Visitor Guide : Things to Do

Monday, Jun 27 2011 03:14 PM

Downtown Walking Tour

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The Apple Shed is not only a landmark restaurant, but the site of a beautiful mural depicting Tehachapi’s agricultural background.

The Tehachapi Museum, once the town library, is a project of the non-profit Tehachapi Heritage League.

1. Tehachapi Museum: This structure was built in 1932 as the Kern County Branch Library. When a new library was constructed in 1981, the county gave the old building to the City of Tehachapi, with the stipulation that it be used as a public building. In 1982 the city leased it to the Tehachapi Heritage League to be used as a museum.

2. Errea House: The Errea family occupied this dwelling for 75 years. The structure was built by a doctor in “Old Town” (or “Tehichipa”) four miles west of Tehachapi, between 1870 and 1875. It was moved to this location on log rollers about 1900. It is the only surviving structure from the Tehichipa settlement. The Errea house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 29, 1997.

3. August Weferling House: located on the northeast corner of “D” and Green Streets, this house was built in 1880 by August Weferling. The redwood tree in the front was planted the day he married his second wife, in 1905.

4. First Methodist Church: The First Methodist Church in Tehachapi was built here in 1881. It was later torn down, and the present house was built with the wood from the church.

5. McFarland House & Late 1880s House: McFarland House, located on the northwest corner of “D” and Green Streets, this house was built in the late 1880s by the McFarland family, who operated a sawmill and box factory in Tehachapi, circa 1890. Across the street, the Late 1880s House was located on the southwest corner of “D” and Green Streets, this house was built in the late 1880s.

6. B.M. Denison House & 1880s House: B.M. Denison House, located on the northeast corner of “D” and Curry Streets, this house was built in 1898 by B.M. Dennison. The house was constructed entirely from cedar wood. Denison planted the first commercial Bartlett Pear orchard along Curry Street. Across the street was the 1880s House, located on the southeast corner of “D” and Curry Streets, this house was built in the late 1880s.

7. Peery House: This house was built by Dr. Russell Peery in 1890. Dr. Peery owned a drug store in Tehachapi. He was noted for having developed the “gold cure” for arthritis.

8. Early High School: This house was built by Dr. Russell Peery in the 1890s. It was originally constructed in Cummings Valley for use as a hotel and spa. It was dismantled, then moved to the present site. In 1928, it was used as a high school, and continued in such use until conventional high school buildings were completed. The building retains its original high ceilings.

9. Tehachapi Hospital: The original building, built by Jean Capdeville, was used as a rooming house, and was sold to Drs. Madge and Harold Schlotthauer in 1934 and was used as the hospital until the 1952 earthquake. Although badly damaged, no lives were lost in the hospital. The large trees planted by the Capdevilles remain.

10. Two 1890s Houses: These two houses were constructed in the 1890s. One structure was built by R.D. Williamson, and the other by Fred Boden.

11. Original site of the first Catholic Church in 1887: The present building was constructed in 1936, as the second St. Malachy Church. In the early 1980s the structure was sold to the newly-formed Sierra National Bank, which in turn was acquired by the Bank of the Sierra in May, 2000.

12. Gallinger House: Built by Joe Gallinger in 1880, it was purchased in 1924 by Jim and Lucinda Wiggins Brite. In 1944 the Davis family purchased the house. It was customary to drive sheep and cattle along Curry Street to the railroad stockyard.

13. Odd Fellows Hall: Built as the Odd Fellows Hall in the early 1930s, it was later used as a movie theatre, dance hall, and labor union hall. It was once owned by St. Malachy Church and used as a church hall (1949-53). The structure survived the 1952 earthquake intact, and then housed the Red Cross, telephone company, and a department store, among other temporarily “displaced businesses.” It was then sold to become the Santa Fe Hotel, and later became a private residence (known as the Talmarc Building). It is currently known as the Door of Hope Building, operated by the Family Life Pregnancy Center.

14. The Tehachapi Depot: The present Tehachapi Depot building was originally constructed in 1904, replacing an earlier structure, built in 1876, which burned. The Depot is a Southern Pacific Combination Type 23. It is the only Type 23 depot existing on it’s original site. Through the auspices of the Tehachapi Heritage League, the Depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Although the nearby brick buildings crumbled in the 7.5 magnitude,1952 earthquake, the Depot remained undamaged.

15. Site of the Kessing Building: On this site, the first frame building in Tehachapi was built by Mary and Bernard Kessing. The original wooden building was replaced in 1914 by a brick building named The Kessing Building, which was destroyed in the 1952 earthquake.

16. Arrastra at Railroad Park: The Arrastra was a very primitive way of milling or crushing gold ore, using a mule and drag stones, a method brought to the area by the Spaniards. The Tehachapi Heritage League moved the Arrastra to this location, stone by stone. At its original site, the Arrastra was in danger of being eroded and destroyed by runoff in Water Canyon Creek.

