Kernville (former town), California

Kernville (also, Whiskey Flat, Rogersville and Williamsburg) is a former settlement in the Kern River Valley of the Sierra Nevada, in Kern County, California.[1]


Whiskey Flat, Rogersville and Williamsburg
Former settlement
1941 map of Kernville area
Location in California
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 35°42′51″N 118°26′12″W
Country United States
State California
CountyKern County
Elevation785 m (2,575 ft)

Established in 1858 as a gold camp, the town was renamed Kernville in 1864. It lay at an elevation of 2,575 feet (785 m) near the present-day town of Wofford Heights.[1]

Most of the town was dismantled or relocated to higher ground by the time it was fully submerged under the Lake Isabella reservoir in 1954. Some building foundations are visible when lake levels are low.[1]


An 1858 gold rush, caused by the discovery of the Big Blue Mine nearby, led to the formation of a town on the flats along the Kern River. Briefly called Rogersville (after the man who first found gold in the area while chasing his mule) and Williamsburg, it was renamed Whiskey Flat in 1863 after a saloon opened in the previously "dry" town.[2] The post office formerly at Keysville was moved to Kernville and operated there from 1868 to 1951, when service was moved to the new Kernville.[3][4]

Hollywood producers shot many films, mostly Westerns in the town.[5]

The original townsite is now registered as California Historical Landmark #132.[6]

See also

  • Kern River Valley topics
  • History of Kern County, California


  1. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Kernville (former town), California
  2. Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 1055-1056. ISBN 9781884995149.
  3. Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1055-1056. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  4. Walter N. Frickstad, A Century of California Post Offices 1848-1954, Philatelic Research Society, Oakland, CA. 1955, pp. 50-60
  6. "Kernville". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-07.

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