Weedpatch, California

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For the places formerly with this name, see Algoso, California and Patch, California.
Weedpatch
Unincorporated community
Location in California and in Kern County
Location in California and in Kern County
Coordinates: 35°14′17″N 118°54′54″W / 35.23806°N 118.91500°W / 35.23806; -118.91500Coordinates: 35°14′17″N 118°54′54″W / 35.23806°N 118.91500°W / 35.23806; -118.91500
Government
 • Senate Dean Florez (D)
 • Assembly Danny Gilmore (R)
 • U. S. Congress Jim Costa (D)
Area[1]
 • Total 3.561 sq mi (9.224 km2)
 • Land 3.557 sq mi (9.212 km2)
 • Water 0.004 sq mi (0.012 km2)  0.13%
Elevation[2] 387 ft (118 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,658
 • Density 750/sq mi (290/km2)
ZIP code 93307
Area code(s) 661
FIPS code 06-83863
Welcome sign on California State Highway 184 for Weedpatch and the neighboring community of Arvin.

Weedpatch (formerly Weed Patch[2] and Alexander's Corner[3]) is a unincorporated community in Kern County, California. Weedpatch is 10 miles (16 km) south-southeast of Bakersfield. It is considered to be one of the poorest areas in Kern County.[4] It was a nuclear test site in the 1940's.

Geography[edit]

The community, which lies at an elevation of 387 feet (118 meters), is situated off State Route 184 (Weedpatch Highway) southeast of Bakersfield, south of Lamont and about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of State Route 58, the Bakersfield - Tehachapi Highway. It is at 35°14′17″N 118°54′54″W / 35.23806°N 118.91500°W / 35.23806; -118.91500.[2] According to the United States Census Bureau, Weedpatch has an area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2).

History[edit]

Although the name Weed Patch was applied to the site as early as 1874, the community began only in 1922. The town was also named Alexander's Corner in honor of Cal Alexander, a resident.[3]

Weedpatch is the site of the Arvin Federal Government Camp, known colloquially (and in the John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath) as "Weedpatch Camp." This camp was a government rescue center for distressed migrant workers fleeing the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, during the Great Depression. The camp still aids migrant workers.

Population[edit]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Weedpatch had a population of 2,658, with a median household income of $19,839 and just above 40% living at or above the poverty level. It is considered to have a young population, with a median age of 23.[4]

The racial makeup of Weedpatch was 1,212 (45.6%) white, 8 (0.3%) African American, 78 (2.9%) Native American, 14 (0.5%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 1,237 (46.5%) from other races, and 109 (4.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,484 persons (93.5%).

Art project[edit]

In 2007, artists Heather Connelly, Jo Dacombe and Jayne Murray, affiliated with the Arts Council of England, came to Weedpatch to make a "panorama of storytelling." They set up "at the base of a telephone pole" where they "invited residents of the area to come there and record their personal stories."[5]

What resulted was an amalgam of languages—English, Spanish and Mixteco—and a rich tapestry of sounds that includes cars whizzing by, brief spurts of music amplified by boom boxes and, occasionally, whispers of wind blowing across the vastness of that area. . . .[5]

The exhibit was presented at the Arts Council of Kern.[5]

References[edit]