Lake Isabella, California
Location in Kern County and the state of California
|• Senate||Roy Ashburn (R)|
|• Assembly||Jean Fuller (R)|
|• U. S. Congress||Kevin McCarthy (R)|
|• Total||22.148 sq mi (57.337 km2)|
|• Land||21.714 sq mi (56.239 km2)|
|• Water||0.424 sq mi (1.098 km2) 1.9%|
|Elevation||2,513 ft (766 m)|
|• Density||160/sq mi (60/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||1652739|
Lake Isabella (formerly, Isabella and Kernville) is a census-designated place (CDP) in the southern Sierra Nevadas, in Kern County, California, United States, located near Lake Isabella. Lake Isabella is located 35 miles (56 km) east-northeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2513 feet (766 m). The population was 3,466 at the 2010 census, up from 3,315 at the 2000 census.
Lake Isabella is located at .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 22.1 square miles (57 km2), over 98% of it land.
Lake Isabella is at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Kern River. These rivers are 'wild', in that they are not controlled by any dam upstream. Upstream on the North Fork white water enthusiasts play in the spring and early summer. The famous Golden Trout originate in these rivers in the high country to the north.
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When the Europeans first explored this area they found it mostly populated by a couple of Indian tribes, the Tubatulabals and by a few Paiute-Shoshone. The Tubatulabals were a happy, friendly people. The name, "Tubatulabal" means "those who go out and gather Pinyon nuts". They were referred to by other Indians as the 'happy talkers' because their language was lilting and full of laughter. The Paiutes were from the deserts to the north east across the Sierras. The two tribes were closely related by marriage ties. 'Paiute' is taken from an Indian word meaning 'fly eaters'. An important part of the Paiute diet was a flour made from dried ground up brine-fly larva. These larva swarm thickly in the salt lakes of the desert basins.
The Tubatulabals coexisted peacefully with the white settlers for the most part. In 1863 there was a massacre of the Tubatulabals and some Paiutes by the U.S. Cavalry. A casual researcher will find differing accounts of this massacre. One account is found in the Handbook of North Americans - California Volume 8, 1978. Another is in one of local historian Bob Powers earlier books on Kern Valley. The accounts differ considerably.
The area east of the lake, along the South Fork, was first settled by cattle ranchers in the early 1850s. As the ranching operations grew and prospered, they began to raise hay in the lower, temperate valley to feed the cattle in the winter. From spring until autumn the cowboys would tend the cattle up in the high country of the Sierras. In this dry mountain area there are many lush mountain meadows in nearly every direction from Lake Isabella. The Kern Plateau is directly NE of Lake Isabella and varies from 7,000 feet (2,100 m) to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) elevation. It has tall timber, many streams and much vegetation useful for cattle graze. The cattlemen also ran cattle in the desert areas beyond Walkers Pass.
In 1857 a gold rush to the Whiskey Flat area in the early 1850s brought a flood of new faces to the lower North Fork area, and in the mountains and canyons nearby.
The town of Isabella was founded by Steven Barton in 1893 and named in honor of Queen Isabella of Spain while her name was current during the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Lake Isabella was created by a dam on the Kern River in 1953 forcing the town to move about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of the original site. The Isabella post office, which had opened in 1896, operated at the new site until the name was changed to Lake Isabella in 1957.
The dam's reservoir also inundated Kernville, a later name for Whiskey Flat. Most of Kernville was relocated to higher ground nearby.
The area is a mecca for hikers, boaters, water skiers, fishermen, birders, hunters, wind surfers, kayakers, and other outdoor recreationists. Tourist trade is a major part of the area's economy.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Lake Isabella had a population of 3,466. The population density was 156.6 people per square mile (60.4/km²). The racial makeup of Lake Isabella was 3,069 (88.5%) White, 6 (0.2%) African American, 96 (2.8%) Native American, 18 (0.5%) Asian, 7 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 73 (2.1%) from other races, and 197 (5.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 339 persons (9.8%).
The Census reported that 3,466 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 1,621 households, out of which 384 (23.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 566 (34.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 218 (13.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 104 (6.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 138 (8.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 14 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 592 households (36.5%) were made up of individuals and 299 (18.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14. There were 888 families (54.8% of all households); the average family size was 2.76.
The population was spread out with 666 people (19.2%) under the age of 18, 299 people (8.6%) aged 18 to 24, 653 people (18.8%) aged 25 to 44, 1,106 people (31.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 742 people (21.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.
There were 2,164 housing units at an average density of 97.8 per square mile (37.7/km²), of which 1,019 (62.9%) were owner-occupied, and 602 (37.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 5.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.5%. 2,088 people (60.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,378 people (39.8%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,315 people, 1,526 households, and 877 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 150.0 people per square mile (57.9/km²). There were 2,168 housing units at an average density of 98.1 per square mile (37.9/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.44% White, 0.06% Black or African American, 1.90% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.50% from other races, and 4.22% from two or more races. 6.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,526 households out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 19.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 27.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 89.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $19,813, and the median income for a family was $24,800. Males had a median income of $24,896 versus $18,523 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,452. About 18.2% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.2% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those age 65 or over.
- U.S. Census
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Isabella, California
- Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 1058. ISBN 9781884995149.
- Durham, David L. (2000). Durham's Place Names of Central California: Includes Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings & Kern Counties. Quill Driver Books. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-884995-33-0.
- All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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