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Bakersfield was established in 1863 in the western shadow of the Sierra Nevada at the intersection of two of the country's defining events: the California Gold Rush and the Civil War. Bakersfield's first generation of pioneers--gold-seekers, Southern sympathizers, and European immigrants--tamed the region's confluence of swamps and built a frontier town. Over the next century, the town at the southern tip of California's San Joaquin Valley produced a noteworthy array of heroes, poets, leaders, and scoundrels, including the most influential Supreme Court chief justice in the nation's history, two best-selling country artists, decorated athletes, brilliant innovators, and corrupt lawmen. Founded by Col. Thomas Baker, Bakersfield prospered atop fertile soil unmatched anywhere on the planet and crude oil reserves that had few peers. During the Dust Bowl migration, it became a beacon of hope to the refugees of the nation's most dire ecological disaster and, consequently, a unique region that writer Gerald Haslam came to call the Other California. Today, Bakersfield is California's ninth-largest city and among its fastest-growing. The story of its first century is presented here in words and pictures.