.[77]

In addition to these freeway extensions, there is also a proposed network of beltways. Currently there are two beltways being considered in Bakersfield. The West Beltway would run north-south from Seventh Standard Rd. to Taft Highway. It will run parallel to Heath Road to the north and parallel to South Allen Road to the south.[78] A future extension would connect the West Beltway to SR 99 and I-5, providing a bypass to Bakersfield. The South Beltway would run east-west from SR 58 to I-5. From SR 58, it would run south, parallel to Comanche Drive until Taft Highway. From there, the freeway would turn west, and run parallel to Taft Hwy. until terminating at I-5. A future extension would extend the freeway north to SR 178 and terminate at Alfred Harrell Highway. Bakersfield also envisioned CalTrans building a North Beltway as the western extension of SR 58, but has been withdrawn in favor of the Centennial Corridor.

Bakersfield is one of the largest cities in the U.S. that is not directly linked to an Interstate highway.[79] SR 99 and SR 58 have been considered for conversion to interstates. SR 99 would be a new interstate signed either as Interstate 7 or Interstate 9, while SR 58 would be an extension of I-40 which currently terminates in Barstow. In 2005 SR 99 was added to the FHWA list of high priority corridors as “California farm to market route” and designated a NHS Future Interstate.[80][81]

[edit]Garces Memorial Circle

Garces Memorial Traffic Circle, informally known as Garces Circle or just The Circle, is the only traffic circle in Bakersfield, California. The traffic circle is located at the intersection of Chester Avenue, Golden State Avenue (State Route 204) and 30th St in Bakersfield. The Circle was originally built as a part US 99 in approximately 1932. A large 1939 sculpture of Father Francisco Garces by John Palo-Kangas rests inside the circle.


Main article: Golden Empire Transit
  • Bakersfield is served by the Golden Empire transit District.[82]
  • A total of 18 routes are operated, the majority of which serve the urbanized portion of the county which includes the city of Bakersfield.


Amtrak Station

The Bakersfield Station, opened in 2000, provides Amtrak California passenger service to the city. Previously, Bakersfield had been served by two depots; the first was located in Old Town Kern and the second was built in downtown. Bakersfield is a planned station for the proposedCalifornia High Speed Rail system.[83]

Meadows Field


Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield was recently rebuilt and dedicated as the William M. Thomas Terminal.[citation needed] In 2009, a grant was awarded to the Airport to fix Taxiway Alpha which is to be completed by a local company around the end of October 2009.[citation needed]

Also located at the Airport: Hall Medivac Helicopter, International Flight Training Academy (a subsidiary of Japan’s ANA Airlines), SRT Helicopter Flight School, and numerous other aviation mechanics and technicians.


Bakersfield has approximately 88 taxicabs licensed by the City, half of which appear to be independent owner operators that can be hailed or flagged on the street. Independent owner operators and taxicabs from multiple companies can also be requested by calling 661-374-2227 (661-374-CABS). As of 2011 the rate for taxicab service in Bakersfield is $3.00 + $2.75 per mile.

[edit]Sister cities


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s