• Ridge Route Communities Museum and Historical Society

  • The Ridge Route Museum features an extensive collection of photographs, artifacts and research materials that chronicle the rich and colorful history of the Mountain Communities area.  Their history collection includes subjects such as the Native People, the Spanish trail through the mountains, early explorers, a local Indian Reservation, Fort Tejon, Mexican Land Grants that became ranchos, mining, National Forests, earthquakes, flora, fauna, and much more.

    Numerous programs, talks, classes and activities for all ages are held at the museum.  Children's events include doing laundry the 'old way', panning for gold and Native American games. For adults, a variety of basket weaving and other historical craft classes are held.

    You can visit the museum at 3515 Park Drive in Frazier Park. Admission to the museum is free; donations are always welcome.  Books on local and regional history are available for purchase at the museum or their online store 


    Historic Lebec Hotel

    The Lebec Hotel was built in 1921, in the style of a Spanish Colonial Revival.  The hotel was popular with Hollywood executives and movie stars such as Carol Lombard and Clark Gable before World War II. Other notable guests included gangster Benny "Bugsy" Siegal and aviator Charles Lindbergh.  The once beautiful hotel changed hands, fell into disrepair during the 1960's, closed in 1968 and was demolished in 1971.  You can see the original lampposts from the hotel on the museum grounds.


    The Old Ridge Route

    Built between 1913 and 1915, and paved in 1919, the Ridge Route was the first mountain highway built in California and carried traffic until 1933.  Considered an engineering marvel of the day, the road opened up travel and commerce between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley and spawned a cottage industry of gas stations and restaurants along its twists and turns.  Occasionally, tours of the route are conducted by museum docents.


    San Andreas Fault Tours

    The Mountain Communities have a number of fascinating geologic features related to the San Andreas Fault.  Occasionally, geologic tours of the region are conducted by museum docents.  Private tours may also be arranged.  


    Self-Guided Tours

    A selection of self-guided local area tours are available at the museum.  These include historic sites such as:

    • Lebec to Fort Tejon
    • Gorman to Quail Lake
    • The old two-lane Ridge Route Road
    • Lake of the Woods to Lockwood Valley
    • San Andreas Fault
    • Frazier Mountain and the gold mining history
    • West Antelope Valley




    Area History: Early Explorations

    Following is a synopsis of many primary historical works and archival materials that focus on aspects directly related to the Frazier Mountain Park area.


    The early recorded history of Kern County began with the expansion of the Spaniards into Alta California.  Franciscan missionary, Father Francisco Garces, was one of the earliest explorers crossing the area in 1776.  Circa 1827, the first Americans made their way into the area, including Jeddediah Smith and other frontiersman such as Kit Carson, Ewing Young, and Grizzly Adams, who crossed the wild countryside that would later develop into Kern County.


    Joseph Reddeford Walker crossed the Kern County deserts in 1834, on an exploratory journey traversing the far southern Sierra and added his name to the southernmost pass in the Sierra.  John C. Fremont explored the area in 1844, and was left with a negative impression of the stark and desolate desert.  


    The first known account describing the vicinity comes from the 1806 diary of Fray Jose Maria de Zalvidea, a priest accompanying a group of Spanish soldiers on an expedition from Santa Barbara to Mission Santa Ines, then north and eastward finally entering the San Joaquin Valley.


    A translation of Zalvidea's diary by Cook suggests the expedition was at the village of Taslupi in a canyon "carrying a quantity equal to that of the San Gabriel River" on August 4, 1806.  They continued along the canyon where "there is a range of hills widely covered with a pine forest."  Zalvidea states "At dawn of this day we began to go eastward through the entire length of the canyon.  At the end of the afternoon we found a little bog with a small quantity of water.  This canyon is surrounded on all sides by pine forest."  The following day they stopped at "the village of Casteque."


    An annotated version of the same entry by Stockton et al. reads: "At dawn on August 6 the expedition traveled through San Emidio Canyon toward the east and, at the close of the evening, came to a small ditch of water where they made camp.  They had passed Antimony Peak, crossed the divide and had traveled down Cuddy Valley and Cuddy Canyon, where they camped three or four miles southeast of Lebec.  In the words of Zlvidea, "all of this canyon is surrounded with pines on all sides."  The next day they traveled to the "Casteque Rancheria".

     - Contributed by June and Jim Schmidt, professional archaeologists.