Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Old Adobes of Forgotten Fort Tejon.
By Clarence Cullimore.

Webmaster's Note.

Clarence Cullimore Sr. (1885-1963) was a prominent Bakersfield architect who specialized in adobe buildings and homes that were both artistic and designed to withstand earthquakes. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Cullimore taught architecture at Kern County Union High School and Bakersfield College. In his fabulously researched "Old Adobes of Forgotten Fort Tejon," the author not only provides the history and construction details of the fort buildings, which at the time of this writing no longer stood; he also covers a century's worth of history, from the elusive Peter Lebeck to Gen. E.F. Beale's ill-fated U.S. Camel Corps to the establishment and abandonment of the fort and the Indian reservation it was intended to oversee. Note that in the following transcript, the table of contents and footnotes have been moved to the end.

See also: Home movie of Cullimore leading his 1938-1939 high school class on a trip to Fort Tejon.


By Alfred Harrel

In this volume on Old Adobes of Forgotten Fort Tejon, Mr. Clarence Cullimore, architect, of Bakersfield, has made a distinctive contribution to the history of Kern County and has linked it with that of California and of the nation.

Occupants of hundreds of thousands of cars that pass the site of Fort Tejon ruins on the Ridge Route connecting the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles, have wondered about the history of those adobe ruins. No satisfactory unified record has heretofore been made of the origin and use of the Fort and of the buildings that comprise it. Mr. Cullimore has accomplished this with skill as a writer and historian and with the expertness of an architect.

Fort Tejon was established August 10, 1854, and abandoned September 11, 1864. Its purpose was to guard the Pass and to control the Indians in the vicinity Once abandoned, the Fort fell into decay and the process has continued until the present.

With the passage of years, the buildings, their origin, and purpose have been largely lost in the mists of tradition. To establish authentic records of everything relating to this remarkable remnant of early California, Mr. Cullimore has made exhaustive research from documents, from information from early settlers, and, in addition, he has made plans of the original buildings, partly by reconstruction of their lines from the ruins and partly by old records. These sketches, plans. and photographs revive the Fort buildings as they originally stood and give a complete picture of it as it was in the days of its occupancy

This undertaking has meant much research and much special talent in reconstructing the history and the material aspect of Kern County's outstanding historic structures. Every incident connected with the Fort and its later unoccupied period has been collected, investigated, anal recorded when authenticated. The facts are as romantic as anything in fiction.

Kern County residents and Californians generally will be grateful to Mr. Cullimore for directing his industry and talent into this particular historic study His book is an enduring work that will inform and interest this and future generations.


One of modern California's most important traffic highways, the famed Ridge Route, that separates Los Angeles from Bakersfield 'by only two hours of moderate automobile driving, passes a most significant little bit of California in the "Fifties." Historic Fort Tejon, a stronghold of pioneer California, holds a fascination for numerous visitors intrigued by a consideration of its military past, linked with the paternalism of its founder, Edward Fitzgerald Beale.

In making this study of the early history, architectural character, plan, adobe construction, and details of old Fort Tejon, it has been the endeavor to uncover facts and some fanciful stories regarding the inception, construction, and operation of it. Only those facts that may have some bearing on the subject at hand have been included. Some of the colorful, although unauthenticated, stories that must play a part in establishing the romantic flavor of the old Fort have also been recorded here. Authentic references, pioneer lore, and hearsay are clearly labeled as such. And so this record should definitely fall within the limits of authenticity.

The purpose of the study. Such a scrutiny into the handling of these simple building materials, the constructional features, and architectural details, together with a general view of the architectural expression, has been made in order to herein set down a definite record of these things. Perhaps such a record may at a later time serve as a basis for a further comparison of how, in the light of modern engineering skill and the use of modern stabilization and waterproofing methods in the manufacture of adobe bricks, the structural shortcomings of Fort Tejon might be avoided in contemporary, well-built adobe buildings. In this connection, the thought arises that this study may also be of some benefit to those who at a future time may be entrusted with an architectural restoration of the Fort Tejon adobe buildings in part or in full.

The main factors to be considered. Those natural influences that are dependent on location, climate, and available materials, and which have ever been potent factors in establishing types of construction in isolated and pioneer communities, were important in regard to the building of Fort Tejon. The social aspects affecting the plan include military considerations of the Fort as a U S. Army post. Yet, in this particular military project the appropriation was granted in order that Lieutenant E. F Beale might put into operation his new plan for the conduct of Indian affairs in California.1 Beale 's plan was to set apart a piece of land as a military post and to provide subsistence for the Indians, as far as possible from their own labor Within the reserve, which was naturally selected near the mountains, in which the Indians already lived in the summer months, they would be protected by the government and their range might extend indefinitely into the low mountain country Such was the inception of Fort Tejon. If, then, its real reason for being was to protect rather than to fight Indians, it is not difficult to understand its lack of fort-like severity.

A second reason for establishing the Fort was that its selected location formed a strategic gateway to the southern San Joaquin Valley. Horse and cattle thieves for some years had been running stolen stock through this pass to the markets in the Southwest, and it was possible to stop much of this traffic by a fort at this point.

Sources of data regarding Fort Tejon. Jose Jesus Lopez, a former general manager of Tejon Rancho, possessed, perhaps, the greatest fund of information about Fort Tejon, which is closely linked with the Tejon Rancho holdings, and in general with the early days of California. His ancestry was of Castilian line, his forebears being among the first Spaniards to come to California. He was born at Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, October 22, 1853, and was a descendant of Claudio Lopez, an officer in the Spanish army who crossed the ocean to assist in quelling one of the disturbances in Mexico. The site of the old Lopez homestead at San Fernando was purchased for the last dam of the Los Angeles aqueduct. Claudio, the founder of the family in California, was mission superintendent &t San Gabriel.

The history of Fort Tejon has been rather widely delved into by local students of Kern County history. The files of the Bakersfield Californian have been a fruitful source of information. Thelma B. Miller's History of Kern County, California, 1929, contains several interesting stories of the old days of the Fort. History of Kern County, California, 1914, by Wallace M. Morgan, contains other pertinent details. Harris Newmark his Sixty Years in Southern California, 1916, makes several references to Fort Tejon while it was a military post. Newmark once owned the store at Fort Tejon. Charles F Saunders includes a description of Tejon Pass and the Fort in his Southern Sierras of Calif ornia, 1923. Saga of Old Fort Tejon by Philip Johnston appeared in the November issue of Touring Topics in 1933. It is a colorful account of life at the Fort.

In the nature of learned documents, Charles Berden Leonard presented a Doctor of Philosophy thesis, The Federal Indian Policy in the San Joaquin Valley, under the date of January, 1928, which is now deposited in the University of California library at Berkeley In this thesis Leonard gives a valuable contribution to the history of Fort Tejon. The Federal Indian Policy in California, by William Henry Ellison, as a partial fulfillment of study for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of California, and on file in that university's library under date of January, 1919, also presents Fort Tejon from a purely historical angle.

Stephen Bonzal, in his biography of Edward Fitzgerald Beale, 1912, tells of the establishment of the Indian reservation on Tejon Rancho.

The United States Office of Indian Affairs has given a typescript of extracts from the reports of the United States Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1853-1864.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Yates, present lease holders of the Fort property, have made accessible a number of copies of old documents, military orders and post reports that have materially helped in making this research.

Clark Wing, through the Historical Department of the California State Division of Parks, has assisted in uncovering much valuable historical and some architectural material used in this paper

Mae Saunders, in an unpublished paper on Fort Tejon, has provided valued material.

Roy W Loudon, president of the Kern County Historical Society in 1937-1938, has made helpful suggestions.

Limitation of architectural data. The above-mentioned sources of information on Fort Tejon approach the subject almost purely from an historical or chronological point of view and tell us very little about the actual construction or the architectural problems involved or the resulting details of construction. The late Edwin J. Symmes, in a report to the State Division of Parks, touches briefly upon the architectural character of the roof trusses and illustrates his paper with photographs.

A sketch map from the National Archives at Washington, which accompanied a report on Fort Tejon by Colonel J.K.F. Mansfield, Inspector General, U.S.A., L.A., March 5, 1859, to Major I. McDowell has assisted in the placement of the various buildings.

The Students' Architectural Association at Kern County Union High School has rendered valuable assistance in the actual measurements of the ruins and the location of old foundations.

Jesse D. Stockton has uncovered material regarding the source of lumber for the Fort.

Dean A. C. Weatherhead of the College of Architecture at the University of Southern California has by helpful suggestions assisted in the preparation of this study.

The need for this study. As so little has been found regarding the original specifications, actual construction, plans or details of the old Fort, it seems pertinent that this study, after having recorded a brief history of the Fort's inception and reference to the few meager descriptions of the details of its architectural appearance, take the most effectual way to discover and record the construction details of Fort Tejon. This is best done by actually giving an account of the Fort itself as it has been found by aid of pick and shovel investigation of the rock foundations, by analysis of the bricks as they now are, by sketches of the existing portions of the barrack buildings, and measured drawings made from still standing portions of these buildings. A collection of old, as well as recent, photographs has assisted in completing this record of the old Fort's appearance.

Indication of anticipated interest. An indication of the anticipated interest in the old Fort is evident from the following data The Automobile Club of Southern California selected Sunday, July 16, 1940, as a typical holiday, and Monday, July 17, 1940, as a typical week day, counting the cars on these days that passed Lebec during a sixteen hour period from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The findings approximate the travel past the Fort as follows:

Annual holiday traffic ... 689,852 cars

Annual week day traffic ... 1,126,476 cars

The total number of cars passing annually ... 1,816,328

Estimating three persons to each car, more than five million persons pass the Fort each year.

A traffic engineer of the Division of Highways gives the information that 1,750,000 automobiles passed over this route in 1939. This is slightly less than the figures given by the Automobile Club of Southern California for 1940.


The Pass of Cortes was the name originally given to the Canada de las Uvas which we now know as Grapevine Canyon. Don Pedro Fages, the first white man to pass this way, gave it the name. On his journey through the mountains to the Indian village of Buena Vista in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley, in the year 1772, Fages probably crossed a grassy dell on which there stands a venerable oak now revered as an historical landmark. (See Figure 4.) It was in the shade of this tree that the remains of the French trapper, Peter Lebeck, were to be buried sixty-five years later, and which, seventeen years after his interment, was to become in 1854 a part of the federal reservation of Fort Tejon. In his diary, Fages describes the grapevines that grew in this region and later afforded a popular and descriptive name for the canyon.

