Transportation History (1900 to 1950)

1900
Ninety-five percent of people travel by train. Ninety percent of freight was shipped by train.

A vote to approve $100,000 in bonds for the Bakersfield and Kern Electric Railway was approved.

Kern County population was 16,480 people.

December 13, the Automobile Club is founded by 10 car enthusiasts in Los Angeles.

1901
The Bakersfield and Kern Electric Railway was formed to replace the horse drawn street cars. The corporation was launched by H. A. Blodget, C. N. Beal, F. T. Whorf, C. R. Eager and S. B. Cushing.

In Bakersfield, the first electric car line ran along 19th Street between Kern and Bakersfield. The railway was owned by Power Transit and Light Company which was owned by the Kern land Company.

1902
U. S. Government offers first oil and gas leases on Indian lands in Oklahoma.

1903
Wright brothers fly.

Ford Motor Company is founded in Detroit.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company begins producing motorcycles.

1904
New York subway opens.

Vacuum electron tube for radio telephone invented in England.

1905
Gyrocompass invented by Elmer Sperry

1906
The Auto Club begins sign posting roads. Within seven years, more than 4000 directional signs are posted on 3500 miles of roads.

1907
Ford's Model T is first mass-market car.

The Daily Californian changes names to The Bakersfield Californian.

1910
The Bakersfield and Kern Railway was sold to San Joaquin Light and Power Company. Major Improvements were made to the system.

Community of Arvin established.

City of Taft incorporated.

Kern County population was 37,715 people.

Panama Canal opens.

1911
City of Maricopa incorporated.

First transcontinental airplane flight takes 82 hours, 4 minutes - plus stops.

1912
Titanic sinks.

Bakersfield to San Jose Road Race wan by Harley Davidson new V-twin modal.

1914
Jitneys begin operating in some cities.

The first Auto Club branch offices opens in San Diego. Within the year, offices open in Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.

U. S. Postal Service uses Harley Davidson motorcycles for rural deliveries.

1915
Door to door jitney service began in Bakersfield. An election was held to choose between the railway and jitneys. The railway was chosen and jitneys were banned. Bakersfield was the first community in California to ban jitneys as a public nuisance. The railway company began transporting passengers in small buses.

The "Ridge Route" opened between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. It took most of a day to make the trip.

City of Delano incorporated.

Alexander Graham Bell makes first transcontinental telephone call - New York to San Francisco.

1916
First Federal Aid Road Act passed. Created the Bureau of Public Roads.

In Bakersfield, three 12 passengers buses were purchase and placed into service.

1917-18
World War I.

1918
First regular Air Mail service begins.

1919
First transatlantic non-stop flight by U. S. Navy seaplanes.

1920
The Ridge Route (now Interstate 5) was fully paved between Bakersfield and Los Angeles.

Kern County population was 54,845 people.

1921
Federal Aid Highway Act passed. Created the Federal Aid Highway System.

1923
The Auto Club drafts the proposed California Vehicle Act, which establishes a uniform speed limit and other rules of the road.

1925
Federal Aid Highway Act passed. First recognized the need for a continuous national highway system. Created the highway numbering system.

1926
Dr. Robert Goddard demonstrates potential of rockets using liquid fuel.

1927
Lindbergh flies the Atlantic.

First modern city bus is manufactured by two brothers in California. It looks almost identical at the front and back, seats 43, features driver-controlled doors.

The American Association of State Highway Officials published the Manual and Specification for the Manufacture, Display and Erection of U.S. Standard Road Markers and Signs.

1929
The National Conference of Streets and Highways published a manual for use on Urban Streets.

1930
Total registered vehicles in California reaches 2 million.

Kern County population was 82,570 people.

1933
Financial setbacks forced the San Joaquin Light and Power Company to cease operations in Bakersfield. The equipment was sold to V. N. Mickelberry, a long-time employee. The Bakersfield Transit Company system was operated on a smaller scale.

1934
Federal Aid Highway Act passed. Required that 1.5 percent of funding apportioned to states annually could be used for surveys, plans, engineering and economic analysis for future highways.

1935
First commercial application of modern street cars.

The American Association of State Highway Officials published the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (Updates 1942, 1948, 1961, 1971, 1978 and 1988).

1937
The Auto Club proposes a system of freeways to reduce traffic congestion in Los Angeles.

1940
California's population reaches 7 million people.

Number of registered vehicles in California approaches 2.8 million and total vehicle miles traveled is 24 billion.

Arroyo Seco parkway opens between Pasadena and Los Angeles. Later named the Pasadena Freeway, it's the first link in the regions freeway system.

Kern County population was 135,120 people.

1941-45
World War II.

1942
Last street car operated in Bakersfield.

1943
First recognized episode of smog occurs in Los Angeles during the summer. The phenomenon is termed "gas attack" and blamed on a nearby butadiene plant. The situation does not improve after plant is closed.

China Lake Naval Ordinance Test Station established.

Community of Ridgecrest established.

1944
Federal Aid Highway Act passed. Federal Aid Primary and Secondary systems established. A National System of Interstate Highways of 40,000 miles was authorized.

1945
The city of Los Angeles begins its air pollution control program, establishing the Bureau of Smoke Control in its health department

1947
California Governor Earl Warren signs into law the Air Pollution Control Act. Authorizing the creation of an Air Pollution Control District in every county in the state.

Captain Chuck Yeager pilots first aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound at Edwards Air Force Base in Kern County.