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Auditorium at The Historic Fort

bullet Patterned after Sutter' Fort in Sacramento, California, which was built in 1840
bullet Building began November 11, 1938 by the WPA under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and County of Kern.
bullet It took 83 workmen 18 months to build, and was completed and dedicated May 22, 1940
bullet W. Francis Parsons was the architect and designer of The Fort.
bullet Built of native adobe mud bricks made at the site, under designer W. Francis Parsons.
bullet The Fort covers nearly three acres measuring 360 feet by 200 feet, and over 1,000 feet around the outside walls. The walls are 14 feet high.
bullet The central building, the auditorium, is patterned after Sutter's which housed his offices and clerks. the original auditorium was damaged in the 1952 earthquake, and was rebuilt to safety specifications.
bullet In 1940, The Fort held Federal, State, and County offices. The South wing was also the county hospital, and many babies were born here until 1951 when Westside Hospital was built.
bullet During World War II, The Fort held the local draft board office where all local soldiers received their call-up notices and discharges.
bullet During the Korean War, a National Guard Unit was stationed at The Fort. They drilled in the back parking lot and built the additional adobe lean-to-structures to house arms and vehicles.
bullet Thousand of children received their vaccinations and new polio vaccine at the County Health Clinic at The Fort.
bullet In 1980, due to large cracks in the outside walls, a building study was done. The Fort was declared "unsafe for major earthquake" and all county offices were moved, leaving it vacant for several years.
bullet Due to efforts of Assemblyman Trice Harvey, The Fort was dedicated a State Historic Landmark on May 8, 1980. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on July 22, 1981. This saved the building from being demolished.
bullet In 1985, The Fort was given to the West Kern Oil Museum. Seven years later, in December 1992, The Fort Preservation Society was formed and became the owner of The Fort.
bullet A 15-member board governs The Fort Preservation Society. The board employs an Executive Director to handle the daily operations and a Caretaker to maintain the facilities of The Fort.
bullet The Fort is a nonprofit organization depending on memberships, donations, and office and event rentals to maintain and preserve the structure and grounds. It is used for weddings, parties, school events, class reunions, meetings, and other community and public functions.

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