The information regarding the discovery of the Tejon Canyon, which includes the site of the present Lebec Station and old Fort Tejon, was contained in an address, In the South San Joaquin Ahead of Garces, delivered before the Kern County Historical Society by Professor Herbert Eugene Bolton, and subsequently published by that society Bolton, who obtained his information from the recently uncovered diary of Don Pedro Fages, states in part that:

"The route which Fages describes, starting at the Buena Vista Hills, is easily recognized by one who has been over the ground. Seven generous leagues, southeast rather than south, take one to the mouth of Las Uvas or Grapevine Canyon. Here, as Fages says, one goes south through a pass made beautiful with arroyos and live oaks. The top is reached at Tejon Pass above Lake Castaic. Swinging a little eastward, the next three leagues carry one right down the State Highway to Quail Lake and the Telephone Station where the highways fork at the old Ridge Road. The large plain just beyond was, of course, Antelope valley, widening into the Mojave Desert, north and northeast of which there are, indeed, 'many sierras.'

"Seven generous leagues northwestward after leaving Grapevine Canyon took Fages to the village of Buena Vista. He may very well have taken a straight line over the low gap at the neck of Wheeler Ridge, and thus have shortened the distance somewhat.

"The village of Buena Vista, it is clear, was at the foot of Buena Vista Hills, on the southwestern edge of Buena Vista Lake, now used as a reservoir by the Miller and Lux and allied interests. Everything points to this conclusion. Fages tells us that it was about seven leagues, by the route he took, from the south end of the San Joaquin Valley The distance fits reasonably well. It was on a fair-sized elevation. Buena Vista Hills fit the description and have long borne the name which Fages gave the site. That there was a large Indian village here is amply proved by the vast kitchen middens along the shore of the lake at the foot of the Buena Vista Hills. The village was, of course, called' Buena Vista (Beautiful View) because of the panorama its site afforded."1

Before the somewhat recent discovery of Fages' diary, Father Garces, in his record of events in 1776, has generally been accepted as the first to have recorded a description of this upper part of the San Joaquin Valley. The Captain Commander, Fages, had, however, been credited with the actual discovery of it when he was hot on the trail of deserters from the Spanish military forces. Now, historians state that the matter has been considerably clarified by the actual description of this fair region in the words of Fages himself. Regarding Garces' description Bolton says:

"Garces tells us interesting things about these runaways. From him we learn that by 1776 Spanish soldiers already had a bad name in the Valley. The Indians at San Pasqual (Tejon Ranch) fled when he approached because of their fear of Spaniards. He says 'Only the old women entertained me ... As soon as they learned that I was a Spaniard all the young people fled to the woods.' In another place farther north, he adds 'Those Indians related to me that in their land they had killed two soldiers, who, I persuaded myself, were deserters, because they were very wicked with the women, adding that the Indians had cut off their hands, laid open their breasts and all the body, torn them asunder, and scattered the remains.'

"Happily not all Spanish visitors had met such a horrible fate. One at least had found favor with the women, and at the time of Garces' journey, had already started a half breed family He may have been t-he first, but he was by no means the last. At a village near the end of his march the friar found a 'very grave chief who insisted' that I should tarry, giving me to understand that the next day fie would take me t-o see a Spaniard who was married to an lndian woman of the Noches Colteches tribe, who are very close to this place on the east. He added that this Spaniard wore on his breast a certain round thing, which I concluded must be some medal or reliquary, that he spoke of God, and pointed out to them that God lived in the sky He said that the Spaniard already had a little son, was of good heart, was much sought by all, and lived like the rest of the Indians. Finally the chief told me by signs that the Spaniard was still wearing some sort of clothes.' Garces concludes, 'I persuaded myself that he must be one of the deserters, whose life was spared with great clemency.'"2

Location on a Mexican land grant. The property on which the Fort was to be constructed was part of a Mexican grant and was said to be covered by this grant at the time the Fort was built.3 Lieutenant E.F. Beale surveyed fifty thousand acres of this grant when the Tejon Indian reservation was established.4 At a later period Beale acquired title to much of this property.5 The late J.J. Lopez, longtime resident on the Tejon Rancho, in an interview recalls hearing how Beale purchased the Tejon Rancho from Ignacio del Valle who had acquired it as a Mexican grant and named it Tejon (a Spanish and Indian word meaning badger.) On his first visit to the mouth of the canyon he encountered a badger This is the popular conception of the application of the word Tejon to this property.

Roy Loudon gives the following facts in regard to the Tejon land grant:

"The first Spanish record of the Tejon region (name Tejon not then recorded) is received from an old Spanish map, (A) made apparently during the early Mission period of San Fernando Rey (1797-1849) The name Tejon is not given on this map but the surrounding Sierra is clearly indicated with 'S. Emigdio' being the most northerly outpost of the mission grant, though, of course, this control of the Indian tribes so many leagues north of the Mission San Fernando was only nominal.

"Camulos, one of the many Indian rancherias that supplied converts to the mission, lay to the northwest, and as early as 1804 the Padres protested vigorously and successfully against granting of the Camulos Rancho to private ownership. The Camulos and the San Francisco Ranchos (Francisquito, little St Francis) part of the San Fernando Mission Grant both had lands that took in territory of the Tejon area. Part of these ranchos were granted to Lieutenant Antonio del Valle in 1835, when the mission lands were confiscated under the Mexican secularization act of 1834. The Indians resenting the taking of what they considered their lands from the control of the Franciscan Missionaries made several savage attacks on the property of the Valle. In 1836 Ignacio del Valle, according to Bancroft, was paid $2,226 from confiscated Mission lands and the Camulos Rancho came under the control of the Valle. This Camulos Rancho had its headquarters a few miles west of the town of Castaic, and Piru creek, with its headwaters in the Tejon country, ran through its lands. The famous romantic novel of Helen Hunt Jackson used as a setting the Camulos Rancho in Ramona.

"In 1843, during the regime of Governor Manuel Micheltorena, the governor established a land grant of 22,178 acres at the Rancho Castaic, the site of Fort Tejon, and adjoining Rancho El Tejon 97,612 acres, and Los Alamos y Agua Caliente, 26,626 acres south of Rancho El Tejon. Some Indian trouble was reported during this period.

"The canyon first called Tejon is about fifteen miles northeast of the present Tejon Canyon, in the location where the few remaining Indians now live east of the Tejon Rancho."

The price paid for the Tejon Rancho, as Lopez recalls the story, was $100 a league or about five cents an acre. Lopez also recalls hearing General Beale state that the boundaries of the rancho included the present city of Bakersfield and much valuable oil land. It was later that Colonel Baker took up his residence at the present location of the city of Bakersfield, and it was from Colonel Baker's field that the name Bakersfield originated.

The site of the Fort. The site selected for the army post was located in the Canada de las Uvas, about fifteen miles southwest of the Tejon Indian Reserve, and was among large oak trees that still stand. The approach from the present highway is lined by a more recently planted double row of poplars. A pertinent description of the site of the Fort is given by a railroad exploration report written previous to its inception as a fort.6

Pacific railroad route report. Of particular interest is the following selection from R.S. Williamson's account of railroad route explorations in 1853. He describes the exact spot where Fort Tejon was later to be built. The spot is unquestionably the same, due to the reference to the Lebeck tree which still stands on what was once the north edge of the parade ground. (See Figure 4.) In part, Williamson says:

"The high hills on each side, presenting occasional out-cropping of granite rocks, were found to extend for four or five miles from the entrance; the valley then becomes more open, and the granite ridges lower, and nearly covered by a loose sedimentary formation resembling ordinary drift, but containing more clay. The surface of the valley is covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, and a deep soil supports groves of magnificent oak trees, some of them eight feet in diameter. A small brook of pure and cold water was found here, and our camp was on its borders, under the branches of the large oaks, while those branches that had fallen, or been broken off by bears in gathering acorns, furnished fuel for the fires. While we were encamped here an unusual number of grizzly bears were seen. They frequently came to the water to drink, in the evening, just after sunset. One of the large oaks bears the following inscription, cut deeply into the hardwood: 'Peter le Beck, killed by a bear, Oct. 17, 1837.' A broad, flat surface was hewed upon the trunk, and well smoothed off before the letters were cut. It is a durable monument."7

Of particular interest in the foregoing report is the fact that mention is made of the nearby rock formation. Some of this was later to be used as material for foundations for the Fort buildings. The report also mentions the clay content of the soil which was later to be fashioned into adobe bricks. The report's mention of luxuriant grasses has its bearing also, as these grasses, if similar to those found there today, are of the meadow grass variety which are lush and green when fresh, and wiry when dried. Such tough, wiry, dried meadow grass might afford a fine reinforcement for adobe bricks.

The Lebeck Oak. (See Figure 4.) Blake's foregoing description of the Lebeck Oak may be supplemented by a quotation from Bishop Kip's diary of October 11, 1855, in which he states:

"The fort at the Tejon is on a little plain, entirely surrounded by high mountains, which give it a confined appearance. It is, however, a beautiful place, surrounded by oak trees. Under one of these, which stands on the parade ground, in 1837, Peter LeBec, an old hunter, was killed by a bear, and his companions, buried him at its foot. They then stripped the bark for some three feet from the trunk of the tree and carved on it an inscription surmounted by a cross, which remains to this day, though the bark is beginning to grow over it on all sides."8

Peter Lebeck. (See Figure 4.) The French name, Peter Lebeck or Lebecque, now spelled Lebec as applied to Lebec Station on the Ridge Route, signifies in the minds of Kern County residents, the first pioneer of that region. Peter Lebeck was probably a trapper, perhaps a Canadian voyageur. Legend says that he was great among his associates. The care with which they carved his epitaph on the oak tree under which they buried him bears out this supposition. There is practically no authentic knowledge regarding the life of this almost mythical character. There are a great variety of interesting stories told about him. It is not known from whence he came or his interests in the Canada de las Uvas, his manner of life, or his associates. That he was killed: by "a X bear" is the statement carved on the large oak tree at the corner of the Fort parade ground.

Pioneers in this section of California tell us that the California grizzly was called the X Bear on account of a darkening of the hair along the spine and on the shoulders forming an X.

That Peter Lebeck's body was actually buried beneath this oak tree is proved by the exhumation of his skeleton by a party of campers who called themselves the Foxtail Rangers, in July, 1890. Their own account of the proceedings are in printed form in the Kern County Library in Bakersfield and are given here in part:

"Then a hymn was sung. The Rangers had been impressed and stood, little ones and all, in their proper order, serious and expectant.

"With a mingled sense of relief and gruesomeness the captain's voice was heard, saying, 'to pick and shovel, each man working five minutes in his turn.' It is no slight affair to disentomb the dead. There is a graveyard creepiness about it and back of that, the instinctive sense of all humanity, to 'let the dead rest.' Yet, the Rangers had visited that spot for a purpose and were determined, reverently yet persistently to make a careful search for the remains of Kern's earliest known pioneer A place upon the east side of the oak and inscription, had been chosen, carefully laid out by compass, and here the work commenced. Nearly four feet from the surface human remains were encountered, and with intense interest, and in deathly stillness, the bones of Peter Lebeck, after a burial of fifty-three years, were exposed to the light of day.

