Havilah, California

Coordinates: 35°31′04″N 118°31′07″W / 35.51778°N 118.51861°W / 35.51778; -118.51861
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Havilah, California
A replica of the 1868 courthouse was built in 1966 and serves as a museum today. The museum is open weekends April through September.
A replica of the 1868 courthouse was built in 1966 and serves as a museum today. The museum is open weekends April through September.
Havilah, California is located in California
Havilah, California
Havilah, California
Location in California
Havilah, California is located in the United States
Havilah, California
Havilah, California
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 35°31′04″N 118°31′07″W / 35.51778°N 118.51861°W / 35.51778; -118.51861
CountryUnited States
CountyKern County
Elevation3,136 ft (956 m)
Reference no.100

Havilah is an unincorporated community in Kern County, California.[1] It is located in the mountains between Walker Basin and the Kern River Valley,[2] 5 miles (8.0 km) south-southwest of Bodfish[3] at an elevation of 3,136 feet (956 m).[1]



Asbury Harpending arrived in the area where there were many southern-sympathizers in 1864.[4] After finding gold deposits on Clear Creek, a tributary of the Kern River, the group claimed a townsite on the road from Keyesville to Tehachapi and named it after the Biblical land of Havilah, "where there is gold" according to Genesis 2:11.[5] By the end of 1865, Havilah was a boom town with 147 business buildings, thirteen saloons, and a population of nearly a thousand, mostly miners working the Clear Creek Mining District.

Havilah was the county seat at the founding of Kern County on April 2, 1866, and the county's first newspaper, the Havilah Courier, began publication that same year.[6] The county government was moved to Bakersfield in 1874.[7]

A post office operated at Havilah from 1866 to 1918.[3] The Havilah School District, formed in 1866, was the first public school in Kern County.

Nearby historic mining communities include Loraine, (originally named Paris) and Twin Oaks.[8] The town is now registered as California Historical Landmark #100.[9]


Aside from the Old Havilah Cemetery, little remains from the original settlement, most of which was destroyed by fires in the 1920s. A replica of the courthouse and one-room schoolhouse have been constructed near their original locations.[10] The sides of Caliente-Bodfish Road in Havilah are lined with signs marking where other historic buildings once stood.

Accessible by car, Havilah is just over 20 miles (32 km) driving distance from the intersection of State Route 58 and Caliente-Bodfish Road. It is just over five driving miles from Bodfish on Caliente-Bodfish Road.

The former Havilah Courier building, now located at the Kern County Museum
Havilah, California in 1910
The Sequoia National Forest Work Center on Caliente-Bodfish Road c. 2007.

A US Forest Service fire station is situated along Caliente-Bodfish Road at 35°30′38″N 118°31′06″W / 35.51056°N 118.51833°W / 35.51056; -118.51833.[2]

The US Geological Survey plots several mines nearby. Names of local mines include:[2]

  • Southern Cross Mine
  • Friday Mine
  • Uncle Sam Mine
  • McKeadney Mine

Districts, zones, boundaries, and services[edit]

The ZIP Code is 93518, and the community is inside area code 661. Havilah shares its postal ZIP Code with the nearby communities of Caliente and Loraine.[11] The community is within the Kern County Air Pollution Control District.[12]

The area is bordered to the east and west by Sequoia National Forest lands and is located at the junction of Havilah Canyon and Haight Canyon. Elevations at the floor of the canyon range from approximately 3,050 feet (930 m) AMSL to 3,400 feet (1,000 m). Havilah Canyon runs roughly north–south and mountain peaks to the east and west are over 1,000 feet (300 m) higher than the roadway, which runs along the floor of Havilah Canyon. King Solomons Ridge lies to the east; Hobo Ridge lies to the west.[2] Snow may be present during winter months.

The community falls within the Battalion 7 area of the Kern County Fire Department. It is listed by the California Fire Alliance as being at high risk to wildfire.[13]

Commercial electric power is supplied by Southern California Edison.[14]

California Historical Landmark[edit]

The California Historical Landmark reads:

NO. 100 HAVILAH - Gold deposits at Havilah were discovered in 1864. Havilah was the county seat between 1866, when Kern County was organized, and 1872, when the government was moved to Bakersfield. Havilah was an active mining center for more than 20 years, and there are still some operating mines in this vicinity.[15]

A state plaque is located at 10 Miller St. in Bodfish, California. A private plaque is at 6789 Caliente-Bodfish Rd., Havilah, California.

See also[edit]

flag California portal


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Havilah, California
  2. ^ a b c d Map: Miracle Hot Springs, California, 7.5-minute quadrangle, US Geological Survey, 1989.
  3. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1045. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  4. ^ Price, Robert (April 15, 2023). "160 years ago, a culture-defining atrocity on the Kern River". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved April 17, 2023.
  5. ^ Founder's name from Gudde, Erwin G, California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographic Names, 4th ed.(Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1998) pp. 161.
  6. ^ Cook, Fred S., "Little Town of Havilah,"Historic Legends of the Kern River Valley, (Volcano, California: California Traveler, Inc., 1975) pp.18.
  7. ^ "Havilah: Historic Landmark #279," State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation, Office of Historic Preservation, 2007. This information is duplicated on at least one other state web site and in the National Register for Historic Places.
  8. ^ Hoover, Mildred Brooke et al., "Kern County," Historic Spots in California, Fourth Edition, (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1990) pp. 127.
  9. ^ "Havilah". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  10. ^ "Historic Havilah (No. 100 California Historical Landmark) - Sierra Nevada Geotourism MapGuide". www.sierranevadageotourism.org. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Based on 2000 US Census Bureau data and verified by checking the US Postal Service web site.
  12. ^ Based on ZIP Code data made available by the California Air Resources Board. One other reference says it's in the "San Joaquin Valley APCD."
  13. ^ Kern County Fire Department, Wildland Fire Management Plan, 2004.
  14. ^ Information based on California Public Utilities Commission regulatory filings.
  15. ^ californiahistoricallandmarks.com Landmark chl-100

External links[edit]