17. The Muro House: This was the first house constructed in Tehachapi, built in 1877 by Fred Boden. It was occupied from 1895 to 1940 by Mr. and Mrs. T.P. Sullivan. He was the Southern Pacific Roadmaster and was elected to Tehachapi’s first Board of Trustees in 1909. Designated a “landmark” by the Tehachapi City Council. The house takes its name from the Jose Muro family, who lived in the house for many years.

18. Former Richfield Service Station: The Richfield Service Station was built here in 1921 by Jack and Ted Leiva, who operated the station and adjoining cabins for travelers for over 50 years. It was named the Bartlett Richfield Station due to the many Bartlett Pear trees being planted in the area at that time. Earlier, this was the site of the first town dump.

19. Site of the old Fire Station: In 1930, the old City Hall was constructed just south of here at the corner of “F” and Robinson Streets. Almost identical to the current Tehachapi Museum building, the old City Hall has been extensively modified. These reinforced concrete-walled buildings withstood the 1952 earthquake, without damage.

20. Former Bee-Kay Movie Theatre: This building was built as a motion picture theatre. It was constructed of thick, reinforced concrete, and survived the 1952 earthquake. It was remodeled as an indoor mall, and later sold to the Moose Lodge. A fire in 1994 destroyed all but the shell. This building is now owned by the City of Tehachapi and has been lovingly restored. The mural on the south side of the building is Tehachapi's latest mural and depicts people waiting for the theater to open.

21. Bandhauer Market: The St. Vincent De Paul thrift shop now occupies the Bandhauer Market building, which was later the Town and Country Market. Just to the north, between this building and the Bee-Kay Theatre, was the Tehachapi Food Lockers and the Lottie Lee Shop. These two shops were later torn down to make space for a parking lot for the Bandhauer Market.

22. Site of Bank of Tehachapi: Located on this site was the Bank of Tehachapi. Just to the south were several hotels then an open yard for hotel guests and employees, and on the corner of F Street was the Clark Hotel.

23. Hitching Post Theater: This building was constructed after the 1952 earthquake. The two-story frame hotel (formerly the Old Summit School, which was moved to this site from N. Curry Street in the early 1900s) had survived the earthquake, and was moved from this site to make way for the new construction. The current building was originally used as a post office, a department store, an electric shop, a variety store, and a drug store (all at the same time).

24. Site of early historic buildings: The current building, which was built for the post office, replaced two older houses. Across the alley, there was once a small, tin building that housed fire fighting equipment, including a hand-drawn cart with hoses. That building can now be seen at the northeast corner of the Errea House garden (Walking Tour stop # 2).

25. “People of the Mountains: The Nüwa Tribe” mural: painted by Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, 2004. In this village scene from before contact with the white man, women weave baskets and grind foodstuffs in bedrock mortars. Children play games, as the men make tools and weave rabbit pelt blankets. The border shows more recent members and elders of the tribe, and baskets for which the local Indians were known. The background includes local pictographs, a natural lake and the natural vegetation still visible in the area, such as cattails and rushes. The domed huts are called kahni, which means house in the Kawaiisu or Nüwa language.

26. “Red Front Blacksmith Shop” mural, painted by Lyn Bennett, 2006: The original Red Front Blacksmith Shop was located directly across the street from this mural. The workers pictured represent many local ranching families. The images in the ovals next to the buildings show scenes from Tehachapi’s ranching history. The outside ovals show working blacksmiths in their shops. All images were taken from old photographs. A few of the well-known local cattle brands and the names of the ranchers are shown in the box.

27. “The Historic Tehachapi Loop” mural: painted by John Pugh and Marc Spykerbosch, 2002. The Tehachapi Loop put Tehachapi on the map when it was completed in 1876. Before that time there was no rail access across the Tehachapi Mountains. The historic Loop is pictured here, circa 1952, with a trompe l’oeil effect showing damage to the building due to the historic 1952 earthquake. The wall upon which the mural is painted appears to be cracking open from the force of the earthquake. The Loop is pictured in late summer colors, rather than the usual greens that are only seen for a short time in the spring.

28. “1915 Street Dance” mural: painted by Phil Slagter, 2004. A street dance held in 1915 commemorated the first electric streetlights installed in Tehachapi. The site of the dance was the corner of Green and F Street. The building there housed the Masonic Lodge and the Post Office in 1915, and you see the type of streetlight actually installed in 1915. Faces of current local residents, and those from the history of Tehachapi, were chosen to incorporate into the scene. The faces represent five former mayors, other old-time residents, as well as current residents, one child and a dog. The fire hydrant with a straw hat tossed casually on top is from the original photo.

29. “T-hacha-P Brand” mural: designed by Art Mortimer, painted by Tehachapi artists, 2005. The “T-Hacha-P” logo was taken from an early fruit crate label. The steam powered combine shown is followed by a horse drawn water wagon, with Tehachapi Peak in the background. Jake Jacobsen, a former mayor and civic leader, along with his brother Rolf, built this seed-packing shed. The funnel still seen on the roof of the building, directed seeds into a hopper, which you can see inside the building. In the past, Tehachapi has seen the production of seeds for many diverse crops.

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