Kern River Valley

Historical Society

The Research Annex

We maintain the Research Annex which houses a library of over 5,000 books related to Southern Sierra History as well as documents, photographs and maps of the area.

It serves as a research facility for researchers as well as genealogists, hobbyists, and the public.

The Historical Society has an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, Western art, and books bequeathed to us by local activists Ardis and Gayle Walker.

Walker was from a Kern Valley pioneer family. He was also a county supervisor, conservationist, poet and community activist. He kept everything, and within his collection, are important historical documents covering several generations.

The annex houses the Walker collection and many other documents owned by the Historical Society.

In addition, we have collections from Bob Powers, Bill Jenkins, and the Creighton/Hand family among others.

We're in the process of archiving and digitally archiving all of the documents, organizing the books, and displaying the Native American artifacts, Western art and other artifacts.

The KRVHS has gotten back into the publishing business.

In 2022, we found an old manuscript by local Mule Packer, Ken Wortley. We published it in 2022.

We also published a great picture book on the building of the Isabella Dam in 2023.

We plan to republish some books that have been out of print for over 40 years including Beneath the Lake by Elizabeth Brady and Adventures with the Misfits by Ken Wortley.

Our overall goal is to preserve our local history and teach others about the importance of the area in the settling of California, as well as the economic impact that our gold era mines, our hydroelectric plants and our tourism had on the development of California.

image of the KRVHS Reserach Annex building