The Kern River Valley Historical Society is celebrating over 50 years of operation! Our mission is to preserve and communicate the rich and colorful history of this region. The Kern Valley Museum in downtown Kernville, next to the Post Office, welcomes visitors to explore our rich history.

What's Happening

Written by Rod Middleworth

The Kern River was used as an early source for generating electricity.  Construction started in 1902, at the base of the Kern Canyon, on Powerhouse #1, using horses and mules to haul the heavy equipment.

See pictures of the early construction, and see the actual tools used later by "linemen" torun electricity lines by hand through the Valley. 

On display is one of the first light fixtures used on the Borel hydroelectric plant nearly 100 years ago!  You'll get to use a hand-crank magneto telephone, the first telephones in use before operators and dials. 

Many pictures describe the building of the Isabella Dam on the Kern River, creating Lake Isabella which stores much of the water that feeds the farms and towns of the Central Valley.