and census-designated place
A distinctive residential house in Lebec
Location in Kern County and the state of California
|• Total||15.329 sq mi (39.702 km2)|
|• Land||15.329 sq mi (39.701 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0.001 km2) 0.002%|
|Elevation||3,481 ft (1,061 m)|
|• Density||96/sq mi (37/km2)|
Lebec is the home of the Tejon Ranch Company.
Interstate 5 is the only highway passing through the community. Local traffic drives on Lebec Road, Peace Valley Road, Frazier Mountain Park Road and adjoining streets.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Lebec has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.
Lebec is named in honor of Peter Lebeck or Lebecque, a French trapper killed by a grizzly bear here in 1837. He was memorialized in an epitaph at Fort Tejon, found carved in a bare spot on an old oak tree. The epitath read PETER LEBECK / KILLED BY A X BEAR / OCTR 17 / 1837. The bark of the oak tree eventually grew over the carving. A group called the Foxtail Rangers from Bakersfield removed the bark in the late 1800s and found the inscription in reverse on its underside. The piece is now displayed in the museum at Fort Tejon State Historic Park.
Lieutenant R.S. Williamson camped at the same oak grove in 1853 while on a mid-1850s mapping mission for a practicable railway route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Geologist William P. Blake accompanied Williamson's party. The area was garrisoned by the United States Army a year later, on Aug. 10, 1854, as Fort Tejon, the first military fort in the interior of California. The fort suffered extensive damage during the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake.
The Lebec Hotel was a large Spanish Colonial Revival style hotel on the Ridge Route in the community. It was built in 1921, and was popular with Hollywood executives and movie stars before WW II. It closed in 1968, and was demolished in 1972.
The 2010 United States Census reported that 1,468 people, 533 households, and 372 families resided in the CDP. The population density was 95.8 people per square mile (37.0/km²). There were 594 housing units at an average density of 38.8 per square mile (15.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 78.5% White, 1.0% African American, 3.1% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 10.1% from other races, and 6.2% from two or more races. 26.9% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
The Census reported that 100% of the population lived in households.
There were 533 households out of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 54.0% were opposite-sex married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present. 5.3% of households were unmarried opposite-sex partnerships and 0.6% were same-sex married couples or partnerships. 25.1% of households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75.
The population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 8.0% aged 18 to 24, 20.6% aged 25 to 44, 31.8% aged 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.6 years. For every 100 females there were 108.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.1 males.
There were 594 housing units of which 71.1% were owner-occupied and 28.9% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.1%. 70.4% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 29.6% lived in rental housing units.
In the 2000 census, 79 percent of the 1,224 residents were Caucasian (1,019 people). There were only three African Americans. There were 256 Hispanics or Latinos of any race (20 percent of all residents). Other residents included 16 American Indians or Alaska natives and four Asians.
The median age for Lebec residents was 36 years — almost the same as the 35 years for the nation as a whole.
Lebec also had slightly more veterans than its share — 169, or 19 percent, compared to 13 percent around the country.
Fifty-nine percent of Lebec adults were employed. On average, they traveled 27 minutes to get to their jobs, about the same as most Americans.
Lebec households had a lower median income than the nation as a whole — $46,857, compared to $50,046. Family income was $40,972.
There were just 100 people (or 8 percent) below the poverty level in Lebec in 2000 — significantly less than the nation as a whole, which was 12 percent in 2000. When calculated by families, though, the poverty rate in Lebec was only 1.4 percent.
Of the 516 housing units, 319 were occupied by owners and 127 by renters — about the same 7-3 ratio as the rest of the country. Sixty housing units (12 percent) were vacant.
|2000 figures||Lebec||California||United States|
|Med. home value||$163,600||$211,500||$119,600|
|High school diploma||72.1%||76.8%||80.4%|
Lebec is served by the Lebec County Water District which was established in 1967 and began operation on April 21, 1969. In October 2011 the district approved a five-year contract with Applied Process Technology to manage the district.
The district serves 836 people, and in May 2012 The New York Times reported that individual sampling of the district's water showed two contaminants above legal limits— alpha particle activity and Combined Uranium (picoCuries per liter). Two contaminants—lead (total) and uranium-228—were below legal limits but above "health guidelines."
In 2011-12 a committee of the Kern County Grand Jury investigated complaints about the installation and connection of a private 12-inch line to the district's water supply, by which a developer hoped to bring water to a hotel then planned for construction. The committee's report claimed that the water line was laid without proper approval and that the "subsequent opening of the hotel created a water shortage that lasted for at least five days." It was later determined that two men affiliated with the district's governance, along with the hotel developers, constructed the water line across Cuddy Creek without a permit from California Department of Fish and Game which was gotten after the fact.
The Grand Jury committee also investigated "a number of complaints" alleging that the board violated the California Open Meetings Law, that it exceeded its authority and that it engaged in "unprofessional conduct." The committee submitted its report in April 2012, finding, among other things, "frequent bickering" among governing board members and the public, "highly irregular" actions at a board meeting in December 2011, including the approval of a "seemingly pre-designated slate" of officers. The committee report stated that the water district "is not operating in a manner that serves the best interests of the public" and recommended "formal training . . . and conduct themselves accordingly or resign from the board."
The board voted on January 14, 2014, to open each meeting with a prayer "prior to the Pledge of Allegiance at all future meetings," and president Michael Hightower opened the subsequent meeting, on February 11, "with a call to stand for a minute of silence. He asked that all—including 'atheists or agnostics, with their powers of positive thinking' and those that are faith-based, 'with their prayers,'—to focus on the much-needed resource of rain."
- The Mountain Enterprise newspaper — circulates in Lebec and the surrounding communities.
- 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake
- U.S. Census
- Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1060. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
- Climate Summary for Lebec, California
- "Bark from the Lebec Oak". SCVHistory.com. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Fort Tejon Earthquake". Southern California Earthquake Data Center. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Ridge Route.com: The Lebec Hotel . with images.
- "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Lebec CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
-  Lebec County Water District official website,
- "Lebec County Water District Twelve Inch Line," The Mountain Enterprise website
- "Toxic Waters: Lebec County Water District," The New York Times, May 16, 2012
- Gary Meyer, "Lebec Water District Opens With Silent Prayer," The Mountain Enterprise, February 21, 2014, page 4
- Additional information is at Patric Hedlund, " 'I didn't read the grand jury report,' says Lebec water board president," The Mountain Enterprise, June 21, 2013
- Gary Meyer, "LCWD Appoints New Director, Votes to Start Meetings With Prayer," The Mountain Enterprise, January 17, 2014, page 4
- Kern Regional Transit bus routes.