For the First Edition of the Bakersfield Collector’s Christmas Ornament, The Bakersfield Inn and its sign was chosen.
The Bakersfield Inn was built in 1929 and at one time was the world’s largest motor inn. Located on Union Ave. when it was a part of the Golden State Highway (US 99): the main connector between northern and southern California through the San Joaquin Valley. The sign, Bakersfield, for 50 years was a symbol to travelers when they had arrived in the city.
The Inn expanded over the years with another wing being built across the highway. In 1949, an arched walkway was constructed over the highway as a foot bridge to connect the two halves of the hotel to which the big letters spelling “Bakersfield” were attached.
The construction of the sign also served another purpose. Most of the central valley communities along US 99 had an arched sign spanning the highway to welcome drivers to the towns and cities they were entering. The Bakersfield Sign (also known as the Bakersfield Arch) is one of the more recognizable landmarks in Bakersfield.
By the late 90’s, the Bakersfield Inn had closed down and no one was maintaining the sign. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), fearing the sign could collapse onto the road, wanted to remove it. It would have been destroyed except for Buck Owens. He renovated the sign and moved it to Sillect Avenue, next to the Buck Owens Crystal Palace.
Unfortunately, the old sign had fallen in such a state of disrepair, that the only components that could be saved were the blue porcelain letters. By moving the sign, it was again visible to the important Golden State Highway route, which was now the Golden State Freeway (CA State Route 99, located next to Oak St. and Buck Owens Blvd). The renovation occurred in 1999 on the 50th anniversary of its original construction.
Note: Ornaments may sell out quickly, and when they are gone, back orders will not be accepted. Orders will be accepted only as long as ornaments are available.