Wasco California History
We have seen dramatic demographic changes in recent years, and Wasco High School is no exception. The latest redevelopment and modernisation project is just one of the changes that have taken place in the district's curriculum. While the school building will be greatly changed by the renovation, the old auditorium will remain the core of the campus. In 1998 it was included in the National Register of Historic Sites and its unique architectural splendour has been beautifully preserved.
The origin of the name is not fully known, but anecdotes suggest that the term was suggested by a native of Oregon, the Wasco American Indians. The San Joaquin Valley was used for grazing and isolated the populated coastal region from the mountain ranges. In the late 18th century, US Secretary of State John Quincy Adams traveled to the region and met a Yokuta tribe. It was so popular that it was coined by the Western American Sugar Company and named after the residents of Wasco County, Oregon.
The first well was sunk north of Bakersfield near Oildale in 1899, and within a decade Kern County produced enough oil to power Kern, then the state's largest city. Many of the early inhabitants migrated to the oil-producing region, and the rapid development of the oil industry required manpower. The continued demand for petroleum products required a large number of workers, many of whom were from the cities of San Joaquin Valley and San Bernardino County.
A few years later, the Delta - Shamrock school moved to Wasco, and Blum served as Superintendent from 1990 to 1997. The tiny Elmo School District was designated a union district in 1996 and renamed Wereco Union School District after being taken over by the larger Elmos School Districts in the San Joaquin Valley and San Bernardino County. Faced with the closure due to low and declining enrollment, two districts merged in 1998 to form the Delta-Shamrock Schools District. That district then dropped the designation of principal and superintendent and was renamed Wasco School District in honor of its former principal, Dr. William Blums.
He had a long and distinguished career as a district superintendent, who retired in 1952. In the late 1970s, his tactics forced growers to recognize the UFW as a union, and in 1989 he became WADD's executive director. The organization cultivated a reputation as one of the largest and most successful growers in the country, growing to hundreds of people in Kern County.
The trade panel persuaded a Los Angeles-based land agency called the California Home Extension Association to buy nine land sections from the Kern County Land Company for development. The raw land was sold for 50 to 100 dollars per hectare, the land for 1.5 to 2 million dollars.
Development remained sparse until the local Kern County Trade Board decided to encourage immigration to the region. Two primary school districts were established in the area before the depot and the small village of Wasco even existed.
In December 1915, a successful bond election worth $45,000 was held, and some of the proceeds were used to purchase a school building for the Delta School District and Wasco Elementary School District. The Delta District built the school buildings in 1916, followed by the construction of a second school in 1917, the first of its kind in the area.
In a move that was seen on the positive side of the Depression Register, the Works Progress Administration approved a federal grant that would allow the district to complete the construction of a second phase of science buildings. The county bought the building, which was to be completed by the end of the year. As the SF-SJV line approached completion, a small depot was built in Wasco, but no date was set for construction, and some sources disagree as to whether it was built between 1897 and 1899. Since the Bakersfield rail line was not completed until 1898, it seems more plausible that a smaller depot was built in 1897 or 1899. However, since the ATSF closed this building after Amtrak began using it as a flag stop in 1975, this may have been more the result of construction delays, as the depot was either demolished at both ends the following year, rather than vice versa.
In the early 1870s, the Central Pacific Railroad, effectively controlled by the SP, was working on a line that would run through Wasco and connect San Francisco and Los Angeles.
It was determined that there was no Californian city with such a name, and Wasco was chosen as a replacement. First it was called Dewey and then "Deweyville," originally a loading station for the Santa Fe Railroad. The name "Wesley" was entered in the California State Register of Historic Places in 1872, the same year as the city's name.
It covers an area of about 750 square miles, with its western border being the border of the municipality of San Luis Obispo. The border extends to the Kern County lines to the west and the Santa Cruz County border to the east.