"The body had been carefully laid in the tomb, due east and west by magnetic meridian. The left arm was folded upon a fleshless breast. The right forearm was missing, as also both feet and the left hand. Two ribs on the left side were broken. It was considered strange that feet and left hand should all be gone, apparently unjointed; when the little bone of the os hyoides was intact, unless upon the presumption that the bear which killed him had gnawed the extremities. The skeleton was nearly six feet long and broad in proportion. The skull is noble, with lofty brow, wide between the eyes.

"The surrounding earth was carefully worked over by hand, in hope that something of metallic nature, even a button, could be found to be religiously preserved as a relic of this almost prehistoric pioneer Nothing in the way of a sign or symbol or message from a day long since gone could be discovered."9

The following item in the words of H.A. Spindt, who has gathered much material of historical interest to Kern County, serves as a fitting postlude to this Lebeck exhuming.

"The Mystery of the Five Franc Coin, 1915. Sam Allen, in 1915, was an employee of the Tejon Ranchos, living at Fort Tejon. One day he noticed a bright bit of metal in the ruins of the hospital building just west of the Lebeck tree. When he examined it, he found it to be a French five-franc piece, dated 1837, with the head of Louis Phillipe on one side. Mr. Allen gave the coin to Mr. Newmark, who gave it to the Southwest Museum, where it now is.

"I have the story from Mr. Allen, who died only a few months ago, and I have examined and photographed the coin at the Southwest Museum. Interesting speculation arises about Peter Lebeck on the basis of the story. Was he a French agent, bent on securing California for the French? Was he a mere trapper employed by the Hudson Bay Company? The supposition is, of course, that the coin fell out of the pocket of Peter Lebeck during the struggle with the bear, and was mixed into the adobe bricks when the fort was built in 1854-1855. It is an intriguing bit of history that might sometime lead to the answer to the question, 'Who was Peter Lebeck?'"10


Lieutenant Beale made superintendent. In the spring of 1853, Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale was made superintendent of Indian Affairs in California, and a little more than a year later, Fort Tejon, which was to be his headquarters for administrating Indian Affairs, was established. General Hitchcock, on approving Lieutenant Beale's plan, addressed the Secretary of War to the effect that it appeared to him that the choice of the government lay necessarily between accepting Lieutenant Beale's plan or giving the Indians over to rapid extermination.1 Lieutenant Beale, who figures prominently in the history of Fort Tejon, was later a brigadier general and also minister to Austria under President Grant.

Topography. A study of the topography of the location of Fort Tejon makes it evident that the selection of the site for the Fort was made with complete disregard for any strategic advantage that a fort might possess as a result of its location. The lack of defense terrain emphasizes the unusual purpose for which this particular fort was built.

Fort Tejon was established on August 10, 1854, at a point in the Tejon Pass, where the Coast Range meets the Sierra Nevada, and about three miles north from the present Lebec Station.

The old Fort records. A letter under the date of March 6, 1940, from Vernon G. Setzer, Acting Chief Division of Reference of the National Archives, reads in part as follows:

"This military post, located in the Canada de las Uvas, about fifteen miles southwest of the Tejon Pass Indian Reserve, appears to have been established at the suggestion of Edward F. Beale, who in 1854 was Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California. The reasons for the selection of this particular location were summarized by Colonel Joseph K.F. Mansfield, Inspector General, in a report made July 1, 1854, to Brevet Major General John E. Wool, then commanding the Department of the Pacific, and concern the protection of the friendly Indians in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

"Two special orders of the Department of the Pacific authorized the establishment of the post. The first, No. 60, June 24, 1854, ordered the construct ion of quarters for one company of Dragoons and one of Infantry on the site designated by E.F. Beale, Esq., and approved by Captain Jordan, Asst. Qt. Master. The second, No. 62, June 30, ordered a detachment of Company A, 1st U.S. Dragoons, under the command of 1st Lieutenant Thomas F. Castor, to march to the place selected.

"Some of the buildings at Fort Tejon appear to have been damaged by an earthquake in 1857. It continued to be occupied, however, until June 15, 1861, when its regular garrison was removed for transfer to the East. It was re-occupied by California volunteers from Aug. 17, 1863, to Sept. 11, 1864, when, with the final removal of the Indians from Tejon Pass to the Tule River Reserve, it was abandoned." (See Fig. 5.)

Army orders relative to the establishment of the Fort.

"Orders of the Department of the Pacific, Adjutant General's Office.

Headquarters Dept. of the Pacific San Francisco, Calif., June 24, 1854.

Special Orders-No. 60.

The Quarter Master Department will, without delay, erect quarters for one company of Dragoons and one of Infantry on the site, in the Military Reserve for Indians near the Tejon Pass, designated by E. F Beale, Esq., Superintendent of Indian Affairs and approved by Capt. Jordan, Asst. Quartermaster. The buildings will be constructed on the most economical plan, and if it is impracticable to complete all this season, those of the Dragoons will be first erected.

Brevet Major General J L. Donaldson, Asst. Quartermaster, is charged with the execution of this duty.

By command of Major General Wool: E.D. Townsend, Asst. Adj. General."


"Orders of the Dept. of the Pacific, Adjutant General's Office.

Headquarters Dept. of the Pacific San Francisco, June 30, 1854.

Special Orders - No. 62.

Company A, 1st Dragoons, will proceed to the Military Reserve for Indians at the Tejon Pass, and take post on the site designated for the erection of barracks. The Quartermaster Dept. will furnish transportation and tents.

Brevet Major J.L. Donaldson, Asst. Quartermaster, will perform the duties of Commissary of Subsistence at the new post.

By command of Major General Wool: E.D. Townsend, Asst. Adj. General."

(B.L. Beall, referred to below, should not be confused with E.F. Beale.)

"Headquarters, Dept. of the Pacific. San Francisco, Calif., Sept 14, 1854.


I have the honor to report that a military post is now being built at the Canada de las Uvas, fifteen miles southwest of the Tejon Indian Reservation, which is to be called Fort Tejon, to indicate its location. I have assigned Brevet Lieutenant Colonel B.L. Beall, Major 1st Dragoons, to the command, and Company A, 1st Dragoons, is now there as a garrison. The recent reduction of the reserve prevented the post from being placed within its limits, Santa Barbara, Calif., is now the nearest Post Office.

John E. Wool, Major General."

Reference to the map on Figure 5 shows the arrangement of buildings and their locations relative to the parade ground as compiled from the evidence at hand.

"Post Returns, Fort Tejon, California, Adj. Gen'l Office.

Post Return of Canada de las Uvas, California, Fort Tejon.

August, 1854.

Record of Events.

Lieutenant Castor, Commanding Co. A, 1st Dragoons, with sixteen men arrived at Canada de las Uvas, fifteen miles southwest of the Tejon Indian Reservation, August 10, 1854. Brevet 2nd Lieutenant Lattimer, 4th Infantry, in command of the rest of the company arrived at Canada de las Uvas August 15, 1854. "


The bronze marker now placed on the northeast wall of the barrack building No. 1 reads as follows:








Butterfield Overland Mail Station. Fort Tejon was, in 1858, made for a time one of the stations on the famous Butterfield Overland Mail route, whose six-horse stages covered the distance from San Francisco to St. Louis in twenty-three days.1 Foundations, still in evidence, mark the probable location of the stage station. The ruined adobe building, several hundred yards northwest of Holland's Summit on Highway 99, is sometimes referred to as the Butterfield station. This reference is probably incorrect. The map in Figure 5 shows the approximate location.

Although the actual occupation of the Fort was short-lived, there are a number of interesting incidents that mark that period.

The store. John Philbin, an Irishman, had a small store at Fort Tejon during the 1850s, and was aided by Newmark to amass about $20,000 in eighteen months. Newmark bought the business, but had a new clerk who gambled the funds away. Kasper Cohn then took charge of the store and erected a store building at the cost of $3,000. Newmark bought out Cohn in 1859 prior to Lincoln's election. The store sold for $50 when the troops were withdrawn.2

A band concert. That Fort Tejon boasted of a brass band in 1855 is evidenced by Newmark's reference to music furnished to Los Angeles citizens on July 4, 1855, by a brass band from Fort Tejon.3 The map in Figure 5 shows the location of the adobe building for the band.

By mule team to the Fort. Bishop Kip tells of his trip to Fort Tejon starting from Los Angeles on October 8, 1855, in a large wagon drawn by four mules. The driver was a man well acquainted with the country. All of the members of the Bishop's party were armed, for it was reported that the countryside was infested with bandits and occasional unfriendly Indians.

The journey had hardly begun when, in descending a gulch, the harness broke, frightening the mules, who turned about and snapped the pole. In spite of the delay occasioned by this mishap, the party reached the Mission San Fernando before nightfall. They found that establishment in a sad state of neglect. Don Andreas Pico entertained the Bishop and his party on this occasion.

The next day the travelers reached San Fernando Pass where it was necessary to make a show of arms when, passing through a deep defile, they were stopped by two Indians on horseback who demanded money. That night, camp was made in a small valley near a house which formerly had been the rendezvous of two American outlaws. It was here that these two Americans and four Mexicans had not long before been hanged by lynch law.

The third day the party passed into Antelope Valley. Near Elizabeth Lake there was a settler's hut. Antelope and other game were plentiful. Not far from here several wagons of Mormons were met, going from Salt Lake to their new settlement at San Bernardino.

About noon on the fourth day the Bishop's wagon ascended the Tejon Pass and from there the road to the Fort was an easy one, the party reaching the Fort that afternoon, October 11.4

The last day of the journey is described in Bishop Kip's own words as follows:

"The stars were shining when we arose, and as there is no dressing to be done, it does not take long to prepare for our journey. Before we set out, 'Irish John' cooked a breakfast for us out-of-doors. In a few miles the plains ended, and we reached the hills, and then wound through valleys dotted with old oak trees, and occasionally a little lake. We saw, as the day before, frequent bands of antelope. About noon we reached Tejon Pass, a valley hemmed in by mountains, and having at its entrance a large dry lake of saleratus glittering in the sun. The wind wafted up the loose powder from the surface, and it hung over it like a white cloud. The valley here is several miles wide, and as we drove up we saw on the soft earth, through the whole length of our way, the tracks of large grizzlies who had preceded us. As we approached the military post our driver gave an increased crack to his whip and urged the tired mules to a spasmodic effort as we dashed up to Captain G's quarters, where he was ready to receive us."5

An Episcopal service. As an official duty of an eminent churchman the Episcopal Bishop Kip visited the Fort, and in his diary of the date October 14, 1855, he not only describes the buildings but tells of conducting the first church service probably ever conducted in this region. The service was held in the then-incomplete barrack building No. 1 which still stands. (See Fig. 6.) All of the officers and many of the men joined the Bishop's party in the service. That afternoon, children of two of the officers received baptism, and on the following morning burial service was read at the grave of a soldier who had died the day previous.6

Lieutenant Castor's Grave. The present broken marble slab that once marked the grave of an officer at the Fort was recently patched together and mortared into a small monument located in the old Fort burial ground southwest of the parade ground.

