In 1987, local historian Pat Gracey wrote a 100-year history for St. Malachy Church's centennial commemoration.
"Each notation has volumes of history behind it, but it's nice to get a glimpse of the 'goings on' of the people who came before us," Gracey wrote in her introduction.
Among those historical dates noted by Gracey:
1776: Padre Francisco Garces traverses the Tehachapi Pass with four Mojave Indian guides.
1827: Jedediah Smith crosses the Tehachapi Pass and becomes the first American to see the area.
1832-33: Kit Carson guides trappers through the valley using Smith's route.
1843: John C. Fremont crosses Tehachapi and Oak Creek passes.
1853: Lt. Robert Williamson explores Tehachapi Pass as a possible railroad route.
1854: The first settler arrives in Tehachapi. John Moore Brite, his wife Amanda and their family settled in what they called "Brite's Valley." The Wiggins family also settles in Brite's Valley, and the two families unite when John Moore Brite's son, Jim, marries Lucinda Caroline "Callie" Wiggins.
1854: George Cummings first sees the Tehachapi Valley while on a cattle drive. Later, he settles in the valley bearing his name.
1856: The first Fourth of July celebration in Kern County is held in Tehachapi.
1856: Squire Wiggins is the first postmaster of Old Town (then Tehachapi). It is located at Ed Green's General Store.
1861: William Wiggins first conducts school in Tehachapi Valley.
1867: The first woman schoolteacher, Louesa Marie Jewett (Crites), arrives in Tehachapi on horseback. The last names of her students include Brite, Wiggins, Dozier, Cuddeback, Hossick, Hart, Tyler and Hale.
1869: The Fickert family arrives in Bear Valley.
1869: Anton Pauley moves to Tehachapi for his health and pursues a farming and butcher business. Pauley Street is named after him. He later donates land for the first St. Malachy Church on F Street.
1869: William Farmer Freeman and his wife, Susan Medlin Freeman, arrive by covered wagon to settle in Tehachapi. That year, their first child, Susan "California" Freeman, is born. The journey from Navarro County, Texas took them seven months.
1870: John Narboe becomes the postmaster of Tehachapi.
1876: A railroad line opens from Tehachapi to the southland. The Tehachapi Loop is the first accomplishment in the project. The Loop special construction allows the old steam engines to circumvent the necessary altitude.
1876: The town of Tehachapi is founded when the S.P. Railroad builds a depot on the site. It is first called Summit Station, but the name Tehachapi moves with the settlers who come in from what is now Old Town. The Southern Pacific Railroad also finalizes the spelling of Tehachapi, which had a variety of spellings up to that point. The new railroad greatly changes the shipping and transportation for the local citizens.
1877: The first Catholic Mass on record is celebrated in Tehachapi by Father Matthew Marron, assistant pastor of St. Mary's Church in Visalia. Mass was offered at the home of Anton Pauley since no church was built yet.
1879-1896: Father William Denpflin, a Dominican Priest, traveles a wide area of California, including Tehachapi. The Indians call him Padre Blanco because of his white robes. The Indians build rude huts for him to offer Mass. His large stature, red hair and beard, plus the robes, make the Indians think he is of divine origin.
1881: The Tehachapi Methodist-Episcopal Church is founded, with the first building located on Green and D streets, later to be known as the Community Congregational Church. The church still holds regular services on the corner of E and Green streets.
1887: St. Malachy Catholic Church is built and designated a parish by the bishop. The first pastor is Father Patrick Bannon. The church is built by local citizens with considerable financial help from the Fickert family. The parish boundaries include north to Owens Valley, east to Needles and south to the Lancaster area. The priest often travels by train and rides in the engine with the engineer.
1909: Tehachapi becomes an incorporated city.
1909: The Bank of Tehachapi boasts of $100,000 in capital.