Skip to main content

California State Route 119; a US Route 399 tale

After a week of heavy rain I was finally back on the road to tour some highways of interest.  Today was a quadruple-header near the Bakersfield area with the first route being California State Route 119.






CA 119 is a 30 mile east/west state highway in Kern County between CA 99 in Pumpkin Center and CA 33 in Taft.  CA 119 is mostly known for being a section of US 399 which was decomissioned in the 1964 California State Highway Renumbering.  The change from US 399 to CA 119 between Taft and Pumpkin center can be observed by comparing the 1963/1964 State Highway Maps.

1963 State Highway Map

1964 State Highway Map 

US 399 was first signed in 1935 between Bakersfield and Ventura.  Between Taft and Pumpkin Center the route of US 399 was aligned on Legislative Route 140.  LRN 140 was adopted in 1933 but wasn't part of the original run of 1934 signed state highways before being assigned a US Route.  CAhighways.org and USends have more detailed information on US 399.

CAhighways.org on CA 119/LRN 140/US 399

USends on US 399

Interestingly US 399 seems to have always ended at the US 466 at Sumner Street in Bakersfield on a multiplex of US 99.  Both the 1936-37 and 1963 State Highway City inserts show US 99 multiplexing US 399 to US 466.

1936-37 State Highway Map City Insert

1963 State Highway City Insert

I started CA 119 by approaching it from CA 99 southbound.




My route on CA 119 was westbound to the right on the below photo.  US 399 would have met US 99 at Union Avenue about a quarter mile to the east on the left side of the below photo.





CA 119 is signed as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway but is otherwise known as the Taft Highway.  Pumpkin Center essentially is just a small strip of gas stations just barely outside the southern incorporated city limit of Bakersfield.






CA 119 skirts the city limit of Bakersfield before entering the small community of Panama.  Pamana dates back to the 1870s but essentially is just a name on a map.




CA 119 crosses a series of rails and dips into Bakersfield a couple more times passing through the community known as Old River.  Old River is apparently named after an old alignment of the Kern River before it's flow was heavily controlled by agriculture division and hydroelectric usage up river.









Approaching Interstate 5 on westbound CA 119 there is a VMS sign which was displaying windy condition ahead.  CA 119 west of I-5 begins to approach the Buena Vista Lake bed, Taft is signed as 18 miles to the west.






CA 119 passes the southern terminus of CA 43 at South Enos Lane.  South Enos Lane continues as a county road towards the remains of Lake Buena Vista to the south.  Lake Buena Vista was once a natural lake formed by the water flow of the Kern River as it's watershed made a northward turn towards Tulare Lake.  Tulare Lake was a shallow inland lake near Kettleman City which was close to 570 square miles during the 19th century.  Tulare Lake largely disappeared in the early 20th century as essentially it's entire watershed has been impounded or diverted.






CA 119 west of CA 43 is signed as a safety corridor and begins to approach the Elk Hills.



The Elk Hills are a low mountain range that is named after the Tule Elk which used to be common in the area.  The Elk Hills largely are filled with active oil wells which are common in the southern and western extent of San Joaquin Valley.  The passing zone that CA 119 uses over the Elk Hills was apparently built this past decade according to CAhighways.org.








West of the Elk Hills CA 119 passes through Dustin Acres and Valley Acres.






Taft is only 6 miles to the west of Valley Acres. 




CA 119 begins to ascend towards Taft passing through some oil fields along the way.






Ford City is just off of CA 119 on the Harrison Street junction.  CA 119 used to reach CA 33 by using Harrison Street in Ford City and 6th Street in Taft until the new bypass to the east was built this past decade.


CA 119 continues on the new bypass of Ford City and Taft to a western terminus at CA 33.  Taft incorporated in 1910 but was originally known as Rail Siding Number 2 when it was created to service the Sunset Railroad.  Taft's primary industry is the oil wells which surround the city.  US 399 would have continued south on what is now CA 33 to Ventura.







Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The original alignment of California State Route 1 in San Francisco

In 2019 the Gribblenation Blog Series covered the history of the Hyde Street Pier and the original surface alignment of US Route 101 in San Francisco.  Given the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic in May of 1937 coupled with the fact that the Sign State Routes had been announced in August of 1934 there were still some open questions regarding the original highway alignments in San Francisco.  Namely the question of this blog is; where was California State Route 1 prior to the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge?  Thanks the to the discovery of a 1936 Shell Highway Map of San Francisco and the California Highways & Public Works the answer can be conveyed clearly.     Part 1; the history of early California State Route 1 in San Francisco The genesis point for California State Route 1 ("CA 1") in San Francisco dates to 1933.  1933 was significant due to the State Legislature allowing the Division of Highways to assume maintenance of highways in Cities for the first time. 

Santa Clara County Route G8 and the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine

Santa Clara County Route G8 is a 29.38 mile County Sign Route which is part of the San Francisco Bay Area transportation corridor.  Santa Clara County Route G8 begins at California State Route 152 near the outskirts of Gilroy and terminates at former US Route 101 at 1st Street/Monterey Road near downtown San Jose.  Santa Clara County Route G8 incorporates the notable Almaden Expressway and is historically tied to the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine.   (Santa Clara County Route G8 map image courtesy CAhighways.org) Part 1; the history of Santa Clara County Route G8, the Almaden Road corridor and New Almaden Mine The present corridor of Santa Clara County Route G8 ("G8") began to take shape with the emergence of the Almaden Expressway.  According to the October 1960 California Highways & Public Works Unit 1 of the Almaden Expressway opened in November of 1959 between Alma Avenue near downtown San Jose south to the Guadalupe River as part of a Federal Highway Aid Secondary pro

California State Route 1 the Shoreline Highway Part 3; a drive through Mendocino County

This blog is Part 3 of a three part series on of the Shoreline Highway segment of California State Route 1 and features a drive through Mendocino County.  Part 2 found below features a drive through Marin County.  California State Route 1 the Shoreline Highway Part 2; a drive through Sonoma County Chapter 4; California State Route 1/Shoreline Highway through Mendocino County Upon crossing the Gualala River and entering Mendocino County CA 1 northbound traverses into Gualala at Postmile MEN 1.2. The land which the community of Gualala now sits was part of a 1844 Mexican Land Grant to General Rafael Garcia between the Gualala River and Mal Paso Creek.  After the Mexican-American War the State of California invalidated Garcia's Land Grant which was made it available to homesteaders.  In 1861 Cyrus Robinson filed a claim under the provisions of the 1820 Land Act on land upon which the community of Gualala now sits.  Soon a saloon, hotel and ferry would develop which formed the basis of