The inscription reads as follows:

In Memory of

1st Lieut. Thomas F. Castor

Company A, 1st Regiment

U.S. Dragoons

Died at Fort Tejon

Sept. 8, 1855

Age 35 Years

Lieutenant Castor, a Pennsylvania youth, was a graduate of West Point and had many distinguished persons as classmates including Stonewall Jackson. His military record is also an enviable one. He served in the war with Mexico, 1847-1848, was engaged in the battle of Cerro Gordo, April 17-18, 1847, the battle of Molino Del Rey, September 8, 1847, and assisted in the capture of Mexico. He was a scout in Illinois in 1853 where he participated in an Indian skirmish, was in Oregon in 1853, at Benicia in 1854 when he was ordered with Company A, Dragoons to Fort Miller and Fort Tejon. His remains are no longer at Fort Tejon. They were removed to his old home in Frankfort, Pennsylvania.7

The following two poems, by the late Judge Erwin Owen of the Superior Court of Kern County, were read by H.A. Spindt at a Memorial Day Service held near Lieutenant Castor's monument at Fort Tejon.


"Beneath the living oaks he sleeps alone,

This trooper boy at Fort Tejon. Four score

And more the years have flown since taps were blown

And volleyed tribute paid in musket roar.

I pause beside the broken marble slab,

And think of Arlington. There, other

Boys who wear the blue and olive drab

Lie gloriously enshrined. Here, a brother

Lies 'neath fallen stone. He answered call

Where duty led, and has eternal hills for bier.

No salute is his at dawn or evening fall!...

Just the oaks and lupins and at last a tear.



"We stand beneath the oaks while taps are blown

At Fort Tejon, and volleyed tribute pay

To him who slept so long 'neath fallen stone;

And banks of wreath and living flowers lay

Beside the broken marble slab, at last

Enduring stone incased. They came, they stood

And gave salute to a soldier of the past...

These boys of San Juan Hill and Argonne Wood...

And they made for him an Arlington

Beneath the living oaks where lupins bloom

The shimmering flag in ray of western sun

Is raised again above the dragoon's tomb."8

Kern County Indians. The Indians found by the first Kern County settlers were not a particularly high type. As late as 1874 these Indians wore few clothes, and lived principally upon squirrel, acorns, berries, wild fruits, and edible roots. The county is well marked by signs of Indian habitation, burial mounds, mortars for grinding corn, and other evidence of village sites.

After the secularization of the California missions, roving Indians from these establishments occasionally came to the interior valley bringing with them a knowledge of the ways of the white man and often introducing to the local Indians a primitive knowledge of agriculture and some of the arts and crafts that had been taught them under the mission system. To these so-called Mission Indians considerable credit may be given for their later contribution towards the actual mechanics of laying the bricks of some of the first buildings at the old Fort.

Indian Tribes. More than a dozen tribes roamed the county. The Indians were, no doubt, happy in their tribal quarrels until the advance of the white man, and matters came to a general climax in 1850, when the Indians of White River made an attack on the white miners and settlers. A peace commission investigated conditions and reported that the Indians had been justified in protesting against being driven from their hunting and fishing grounds.

A somewhat mythical and unrecorded battle between the Piutes and the Diggers is described in the paper by Mae Saunders who states that the story in the following form was told by W.J. Graham in The Bakersfield Californian on March 1-9, 1915.

"The battle between the Piutes and the Diggers described by Tucoya, the Chief, commenced at a place called Cane-brake on the South Fork of the Kern River. The Piutes crossed the range of mountains through Walker's Pass and the Diggers met them about ten miles from Walker's Pass at the Cane-brake. The battle raged in the valley of the South Fork, the Diggers on the mountains on each side forcing the Piutes to keep in the valley. The fight continued down the Kern River Canyon to about where the city of Bakersfield now stands, then northwest to Tulare Lake, then westward to the foothills, where the famous Sunset and Midway oil fields are now located, then south to the San Emigdio ranch and further south to the canyon where the Piutes were annihilated."

The Sebastian Indian Reserve. The history of Fort Tejon and that of the Sebastian Indian reservation are so definitely associated with each other that a consideration of one must lead to a consideration of both. A great deal of human interest centers around the Indians who live in the beautiful little Tejon, or Crocker Canyon, which was in the former Sebastian Indian Reserve, about fifteen miles southeast of Fort Tejon, for more than a century and who are now merely tenants of the present land owners. The transfer of their property rights is just one more injustice added to the long list of claims to which our federal government has become callous. This last original tribe of Indians of Kern County is now clinging to its soil in this Tejon Canyon.

Kit Carson. Kit Carson, on his visits to California in 1829 and 1854, came through the Tejon Pass and on his last trip visited Fort Tejon. It is stated that Carson noted a striking decrease in the number of Indians on his latter visit. Alexis Godey, a Kern County trader, was pilot to Kit Carson on his last trip through this region.

The Indian Dog Feast. Again we are indebted to Bishop Kip, who on his journey towards Visalia from Fort Tejon, describes his stop at the Sebastian Indian reservation, where the Indians were holding their annual Dog Feast. He says in part:

"There is here a tract of 30,000 acres set apart by the government for the Indians, but, at present, there are somewhat less than 300 residing on it. At this season, however, the wild Indians from the mountains come down to unite with them in holding their annual Dog Feast, so that there are about 1,000 present. We passed them in groups, almost in a state of nudity, washing their clothes by the little stream which flows through the Reserve, and on reaching their grand encampment stopped and walked through it. Their lodges were arranged in a circle, all opening inwardly. They were lounging in the shade, roasting dogs and eating, while the greater part of those not otherwise employed were gambling. The women particularly seemed to be so intensely occupied this way that they could scarcely look up to us. They sat in circles on the ground, and the favorite game was one with sticks, a foot long, thrown about like jack-straws.

"At dark we determined to visit the Indian camp to witness some of their ceremonies. Horses were provided for us by the agent, under whose guidance we went. There was just moon enough to show the trails as we galloped over the prairies, and long before we reached the camp we heard the sound of the Indian drums. We found them all very busy, fires lighted in all directions, and music, such as it was, sounding about. Some of the party tried dog's meat, but I was willing to take their report of it. This feast was in honor of the dead of the past year, and one day during its continuance they bury all the effects and clothes of the departed."9

Order to suspend building operations. In November, 1855, orders were received to suspend building operations of the Fort, for the present. The barracks for the officers and men were very nearly completed at the time. Quite a number of employees were discharged and the rumor became current that a removal of the Fort was contemplated.10

Police duties. Excerpts from old newspapers tell of various police duties to which the dragoons were assigned during their occupancy of the Fort. A record of events of this nature taking place between June and December, 1859, indicates the frequency of these occurrences.

In June of that year, during Indian trouble on the nearby Sebastian Reservation, a man named Tomas killed two Indian women, a mother and daughter, and the Indians were intent upon slaying the murderer, when a detachment of dragoons under Captain Davidson and Lieutenant Chapman escorted Tomas to Fort Tejon under guard.

In July of the same year Sergeant Fritz and another trooper went out to seek the murderer of John Sylvester at Colton Wood, six miles from the mail station, fifteen miles from Tejon. The body of Sylvester was found by Sergeant Fritz and Private Crowley, Co. K, 1st Dragoons, and Deputy Sheriff W C. Warren, one hundred yards from the road at Oak Flat on Tejon cutoff. Jose Olivas was arrested for the murder.

The following December, George Hodges stabbed to death John M. Gray, employee of Colonel Vineyard of the Sebastian Reserve, in a drunken brawl in the trading post of Joseph Rice. Gray, who was a pioneer '49er, came to California with Generals Denver and Estell. Hodges was sent to Fort Tejon in irons.

Proximity of an earthquake fault. Mae Saunders, through an interview with a pioneer, Mrs. Withrow, tells that two years after the Fort was completed it suffered severely from earthquake shocks, which destroyed chimneys, threw down walls, and caused inmates to take refuge in tents. The stories of these earthquakes recount that the ground actually opened and closed again, leaving the evidence of an earthquake fault.11

An earthquake fault map, compiled from the data of the American Seismological Society, shows the relationship of the Tejon fault to the well-known San Andreas fault, which runs through the present Gorman station only a few miles distance from the Fort.

From the Post records it would seem that Mrs. Withrow's statement may somewhat overestimate the severity of the earthquake shocks. It is probable that the early settlers here did not know of the proximity of a major earthquake fault, yet they were aware that earthquakes frequently visited this region. This may be evidenced by the name given to the nearby rancho, San Emigdio. Saint Emigdio is a Roman saint who suffered martyrdom under Diocletian and who is invoked for protection against earthquakes.12 Father Geiger, of the Santa Barbara Mission, has suggested that the name San Emigdio may have been applied to that locality for the reason that one of the early exploring padres passed that way, or stopped there on the day set aside in the Saint's calendar for San Emigdio.

The Post Return gives the date of the most severe earthquake, probably the one referred to by Mrs. Withrow, as January 9, 1857, and records the following brief statement regarding it.

"The Post Return, Fort Tejon, California

January, 1857

Record of events.

The Post was visited by several severe shocks of an earthquake on the 9th instant, which have continued at intervals of a few hours up to this time, damaging the buildings more or less."

Arthur Woodward, of the Los Angeles Museum, makes the following statement regarding this earthquake:

"On the morning of January 9, 1857, a severe earthquake, apparently centering somewhere in the vicinity of the Post, threw down a number of the adobe walls in the Fort, causing the garrison to flee into the open and take up residence in tents. The hospital was evacuated and the sick likewise placed in tents. As a result of the temblor, the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other California papers were filled with reports of the damage done. In one of these reports, published in the Los Angeles Star, Saturday, January 24, 1857, an itemized list of the buildings that suffered from the shock at Fort Tejon was given."

Aid Given to the Los Angeles Safety Committee. To Los Angeles in January, 1857, fifty soldiers from Fort Tejon were sent to aid the committee of safety in that city in its search for outlaws.13

Bear paws, a delicious tid-bit. In November, 1857, it is reported that several of the officers at the Post went hunting for bear and killed two glorious specimens in one day. The paws, weighing about two pounds each, were cooked in the ground under the campfire, where they were left all night. When they were taken out and skinned and served, it was found that the bottom of the foot was a mass of delicious marrow, only more delicate.14

The coming of the camels. Canoas (troughs) canyon, near the Fort was so named on account of the camel feeding troughs hewn out of oak logs. It was thought by the late J.J. Lopez that General Beale traversed the road from San Vicente ranch through Soledad and Desert Springs via Tejon Rancho to Fort Tejon when he conducted the first and last United States Army Camel Corps to Fort Tejon in the fall of 1857, having brought these camels overland from San Antonio, Texas. The story goes that General Beale persuaded the War Department to establish a camel corps for transportation in the arid sections of Arizona, New Mexico, and California. In art old San Francisco paper, the Southern California Historical Society tells us that a Los Angeles correspondent wrote the following item:

"General Beale and about fourteen camels stalked into town (Los Angeles) last Friday week and gave our streets quite an Oriental aspect. He loaded them heavily with provisions and thence came through to Fort Tejon, living upon bushes, prickly pears, and whatever they could pick up en route."

