History of The District
In the months prior to November 1930, the Kern County Board of Supervisors by resolution, formed the West Side Cemetery District; this action made possible by the Public Cemetery Enabling Act of 1909. Prior to 1930 and until1933, the cemetery used for public burial was located a the south end of Lierly Ave. in what was known as “South Taft” at “Midway Cemetery”. The first Board of Trustees meeting was held on November 1, 1930 and the board consisted of 3 members. A fourth person was an advisor to the board and was a County Engineer.
The Board of Trustees voted to acquire land for cemetery purposes on April 5, 1932 and was referred to as “4.01 acres of land located in the southeast quarter of section 7, township 32 south, range 24 east”. This is the location of the West Side Cemetery at the present time, 440 E. Cedar St. Development of the property began in November 1932 when negotiation was completed with the Western Water Company (now West Kern Water District), and bids for the water line were accepted. Several thousand feet of 6 5/8 inch drill/casing pipe was purchased from E.C. Emmons Supply Co for $.40 per foot and laid by the Virginia Pipeline Company for $.17 per foot. In December 1932, bids for grading, fence, fertilizer and roadways was awarded and followed by curbs and gutters in January 1933. Also at this time, the County Engineer asked the Board to name the 2 streets in the cemetery and was instructed to “select the names he thought suitable”; thus “Chapel Drive” and “Whispering Pines”.
The first cemetery “Caretaker”, Joe Arobio, was hired in February 1933 for $125 per month. His duties were to oversee the remaining development for the cemetery and in March 1933, blocks, lots, utilities, turf and landscaping was completed. The first burial was performed April 3, 1933 and was a baby named Billy Moore. More than 75% of the burials of the time period were of babies. The official dedication of the cemetery was held October 30, 1933. ]By the end of 1934, the first dwelling (called a Cottage at the time), was completed on the property followed by the Mausoleum and first “tool Shed”.
The first “Superintendent” of the Cemetery District was E.C. Palmer, hired in July 1938 at a salary of $150 per month. The second “Superintendent” was W.L. Hast and was hired in December 1946.
The Board of Trustees added 4.75 acres to the cemetery grounds in December 1947 followed by the first addition to the Mausoleum in March 1950.
The third “Superintendent” for the District was W. F. Gieselman and was hired in March 1961 followed by the forth “Superintendent”, H. W. Wagner in May 1973. In July 1961 , the number of members appointed by the County Board of Supervisors to the Board of Trustees, the District’s governing body, was increased form 3 to 5 members.
The Board of Trustees added 3.9 acres to the north and east boundry of the cemetery grounds in 1976, completed construction of a new dwelling and office in 1978 and added some 12 acres to the west boundry of cemetery in November 1980.
Final construction of streets, curbs and gutters in the existing cemetery was completed in 1980 followed by a 300 crypt addition to the Mausoleum in 1982 and a new maintenance facility and storage yard in March 1986.
District “Superintendent” H. W. Wagner retired in December 2001 and was followed by the fifth district administrator, ” Manager” D. F. Fauke. District Manager D. F. Fauke retired in January 2008 and was followed by the sixth district administrator, “J. H. Bauer. Currently, the District is operating with a Board of Trustees consisting of 5 members under statutes of the California Public Health and Safety Code and various other codes governing California Independent Special Districts and Cemetery Districts.