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The Spirit of Tehachapi

The Tehachapi Heritage League has received permission to open the doors of the Museum and Errea House on Saturday, June 19 from noon to 4 p.m. What a great day that will be.

Another great day exists in Tehachapi history: That being, July 4, 1977; the anniversary of the birth of our nation, as well as the grand opening of the first Tehachapi Heritage League Museum.

The first location of the museum was in the 200 block of "downtown" Tehachapi in the old Chamber of Commerce building. The new docents often received questions to answer that involved the Chamber and for the most part were able to answer. The city charged no rent but only required that they pay the utilities. Not a bad agreement.

The quite large Chamber of Commerce sign was replaced with an equally large one announcing the museum inside. People driving through town would stop to peruse archives and local information. In today's museum one will meet the same type folk simply stopping by to absorb a few facts about the town they traveled through. That first museum had no telephone and older museum helpers said they could not work where there was no phone for emergencies.

A young Jon Hammond conducted the meeting that voted in the required instrument of communication.

In 1982, after five years on Tehachapi's main street – officially called Tehachapi Boulevard – the museum was moved to the recently vacated Kern County Library. The property had been deeded by the county to the City of Tehachapi with the stipulation that it be used as a public building. As moving day arrived on Jan. 1, movers were hindered by a snow storm. Nevertheless, movers were able to complete the job and the rest is "history."

Each year, on July 4, members invite the public to stop by and have a piece of Heritage League Museum birthday cake, as well as celebrate the birthday of the United States. The lady members were encouraged to wear costumes depicting the styles of past Tehachapi residents during the late 19th century. I recall the well made and pretty "old time" dresses worn by Jerrie Cowan, Dot Newton and Del Troy. Word got around and the new museum soon had many supporters. Now, some forty-four years later, the traditions carry on. Hope to see you there on July 4th.

Founding Members of the Heritage League

• Chet Bowles, Jim Boydston, Shirley Dye, Claudia Galloway, Jon Pyle, Jeannette Sense, Ed Sense, Fred Wooldridge, Steve Wooldridge, Debbie Troy, Del Troy.

• First President, Ed Sense. Vice President, Jon Pyle. Secretary, Treasurer, Claudia Galloway.

Early launching support and artifact donations:

• The Stockyard, Judy Barras, Ola Mae Force, Herb Force, Ralph Thomas, Diane Thomas, Kent Turner, Jack Coyne, Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce, Tehachapi News, Tehachapi Valley Arts Association, H. M. Sprinkle, Stallion Springs, Colonel & Mrs Sydnor, Charles La Monk, Marjorie Griffin, King Company, Howard Metts, Ken Trozek, Monolith Cement Co., Don Simpson, N. Dwayne Smith, Bear Valley Springs.