Truxtun Beale, the son of General Beale, recalled riding to Los Angeles from Tejon with his father, in a sulky drawn by a tandem team of camels. It is stated that the General, when necessary, could carry on a conversation in Syrian with these animals.15

Jefferson Davis favors a camel corps. When, in 1853, Jefferson Davis became Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Pierce, he came more intimately in contact with the troubles of military transportation in the West, and resolved to give the camel an opportunity to lessen these difficulties. It was partly through his efforts that the camel corps was established.

The birth of a camel. By his intelligent and energetic care, Lieutenant Porter, who had charge of transporting the camels to this country from their native habitat, kept his charges in excellent health, and landed thirty-five safely at Indianola, Texas, May 14, 1856. There was a gain of one on the voyage, and all were apparently in really better condition than when taken from the sandy wastes of their native deserts.

After some days of rest, the herd was marched by easy stages to San Antonio, Texas, about one hundred and twenty miles, where Major Wayne set about making arrangements to establish a camel ranch and to attempt the breeding of the animals.

Beale in charge of camels. During the summer of 1857, the camels were used sparingly in carrying supplies and on short trips. In the fall of that year, Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale was employed to open a wagon road from Fort Defiance, New Mexico, to the eastern frontiers of California, and a part of the herd of camels was put at his disposal for this expedition. The journey occupied forty-eight days through an unexplored wilderness of forest and plain and desert. Lieutenant Beale spoke in the most enthusiastic terms of the work performed by the camels on this arduous trip. He said that they saved the members of this expedition from hardships, and excited the admiration of the whole party by their ability and willingness to perform the tasks set them. He started with the determination that the experiment should be most thorough, and subjected the camels to trials which he stated that no other animals could possibly have endured. On the desert they carried the water for the mules, traversed stretches of country covered with the sharpest volcanic rock without injury to their feet, climbed with heavy packs over mountains where the unloaded mules found it difficult to go, even with the assistance of the dismounted riders, and, to the surprise of all the party, plunged into rivers without hesitation and swam them with ease. The Lieutenant concluded that he would rather have one of the camels for such work than four of the best of his mules.

Camel efficiency. During this time the animals rendered efficient service and were so well cared for by Lieutenant Beale that in 1861, with the coming of a new administration and a new Secretary of War, he turned over to the Government Quartermaster in California a herd of twenty-eight, all in good condition.16

A Los Angeles news item has this to say of the camel corps:

"On the 10th instant, the dromedaries arrived by way of the Cajon and the Mojave. They created a great curiosity, and scared all the horses, mules, and children. When the docility of the animals was proved to the wonder-stricken senses of the natives, they were all anxious to take a ride on the humps of those awkward locomotives, and as long as they remained in town, throngs of boys and men followed their motions. They remained but two days, however, and then went to join the remainder of the train which had followed up the east side of the mountains to Tejon, where they were to be kept for breeding. Of the twenty-two camels brought through, but two are males.

"Lieut. Beale, and all who came through with him, speak of the speed and endurance and the adaptation of the dromedaries to the overland travel with great confidence.

"The road has been duly surveyed to the Colorado, but it is generally understood that Mr. Beale intends to terminate it at Tejon, without coming to Los Angeles, and much dissatisfaction is expressed, as the settlements of the southern coast are all avoided, and the road taken directly to Lieut. Beale's rancho at the Tejon that Lieut. Beale has used the national dromedaries to build a road up to his house, and that he alone will be benefited by the location of it."17

A mortal combat. Thus, after a checkered official life of eleven years, the camels passed finally into the hands of private owners. Of the two shiploads of animals, the government retains nothing except the bones of one of the beasts, which stand in a case at the National Museum at Washington, illustrating to students the peculiar framework of the "ship of the desert," besides serving as a souvenir to those acquainted with the story of the attempt to transplant these ancient drudges from their homes in Africa and Asia to the western world. The camel whose bones are thus preserved was killed at Fort Tejon by one of its mates that got loose during the night. The animals were rutting and consequently intractable. The soldiers relate that the combat was most furious, the beasts striking each other resounding blows with their ponderous feet, while the drivers dared not interfere. The bones of the defeated animal were forwarded by Lieutenant Sylvester Mowry to the Smithsonian Institute.

Inspector General Mansfield's report. In a report to the Assistant Adjutant General, Irvin McDowel, under the date of March 5, 1859, Inspector General J.K.F. Mansfield made a number of pertinent statements, some of which are included here. In reference to the earthquake of January 9, 1857, he writes:

"One person has been killed by the fall of an adoby [sic] building and a cow has been swallowed up."

In regard to the source of supplies for Fort Tejon he states:

"This post is 374 miles from San Francisco and 100 miles from Los Angeles and all its supplies are received through that place, having been first landed at San Pedro and transported 25 miles by land."

In the following paragraph regarding the dragoons of Company K, he tells us that the enlisted men at the Fort are comfortably housed and equipped.

"The Company is well quartered in a good adoby building shingled, with a good mess room and kitchen built in the same manner. It has a library and a very excellent set of mess furniture of Britania ware, and a large company fund of 1177.79 dollars in cash."

Speaking of the Quartermaster Department he makes an interesting statement regarding a sawmill:

"One citizen putting up ox power sawmill @ 100 dollars and ration. The sawmill has recently been brought down from the mountains, and is now being put up at the post, and the sawlogs will be hauled to it, a good arrangement."

Telegraph line installed. In October, 1860, a telegraph line was completed from Visalia to Fort Tejon and from Fort Tejon to Los Angeles. The telegraph poles were square and of redwood. They were shipped into Wilmington and from there teamed by Phineas Banning to their location. The population of Tejon Reserve and Fort Tejon was estimated at about one thousand persons at this time.18

Dr. Letterman assigned to duty at the Fort. Dr. J. Letterman, U.S.A., arrived in Los Angeles bound for Fort Tejon to relieve Dr. Ten Braech, who was ordered east.19

A horse thief. About this time several citizens at Fort Tejon wrote a letter concerning a horse thief at large near Fort Tejon, who stole a mule from the corral where the camels were kept by Greek George. George let Watson, the thief, have the animal on false order. Lieutenant Colonel Beall sent a detail to round up the thief.20

Wagons repaired in Los Angeles. In April, 1860, about sixty wagons arrived in Los Angeles from Fort Tejon for repairs as well as harness for six hundred horses. A large purchase of horseshoes was taken back to the Fort with the repaired wagons and harness.21

Scathing criticism of Indian Affairs. A correspondent of the Visalia Delta, who had spent several days at Fort Tejon, gives information concerning the Indians thereabouts:

"In July, some nine hundred Indians were removed from Owen's River to Bishop's Ranch. They were left to find their own food. The only way they could obtain it was to steal Bishop's cattle and beg from the soldiers. Acorns soon became ripe and they made out very well until the first of January, when their supplies, in great measure, gave out. Captain Schmidt, commanding officer at the Fort, reported the case to General Wright. After notice the superintendent made a stir, and the Indians were to be fed. It was found that a large quantity of damaged rice and beans had been stored at San Pedro for several months. Upon examination, it was found that a large portion had been destroyed by rats. The remainder, with some damaged hams, were forwarded to the Indians.

"These Indians are represented as destitute of clothing. A portion only of goods sent from the East has been distributed among the Indians. You can see any time during the day dozens of Indian women, almost in a state of nudity, eating clover in the pasture with the government mules, while their food and clothing have been stolen by persons paid by the Government to care and provide for them. I saw mention of the Tulare River Indian Farm having a hundred and fifty acres of grain. I will endeavor next week to show you what this has cost the Government and who received the benefit."22

Discussed abandonment of Fort.

"January, 1861: The abandonment of Fort Tejon has already been discussed in the War Department, and the probability is that this useless and expensive post will be given up. Fort Tejon offers no protection whatever for the white settlements, as it can easily be avoided and passed by savages. It is located in a cold, bleak, inhospitable, and worthless region of the country rocked by earthquakes, unsuitable for the habitation of the white man and deserted by the Indians, besides which it involves the Government in an unnecessary expense for its maintenance. Captain Davidson, Regimental Quarter Master of the First Dragoons, clearly pointed out more than a year ago that the annual cost to the Government for the support of Fort Tejon is about $55,000 more than it would be were the post located in San Bernardino or Los Angeles.

"Now that General Johnston has arrived, he will probably make it the subject of strict investigation.

"If Fort Tejon is to be abandoned, the troops should be stationed in Los Angeles, where the expense to the Government would be much less than at either Tejon or San Bernardino, and where all Indian disturbances are first reported."23

The Lost Padre Mine. One of the most persistent legends that has grown up around the old Fort and its surrounding mountains is the story of the Lost Padre Mine. W.J. Graham, in The Bakersfield Californian from March 1 to 9, 1915, presents this convincing story which contains much colorful descriptive matter of the early days at the Fort. The legend describes a fabulously rich gold mine, which was discovered by three Spanish Padres, the location of which was known to no one except the Padres and the Chief of the Tejon Indian tribe, who was sworn to guard its location with his life, passing the secret on to his successor only on his deathbed. Many incidents of Graham's story have been corroborated by the pioneers, among them no less an authority than the late J.J. Lopez. There are many persons who still believe in the existence of the Lost Padre Mine, while others declare it to be pure myth. Seasoned and amateur prospectors still search for it. There is in existence a map purporting to have come from the three Padres who discovered the mine. It shows the exact location, but the map does not check in the slightest particular with the government map of this region.


"Post Return, Fort Tejon, California September 1-10, 1864

Record of Events

Agreeable to S.L. 169, Hdqrs. Dept. of the Pacific of the date August 2, 1864, this Post was abandoned on the morning of the 11th of September, 1864, and arrived at Drum Barracks, California, September 16, 1864."

After the abandonment of Fort Tejon it became a part of the extensive Tejon Rancho, originally purchased as a part of a Mexican grant by E.F. Beale. In 1878, J.J. Lopez was employed to raise sheep for the Tejon Rancho by R.S. Baker, then a partner of Edward Fitzgerald Beale. The ranch was, for a time leased to the Hill Rivers Company for sheep and cattle raising. From 1886 to 1927 Lopez took complete charge of the sheep raising there. Lopez has recalled the Fort buildings as they were in 1878, then consisting of about twelve long, rambling adobe structures, surrounding the parade ground in a U-shape with the burial ground in the canyon in the rear. Earthquake shocks in the early days seriously damaged these buildings, five of which were taken down and many of the bricks used for construction at the rancho.

The ranch house at the Fort was originally officers' quarters.

Fire destroyed this building in 1935.

Fort begins to decay. The condition of Fort Tejon in 1874 was pathetic. The buildings were rapidly going to decay; the parade grounds were turned into a sheep corral, and the officers' quarters were used as sheep herders' houses.24

When the Fort was abandoned as a military post, the buildings were sufficient for a fair-sized town.25

Soldiers march at Fort again. The Coast Artillerymen made camp at Tejon while on the way to Sequoia in 1934. Cannon and measured tread of soldiers again sounded in the historic grounds of Fort Tejon, one of the military strongholds of the state in early days, as three hundred members of the Sixty-third Coast Artillery made camp there for a forty-eight-hour stay before resuming their trek from Fort MacArthur to Sequoia National Park.26

Camels carry mail in philatelic fete. From the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express of November 4, 1935, the following excerpts of an article by Lyle Abbott are taken.27

"In commemoration of a strange experiment Uncle Sam made just before the Civil War to conquer the then desert wastes of the southwest, a weird procession started today from Fort Tejon.

"Over the modern roads that have replaced the old winding trail surveyed by Lieutenant Beale, the camel mail swung along. Tomorrow just before noon, the Arabic beasts of burden are to deliver their cargo to Postmaster H.B.R. Briggs at Hollywood for distribution through more modern channels.

"The stunt is the Los Angeles Philatelic Clubs contribution to the celebration of National Philatelic Week.

"Stamp collectors mailed most of the letters, so that the stamps and covers may be added to the curios of philatelic fiends.

"In 1857, the camel mail between Fort Tejon and the little settlement of Los Angeles was a regular thing."

Fort recently deeded to State of California. Somewhat recently announcement was made through public press and verified by a communication from Newton B. Drury of the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks of the State of California, under the date of January 24, 1940, that "the State of California, through its Park Commission, has acquired a deed to five acres of property on which Fort Tejon is located. The deed is, however, subject to stipulations of a ten-year lease which is at the present time in operation."

It was largely through the efforts of the late Miss Ralpha E. Sanders, working with Newton B. Drury, H.A. Spindt, the local chapters of the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, the Kern County Historical Society and others that the State acquired the property in 1939. The recent action of the State was hailed with approbation by the local press and many prominent citizens, who have long urged this step.

The following news item verifies the acquisition of the Fort by the State:

"San Francisco, Jan. 12. Legality of a deed of gift conveying the historic Fort Tejon property and monument to the State Park Commission was approved today by Attorney General Warren.

"The property, on Tejon Pass on the Ridge Route, 35 miles south of Bakersfield, is owned by the Fort Tejon Company, of which Harry Chandler, Los Angeles publisher, is the major stockholder

"Warren said that the property is subject to a lease, but that possession of the property by the State in the near future is expected, and work of restoring the old adobe buildings will then commence."28


A sketch map of the arrangement of the Fort buildings accompanied a report sent by Colonel J K. F Mansfield, Inspector General, U.S.A., to Major I. McDowell, on March 5, 1859, has proved of assistance in locating the buildings on the compiled map. (See Figure 5.)

Written description of buildings. Bishop Kip's mention of the appearance of the Fort buildings is one of the few references to be found regarding the size and general appearance. (See Figures 6 and 7.) He states:

"The barracks — handsome adobe buildings — are being erected around the sides of the parade ground. None of them are yet finished, and the soldiers are living in tents There are ordinarily about six officers and one hundred and twenty dragoons stationed here, besides the numerous civilians who are storekeepers and employees of the Post."

The Los Angeles Star, under the date of January 24, 1857, gives a description of the damage done to the various buildings at the Fort in the earthquake of January 9, 1857, naming each building separately in the report as follows:

"1st. Unfinished building, intended for Quartermaster's storeroom and office — one end thrown down, one end badly cracked, the wall cracked in several places. The building is capable of being repaired.

"2nd. Unfinished building, intended for Captain's quarters — one end thrown out of perpendicular and badly cracked. Capable of repairs.

"3rd. Unfinished building, two sets of quarters, one end thrown down, one end thrown out of perpendicular so that it will have to be taken down. The walls sustaining the roof are secure. The building is capable of repairs. Two ends of the kitchen are cracked and injured, but they can be repaired without destroying the roof.

"4th. Unfinished building occupied by Major Blake and Lts. Ogle and Magruder This has been cracked and injured in many places but has suffered no material injury. It can be occupied with safety Both ends of the kitchen attached to this house have been thrown down, and the remaining walls are badly cracked, but it can be repaired without removing the roof.

"5th. Quarters occupied by Company H. This has been cracked and shaken in many places, but not so much as to injure the stability of the building.

"6th. Quarters occupied by Company G. One of the chimneys of this building has been thrown down. Its walls are more or less cracked, but it is sufficiently secure to be occupied and can be repaired with but little expense.

"7th. The end building of the Company's unfinished kitchen has been badly shaken and cracked. The building otherwise received no material injury.

"8th. The building occupied by Major Brier. This has been badly shaken, its chimney tops have been thrown down, the walls cracked in many places, and the plastering thrown down and injured. The walls of the buildings are secure, and it can be occupied with safety

"9th. Quarters occupied by Lt. Col. Beall. This has received more damage than any other finished building on the Post. Its chimnies [sic] have been thrown down, its plastering broken off in many places, and one of its ends so badly shaken and cracked as to be too insecure to be occupied.

"10th. Quarters occupied by Capt. Kirkham. This has been badly shaken and cracked, its plastering broken off in many places, and its chimnies thrown down. The walls are secure and capable of sustaining the roof.

"11th. Kitchen attached to Lt. Col. Beall's quarters. This has been badly shaken and cracked. It is insecure.

"12th. Building occupied as a commissary, store house, and hospital. This has been badly shaken and cracked throughout, and its plastering very much injured. Its main wall has been but little disturbed from the perpendicular and is secure and capable of sustaining the roof.

"13th. Unfinished building intended for two sets of quarters below hospital — no material injury.

"Most of the chimney tops have been cracked, and there is danger of fires being communicated through these cracks to the roofs."1

The foregoing description has proved of value in naming the different buildings located on the compiled map. The following paragraph has also materially assisted in locating the position of the Fort buildings as shown on the map.


"The Post is situated in the Canada de las Uvas, one of the most beautiful canyons you can conceive of, noble oaks line the road passing through it on either side. From the mouth of the canyon to the head is seven miles. The Post is situated two miles from the mouth of the canyon. The first object that strikes your view, upon entering the limits of the garrison, is the Sutler's store, a fine, commodious adobe building, plastered on the outside and whitewashed. To the right of the Sutler's store is the Quartermaster's store and office, also a fine two-story building — the walls of the rooms are finished with what, I believe, is termed 'hard finish.' The Sutler's and the Quartermaster's stores are about 250 or 300 yards from headquarters. The headquarters, company quarters, hospital, and commissary, are built on a slight elevation, on either side of the parade ground. For instance, at the head of the parade ground are three fine buildings, two stories, with all the modern improvements, on the right are the companies' quarters, on the left, the hospital and commissary department. All the quarters are furnished in the best style, and it is generally acknowledged to be one of the finest, if not the best Post on the Pacific Coast — and, with the exception of Fort Kelly, K.T., the finest in the army. There is one building partitioned off as follows carpenter, blacksmith, wheelwright, and harness shops. So you will perceive that everything is complete about the Post. The temporary stables are in the rear of the Quartermaster's store, and in the corral is usually stowed about 200 tons of good hay in bales."2

Mrs. R.J. Garner, who as a child played at the Fort many times, gives her recollections of the Fort buildings to Mrs. Charles E. Yates in a personal interview, stating that:

"My father, Dave McKensey, was one of the men who helped build Fort Tejon."3

Examination of present buildings and ruins. From an examination of the adobe brickwork of the walls of the present barrack building No. 1, it is quite evident that the adobe walls of this old Fort building were very well built. The bricks themselves are, after a period of more than eighty-five years, quite firm and well mortared into the structure. The mortar was probably the same adobe mix as the bricks. In several places, however, large structural cracks have occurred. These considerably weaken the structure and have evidently caused the owners of the property to introduce iron tie rods at various points to strengthen it. (See Figure 6.)

The builders did not know that they were building the Fort almost directly over an earthquake fault, and but three miles from the now well-defined and occasionally active, San Andreas fault. Realizing this fact, we may wonder how this barrack building has so well withstood the several major earthquake shocks that have rocked it.

No conscious provision for earthquake resistance. With heavy timber plates serving as bond to cap the adobe walls, yet, with perhaps no conscious consideration of lateral stresses in the design, the old barrack has indeed stood up well. High adobe walls, two story in one portion, are less apt to withstand earth shocks. Perhaps the roof structure which consists of adequate, well-designed, timber trusses has served a double purpose by also transmitting horizontal forces and holding the adobe walls in place. (See Figure 11.)

Rain and snow take their toll. The elements of rain and mountain snows, in spite of the wide over-hanging eaves, have taken their toll of the unprotected, unstabilized adobe brick wall surfaces. There have been some repairs, some remodeling and filling of cracks as the occasion demanded. One natural phenomenon and menace to the adobe walls is the action of woodpeckers that infest the district. They pick out little holes, and in the fall of the year carry acorns from the nearby oaks and place them with evident forethought in these crevices. In the spring, many of these same acorns, warmed by the sun, serve as the hatching place for small grub-like worms, which the birds return to claim as tasty morsels, and the others are consumed merely as acorns.

The Mission Indians may have laid the bricks. After the secularization of the California Missions in 1834 many of the Indians who had come under the influence of the mission system found their way into the interior valleys of California, so that the Indians of the San Joaquin Valley, as elsewhere in California, were not entirely without contact or knowledge of the ways of the white man when American settlers began to arrive. The Mission Indians retained and passed on to their fellows definite knowledge and skills acquired under the tutelage of the white man at the mission establishments.

It was so among the Indians gathered together at the reservation and military post at Tejon. Here there were a number of the so-called Mission Indians, familiar with various agricultural pursuits and practices common to the Mission system, but there were also some proficient in the arts and crafts connected with building construction, especially those crafts based upon the use of sun-dried adobe blocks as a building material, according to the mission practice.

The first adobe houses in this region. We are told that prior to the establishment of the reservation at Tejon and the Fort at Tejon Pass, a white man by the name of French had built himself an adobe house on the Mexican grant which was to become in part the Tejon reservation. Upon the actual establishment of the reservation a number of sizeable adobe buildings were constructed. Mention is made of a granary, a mill, the superintendent's house, and the headquarters building. As these buildings were all built of adobe brick, it is quite natural that the operation of actual construction should fall upon those Indians who had previously acquired some skill in this work, and so the Mission Indians were undoubtedly here engaged in the building trade. As several adobe structures on the reservation were built prior to the actual commencement of construction of the Fort buildings, it is reasonable to believe that the same crews of brick-makers and brick-layers who built the reservation buildings also constructed the Fort buildings. It may be borne in mind that the Fort was only fifteen miles distant from the reservation and for a time under the same management. It is evident by a careful inspection and thorough study of the two remaining adobe buildings in the old Fort group that the adobe work there was of a very satisfactory order of craftsmanship and shows in no detail any evidence of adobe brickwork having been done by unpraticed workmen in this field.

No official plan. (See Figure 5.) Can it be possible that the War Department of the United States Government caused Federal Fort Tejon to be constructed without having made and retained a precise record of its architectural plans and specifications? Perhaps, in the case of Fort Tejon, complete reliance on Lieutenant E.F. Beale and his new policy regarding Indian Affairs in California prompted General Hitchcock and the War Department to waive the customary drawings and allow the new Indian Affairs superintendent in California to proceed carte blanche in the construction of Fort Tejon. If there is a builder 's plan of this fort, it will be a most interesting discovery in connection with the architecture of the Fort.

In lieu of such a plan or other definite written descriptions defining the original arrangement of buildings on the site, their number and purpose, it has been possible from a sketch map made in 1859 by Colonel Mansfield, letters, diaries, news accounts, documents, an old picture or two, together with mounds of earth on the spot where adobe walls once stood, and the recollection of "old timers" to gain a fairly good idea of the lay-out of the Fort Tejon establishment. The map in Figure 5 is a result of such a study. Several authorities have stated that the parade ground was the center of a quadrangle or U-shaped grouping of the Fort buildings. The present standing barrack building was southeast of this parade ground. The Peter Lebeck Oak, now marked with an historical marker, was on the north side of the parade ground. The old hospital building was at the northwest edge of the parade ground and matched in design the present standing barrack building. J.J. Lopez has stated that the old hospital building was taken down, brick by brick, and removed to Tejon Rancho to be built anew into a ranch building. Lopez has called the building that occupied the southwest end of the quadrangle the officers' quarters. This structure burned in 1935 after having been used for a number of years as a ranch house. Southwest of the former officers' quarters there are two small unidentified buildings.

Leonard tells that the Fort was nearly on a line with the present recently changed position of the Golden State Highway No. 99. He tells us, also, that the stores and other civilian enterprises grew up adjacent to the Fort. The finding of Lieutenant Castor's broken tombstone in the valley southwest of the officers' quarters has led to the establishment of this as the burial ground where thirteen soldiers were said to have been buried during the time of the Fort occupancy.


The buildings possessed an early California flavor. The details of the barrack building, with its deep-beveled and wood-faced reveals on the inside of the window openings, its two-feet-wide window stools and the entire inside of the opening trimmed with neat mill work over the plaster, are reminiscent of the similar details and trim that finished such notable adobes as the De la Guerra house in Santa Barbara and the Estudillo house in San Diego. During the vogue of building adobe homes in California, between the years 1820 to 1850, at Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Juan Bautista, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the double-hung window, muntined [sic] after the American Eastern Colonial precedent, was a characteristic of this particular California architectural trend. It is this similarity in windows that is noted in the old hospital building at the Fort, long since taken down but easily distinguishable from an old photograph of about 1888. Although there are no remains of the actual window sash in the barrack building, it is presumed that they corresponded with the sash in this picture. The window jambs may readily be reconstructed from the remaining parts of the jambs of the barrack building. It is evident that these buildings possessed an early California adobe flavor, perhaps more noticeable through the employment of the same simple building material built into an honest expression that fell naturally into similar forms to other adobe buildings of about the same period. (See Figure 1.)

Meager description of Fort Buildings.

"At the head of the fertile San Joaquin Valley of the State of California — separating from each other the southern terminals of the Coast Range and the lofty snow-tipped Sierra Nevada — lies the deep narrow canyon of El Tejon. The pass affords the only available approach from the coast to the upper end of this fertile valley, and was selected in 1853 by General (then Lieutenant) E.F. Beale, as the site of the historic Fort Tejon. Here Uncle Sam laid out a magnificent parade ground, and had constructed about this area or quadrangle, numerous buildings of adobe of the Spanish type prevalent in Southern California. Today these once imposing structures are a mass of crumbling ruins, the haunts of the industrious wood-pecker, who has honey-combed the remaining timbers and stored them with his acorns."1

A sketch of the end room of the second barrack building, popularly called the blacksmith shop, on account of its service as such during the ranch regime, shows the natural deterioration characteristic of the uncared-for old buildings. (See Figure 7.)

Shape of foundations. The foundation walls investigated are three feet and four inches in height and' are from one to two feet above the present grade. No footings have been found, the walls extending down in uniform thickness. The foundation was stepped up at three stages in the barrack building No. 1, in order to conform to the general slope of the site.

The material for the foundation is a rather firm variety of quartz schist, or quartz-hornblende schist, cut into pieces of varying dimensions up to three feet in length and approximately six inches thick. This rock is soft enough to be readily split into the proper thickness for courses and to be broken into usable shapes to match joints, yet when mortared in place, it has afforded an adequate bearing for the adobe walls. By carrying the rock foundations well above grade, the walls were better able to withstand much of the eaves drip and water splash which would have done damage to adobe bricks if laid close to the grade. The menace of melting snow was also greatly lessened by bringing the rock foundation well above grade. An outcropping of rock of this nature has been located on the side hill north and about 30° east of the Fort site. As there has been considerable excavation here, it seems possible that this may have been the source of this foundation material. Most of the rock outcropping in the vicinity is a hard granite, not so easily worked for foundation purposes.

This type of rock foundation is typical of the Fort buildings that are standing and also of those that are distinguishable only by the mounds of melted adobe bricks that, for the most part, conceal their foundations except for an occasional protruding rock. The same variety of rock foundations remain to indicate where there once stood other adobe buildings of the Fort group, buildings that have been removed brick by brick to be built anew into ranch structures at the headquarters of the Tejon Rancho.

Mortar. The mortar used in laying the foundations is an adobe clay and loam, and adheres poorly to the rock, serving only as a filler of crevices. In spite of this inadequacy of the mortar, the general stability of the rock work is good, due to the care and precision with which the blocks are fitted and laid. This masonry work was evidently done by masons trained in this trade.

Adobe brick masons were skilled. As has been mentioned previously, it seems highly probable that the same crews of Indian brick-makers and Indian brick-layers, who constructed the Tejon Rancho buildings, prior to the commencement of construction of Fort Tejon, were employed on the Fort Tejon adobe construction as well. A statement by one William Hamilton to the effect that he came to Fort Tejon in April or May, 1855, where he had a contract for making adobe bricks for the government, and resided there until October or November of the same, year may be authentic, yet it must be remembered that construction of the Fort was ordered to begin in June of the previous year.2

The fact remains that the adobe masonry work at the Fort was well done and not the work of persons unskilled in either making or laying adobe bricks. (See Figure 10.)

From an examination of several of the original bricks from the barrack building, it has been definitely determined that a binder of dried grass or straw was used in the brick mix. It is interesting to note that this dried grass, small roots, and occasional chips of wood, have, in some instances, been very well preserved in the clay mixture, which, when dried, has kept them from the air and elements for more than eighty-five years. The proportion of straw is less than is customarily thought good practice today in unstabilized adobe brick making. A test of samples of four-inch cubes, cut from some of the barrack building adobe bricks, shows a compressive strength of 302 pounds per square inch. This is below the 350 pounds per square inch which is considered good practice in modern adobe construction. The water absorption of similar samples from the old bricks is higher than desired in modern adobe work. Should a restoration of this adobe work be contemplated, it would seem advisable to use an approved waterproof stabilizer with the soil to be used for brickmaking, thereby waterproofing and, at the same time, increasing the compressive strength.

Size and type of brickwork. Adobe bricks used in the Fort construction are approximately 4x12x18 inches, and were laid common bond in 24 inch thick exterior walls and 18 inch interior walls. A header course was placed just above the rock foundation and another header course directly under the timber plate upon which the floor joists rest, and thereafter header courses every ninth course. Special sizes of bricks or cut bricks were used as necessary or advisable to conform to the requirements.

Probable method of making bricks. (See Figure 9) There are many recipes for making adobe bricks, and it is uncertain which was used at the Fort. The one used was, probably, similar to the one in vogue in Los Angeles at the same period, somewhat like a recipe for baking powder biscuits without the baking powder. A little water was allowed to run into the adobe pit, where Indian laborers, with the aid of hoes, mashed the dry adobe, tramped it to a dough with their feet, working in a small quantity of dried meadow grass as a reinforcement. When a batch had been sufficiently worked, two men with a litter would stand by. As a cook sprinkles the bread board with flour before depositing the biscuit dough, so the litter-carriers sprinkled their litter with very fine and dry manure, and upon this deposited the adobe batch, which, in turn, they carried to the brick-makers. The makers worked with wooden forms like biscuit cutters. The adobe batch was placed and pressed by hand into the forms until full, then the forms were immediately removed and the bricks left to bake in the sun. After several days of good drying weather, the bricks were stood on edge and scraped free from dirt on their underside and then allowed to stand in rows, herringbone fashion, to dry from both sides. In a few more days these bricks were stacked in piles to cure. In such mild climates as at Fort Tejon, bricks might well be made at least two or three months before they were built into the walls. In the hot dry valleys of the interior it is quite safe, in the hot summer months, to use bricks in construction that have been made two weeks previously. (See Figure 9.)

Probable manner of laying bricks. The mortar used in laying the adobe work at the Fort is quite similar to the material from which the bricks were made, yet in many places it has a different color from the bricks between which it is laid. This may be accounted for by a slight difference in color of material of bricks themselves in various portions of the buildings, the source of soil supply varying from one adobe mixing pit to another.

The adobe mortar for the brickwork was formed into a solid bed about 3/8 inch thick for each course. This would indicate that the adobe masons used the slush-and-slide method of laying bricks. The end joints were completely filled, thus making a solid wall with all joints completely full. The exterior walls were probably built plumb and true on the outside, in which event the interior surfaces would be slightly irregular, due to varying amount of brick shrinkage in drying. This irregularity and the unpointed joints inside served as a somewhat better surface for a plaster base and better key than if the inside of the walls had been worked over to make them smooth before plastering.

The source of lumber is uncertain. The lumber used for the roof trusses of the barrack buildings is a firm, tough variety of cypress, rough-sawn with saw marks still showing. (See Fig. 11.) As there were no local forests that afforded the type of lumber used in the building of the roof trusses in the barrack buildings, it is assumed that this material was hauled in. Other lumber may have been milled locally. There was, in the early days of the Fort, the first steam operated saw mill in this region, Mill Potrero, located on the west fork of San Emigdio Creek near the head of the arroyo. It was here, early residents tell us, that Joseph Gale milled lumber for Fort Tejon and other neighboring improvements. In 1858, Gale settled on a homestead near the present Grapevine Station. A news item in the Southern Californian, a weekly newspaper published in Bakersfield and under the date of March 14, 1875, states that the sawmill in San Emigdio Canyon was being moved to the other side of the mountain, near Cuddy Place to the same location where lumber was sawed for the construction of Government buildings at Fort Tejon. There are other reports that the lumber was teamed in from San Pedro or freighted in from Santa Barbara.

