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.


49 Big Blue Road
PO Box 651
Kernville, CA 93238

(760) 376-6683


** NOTICE **




10 am to 4 pm
Thursday through Sunday

We are closed on these Holidays:
New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Admission is Free

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The North Fork School District was formed 9 February 1921 from 5 northern sections of the Kernville School District. The school was located near the Tulare County line, on property now occupied by the Fish Hatchery.

North Fork School was established for the children of Edison employees that lived in homes near KR3 and at Headquarters Camp, children from nearby ranches also attended the school.

The ranch children included the Diltz children that lived on the Gilbert ranch, which was located across from the Standard Oil bulk plant on Sierra Way. The Burlando and Apalatea children also attended the North Fork School. Transportation to school was either by foot or hoof in those days. Betsy and Johnny Burlando rode burros to school traveling about a mile north of the Burlando Ranch on the west side of the Kern River. It was their daily chore to deliver milk in their burro boxes to the families living on the Edison properties. If milk was sloshed out of the containers, that was alright, the burro box caught it, and the milk could be poured back into the container. To get across the river, they crossed a suspension bridge built by Edison, for that purpose.

On Arbor Day in 1922, 3 evergreen trees were planted next to the school. Three KR3 students were given the privilege of doing the planting. One of those students, Johnny Price wanted his tree to be the biggest. He proceeded to prune the top. The tree grew wide while the other two grew straight and tall. His pruning was not appreciated, and he received a paddling with the “board of education.” Price reported to Bob Powers, years later that it was a normal occurrence for him to be often “educated” at that time in his youth.

A memory book by teacher, Amy Stevens listed the following students: Delmer Price, Billie Apalatea, Josephine Fulton, Elsie Price, Kern Trumbull, Howard Fulton, Johnnie Burlando, Alfred Apalatea, Isabel Burlando, Carol Diltz, Rita Apalatea, Robert Diltz, Billie Burlando, Dick Price, Johnnie Price, Edith Schoutze, and Henry Apalatea on June 2, 1927. The school board members listed in 1927 were: Robert McNew, clerk, Mrs. R. Trumbull, and Jack Price. This primary source is currently located in the Kern Valley Museum school display, in the glass case in the art gallery.

The North Fork School was maintained by subscription, funded by Edison and the students’ families. School materials were supplied by the County Schools Office. The school operated for eleven years. The five sections were returned to the Kernville School District in 1932.

Sources: North Fork Country by Bob Powers, School District Origins in Kern County by Jerry Kirkland

Primary Source: 1927 School Memory Book

Photos [in the newsletter]: l)Johnny and Betsy Burlando on their way to school. 2)Suspension Bridge across the Kern River

     --- CharlAnn Gregory