NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodLake Isabella / Kernville / Wofford Heights


Kern Valley Museum Brings History to Life with Tales on the Trails

Seven characters in seven settings convey the unique and specific history of the Kern River Valley to the public.
Posted at 8:32 PM, Nov 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-03 23:32:36-04

KERNVILLE, Calif. — Learning about history is one thing, but being transported into the middle of it is another thing entirely. As part of their Tales on the Trail event, the Kern Valley Museum isn't bringing history to you, but rather pulling you back into the middle of it.

“Howdy folks. You know, this blacksmith is rough work, especially for an old codger like myself,” said Gene Verbeet as T.J Gilbert, who was a blacksmith in the valley.

“We will have seven different actors portraying seven different historical characters here in the Kern River Valley,” said Dianna Anderson, Curator of the Kern Valley Museum.

The event brings audience members to various settings where local characters are embodied by residents, who will tell you historically accurate facts and details about their lives.

“The worst of it was down in lone pine. They lost 52 of their 59 buildings. And 27 people were killed,” rehearsed Verbeet.

“It doesn't matter if you've lived in the Kern valley for a day or 30 years, you're going to learn something new,” Anderson said.

Something local and specific like the details of valley resident Dick Weed’s life, whose legacy includes being one of the stinkiest people in the entire valley.

“After wearing the same clothes day and night for a year they turn into rags,” said Larry Holochwost portraying Dick Weeds.

The history focuses on local figures. Sandy Johnstone is portraying Ruby Dodds, once the owner of Miracle Hot Springs, who Johnstone knew in real life when she was younger.

“She was remarkable really, and she was absolutely darling.To portray her is really a thrill for me,” said resident Sandy Johnstone.

The event is happening November 4th. It is ten dollars with a chance to donate to the museum by tipping Eureka the dog at the end of the show. To sign up for a group you can go to the Kern Valley Museum November 4th from 10 am to noon.

“I think it's important for the valley to know that this just isn't something that just sprung up, there was a lot of work and dedication that went into building this community and this place that's paradise to us,” Johnstone said.

Stay in Touch with Us Anytime, Anywhere: