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Taft's Historic Fort
  • Patterned after Sutter's Fort in Sacramento, CA, which was built in 1840.
  • Building began November 11, 1938 by the WPA under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Kern County.
  • It took 83 workmen 18 months to build and was completed and dedicated May 22, 1940.
  • It was built of native adobe mud bricks made at the site.
  • W. Fancis Parsons was the architect and designer of The Fort.
  • The Fort covers nearly three acres and measures 360 feet by 200 feet, over 1,000 feet around the outside walls. The walls are 14 feet high.
  • The central building, the auditorium, is patterned after Sutter's which housed his offices and clerks. The original auditorium was damaged in the 1952 earthquake, and was rebuilt to safety specifications.
  • In 1940, The Fort held all federal, state, and county offices. The South wing was also the county hospital, and many babies were born here until 1951 when Westside Hospital was built.
  • During World War II, The Fort held the local draft board office where all local soldiers received their call-up notices and discharge papers.
  • During the Korean War, a National Guard Unit was stationed at The Fort. They drilled in the back parking area and built the additional adobe lean-to structures to house arms and vehicles.
  • Thousands of children received their vaccinations and new polio vaccine at the County Health Clinic at The Fort.
  • In 1980, a building study was done due to large cracks in the outside walls. The Fort was declared 'unsafe for a major earthquake' and all county offices were moved, leaving it vacant for several years.
  • Due to the efforts of Assemblyman Trice Harvey, The Fort was dedicated as a State Historic Landmark on March 8, 1980. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on July 22, 1981. This saved the building from being demolished.
  • In 1985, The Fort was given to the West Kern Oil Museum. Seven years later, in December 1992, The Fort Preservation Society was formed and became the owner of The Fort.
  • The Fort Preservation Society is governed by a 15 member board. The board employs an Executive Director and Caretaker to handle the daily operations of The Fort. Volunteers are used to help maintain the grounds.

The Fort is a nonprofit organization depending on memberships, donations, and office and event rentals to maintain and preserve the structure and grounds. It is used for weddings, parties, school events, class reunions, meetings, and other community events and public functions.

    City of Taft
    209 E. Kern St Taft, CA 93268
    Phone: (661) 763-1222  |   Fax: (661) 765-2480
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