The roof sheathing is remarkable for its toughness and the width of boards. They are 1 inch thick, random width, ranging from 12 to 18 inches wide. These are secured to the trusses with square-cut nails, effectively but sparingly used. (See Figures 10, 11.)

Philip Johnston, in the November issue of Touring Topics in 1933, makes a rather bold statement when he says, in an article entitled, Saga of Old Fort Tejon, that:

"Within a few months' time, several buildings were constructed of adobe, a building material that was both cheap and plentiful. With all its timber resources, California's lumber supply was largely obtained by importations around Cape Horn in sailing vessels. Most of the timber used in the building of Fort Tejon was landed at Santa Barbara and freighted in wagons across a long and circuitous route through the mountains."3

A study of the sketches and measured drawings of carpenter work gives a clear idea of the excellence with which this trade was plied at Fort Tejon. (See Figures 10, 11.)

Carpenter work. The floor framing, with its occasional mortise and tenon joints, and the roof truss carpentry shows a precision and accuracy and expert craftsmanship that is remarkable. A dovetail joint is pegged with two square pegs at the bottom of each queen post. Lap joints in the bottom chord also secured by pegs, and the truss heel, which is adequately designed and expertly executed, are shown here. (See Figures 8, 12.)

Millwork. Adding credence to the supposition that the rough lumber came in by freighters from Santa Barbara or San Pedro is the fact that the millwork, which includes the baseboard, dado strip, door frames and doors, window frames and sash as pictured in the hospital building (See Figure 1) is an especially refined product which closely resembles the type of millwork that was being used in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and other well-established communities at that time. The two remaining doors of the barrack building, although they may have been added at a later time, are the typical four-panel doors of the period. The window sash have all been removed, but old pictures of the hospital building and the officers' quarters show a double-hung type of window, with two vertical muntins and one horizontal in each sash, which we may assume was also characteristic of the windows of the barrack buildings.

Lathing and plastering. (See Figure 11.) The ceilings of the rooms in the barrack building were stripped with 1⅛x2¼ inch rough-sawn pine strips, nailed 12 inches on centers, to the bottom chord of trusses and to intermediate ceiling joists or beams placed half-way between trusses, thus affording a support for the strips every two feet. The nails used were 2 inch square-cut iron nails. The lath were split pieces of mountain cedar, &frac1; to ¼ inch thick and approximately 1 inch in width, and were spaced about ¼ inch apart at their greatest interval.

The adobe walls were left unpointed on the interior as the protruding adobe mortar and partially unfilled joints were of advantage in securing greater plaster adherence and key to the adobe walls.

Examination of pieces of plaster from the barrack buildings indicates that it was applied to the walls in three coats. The first, or scratch-coat, was about ⅜ inch thick and contained a meager amount of brown and black hair, resembling that obtained from cowhides. A second or brown coat, a little lighter in color, was applied to the scratch-coat. The finish, or skim-coat, was a thin coat of lime putty hardly more than a sixteenth of an inch thick. The samples of plaster show that a coat of whitewash was applied to this skim-coat. This, however, may have been done at a later time.

Trim set in plaster. The baseboard, window and door trim, and dado strip were installed by nailing them to the nailing blocks built into the adobe. These were installed before the scratch coat of plaster was applied. In this way, crevices caused by irregularities of the surface were eliminated.

Mrs. P.J. Garner, whose father assisted in building the Fort, makes the following statement regarding the plastering:

"Plaster was brought from Los Angeles for plastering the rooms and was mixed with whey (the liquid from sour milk). It was put on the walls with wooden trowels."

The statement regarding the use of whey may not be entirely accurate, as it would seem to be a very difficult ingredient to obtain, and, at the same time, quite unnecessary.


Preliminary steps leading to the formation of a state park. When the State of California, on January 4, 1940, closed the matter of taking title to the five acres of the Fort site, which includes the parade ground and the ruins of several buildings facing it, hope was aroused that the California Department of Natural Resources, working with the California State Park Commission, might follow the plan proposed by Senator J.I. Wagy and adopted by the State Legislature, when, on May 10, 1937, that body passed a resolution directing the Department of Natural Resources, through the Park Commission of the State of California, to restore old Fort Tejon as a memorial park and historical museum.1

There are two important considerations that stand in the way of putting this resolution in effect. The first is that the property is subject to the provisions of a lease which will not expire for ten years. The second is the matter of acquiring funds for restoration purposes. When the Park Commission is able to adjust these matters, work will undoubtedly begin with a view to the development of this historic spot as a state park.

An historical museum hoped for. Bakersfield and Kern County residents have long looked forward to the establishment of an historical museum at Fort Tejon. Here, it is stated, many relics and documents of the early days of this region might be gathered together and placed in a fire-resisting structure under the custody of a qualified curator. Such an establishment not only would serve well the needs of an historically-minded community, but also would be a matter of early California interest to the hordes of strangers, who, each season, pass the gateway to the Fort as they travel the Golden State Highway.

With the passing of the years this bit of California in the "Fifties," if preserved, not only will grow richer in tradition and romance, but also will continue to bear evidence through the mute testimony of its roof trusses alone, of the excellent craftsmen who practiced carpentry in those pioneer days. Joints, mortised and tenoned, lapped or dove-tailed, pegged securely together with square wooden pegs, speak eloquently of the hours of meticulous labor that were necessary to accomplish what, with metal strap and bolt, are so hastily done today.

In such a museum, the name of Peter Lebeck would be perpetuated. General Edward Fitzgerald Beale, whose plan for protecting the Indians from extermination, caused the building of the Fort, would be revered. Lieutenant Castor, who lost his life in service at the Fort, the early settlers, the famous persons who sojourned there, all would add to the historic interest of the spot. Joaquin Murietta [sic], the notorious outlaw and traditional Robin Hood of California, would find mention as having frequented the Tejon Pass before the inception of the Fort in 1854. Recalcitrant Indians, stealing horses, drew their posse of dragoons, as did banditry in the confines of the city of Los Angeles. The strange episode of the United States Camel Corps fires the imagination, but more picturesque than all this is the scene that may be conjured up of dragoons and marching blue-clad soldiers, a part of the martial life that ebbed and flowed about the Fort in the early "Sixties" when the great drama of the West was in the making. All these and many more highlights in the life of Fort Tejon might well intrigue the passer-by to consider its historical heritage.

Authentic architectural restoration anticipated. Before a museum could be well and appropriately housed at old Fort Tejon, one of the former adobe buildings, studied with sympathy and understanding, should arise again to lend itself to an authentic restoration. It might be reconstructed of stabilized, waterproof adobe bricks after the best modern practice. It should be designed with all structural considerations to enable it to withstand to-be-expected lateral stresses. All of this could be accomplished economically, and, at the same time, in perfect accord with the early California flavor and pioneer spirit that was a part of the old structures. Adherence to the known details of the old work would restore for posterity another rare old adobe landmark about which there might cluster anew much history and pioneer lore of those early days of California.


(Suggested plan of restoration)

January 30, 1949

It is the purpose of the undersigned authorized representatives of interested groups in Kern County to analyze briefly the existing status of the Fort Tejon project and urge a policy of progressive steps in the restoration of the Fort. It is suggested that a research analyst with both historical and architectural interests be assigned to the project, that interviews with old-timers be recorded, and that a new attempt be made to pry the official records from the Army archives. A proposed acquisition of additional property as outlined in a map prepared by the Kern County Planning Commission is imperative, as the sites of all the Fort buildings should be owned by the State. The County of Kern has expressed its willingness to share with the State of California the expense of this acquisition.

The ideal goal is to restore the original buildings and environs, to furnish the structures with the type of equipment they formerly possessed, and to equip them with adequate personnel. But to proceed with systematic reconstruction, it is necessary to establish immediate and intermediate goals which will be flexible, depending on the funds available and the historical research done.

Past and present status of Fort Tejon:

Located 36 miles south of Bakersfield and 77 miles north of Los Angeles, in Kern County, California, and on Highway 99, Old Fort Tejon possesses tremendous possibilities for informing the visiting public on the historical aspects of the intriguing mid-nineteenth century and on historical and geographical aspects of this region.

The Fort, established by the United States Army on August 10, 1854, for ten years occupied an exciting and unique position in the annals of California history Since its abandonment on September 11, 1864, the buildings have been used as residences, stables, or sheds, or have remained unused. A few repairs have made some of the buildings adequate as ranch structures. Extensive bracing was installed by the Native Sons of the Golden West in the fall of 1916. Nevertheless, the deterioration of the buildings has continued through the years.

In 1939 the State of California, through the Division of Beaches and Parks, acquired title to approximately five acres of land which contains only a portion of the original Fort buildings. During the winter of 1947-48 a curator was placed on the Fort grounds, and the work of gathering the readily-available historical data for the use of the State commenced. Artifacts discovered during this period have been saved and their points of discovery recorded. Detailed measurements of Barrack No. 1 and its millwork were taken, a study of the stability of the walls was made; and plan for immediate work was prepared. Adobe studies revealed the source of suitable brick-making soil, and the weakened portions of the walls were rebuilt. Internal reinforcement to resist possible earthquakes was placed. Floor joists were procured and installed. Exterior doors, sash, and frames were nearly all installed, and much of the trim was milled. The flooring is on hand. One of the fireplaces has been rebuilt to the plate line and another has been started.

Construction has frequently been ahead of research, and the crews were required to change schedules pending decisions necessitating architectural research. A great many details are still undecided, and, as a result, together with bad weather, work on the restoration is almost at a standstill. Some of the unanswered questions involve the original use of the large foundations near the southwest outside doors of the middle two rooms, the treatment to be given the apparently unused stairwell in the northeast room, and the type and location of steps and landings, both inside and outside the building. There is uncertainty about the extent of furring, lathing and plastering, and type of roofing. Preservative treatment of exposed adobe walls demands attention.

When research does not keep pace with construction, difficulties arise, as is illustrated by the recent discovery of an old photograph showing the walls of Barrack No. 1 to be approximately two feet higher than at present. This same picture shows the northeast end wall to be adobe up to the roof line and to be pierced by two attic windows. This old picture is the one that should be followed in the restoration.

Valuable collections of data have been presented to the State for its guidance. Much time has been unselfishly donated by Kern County citizens to further the progress of this monument and to help with technical problems involved. Without such generous participation the restoration of the old Fort would be seriously handicapped.

The development of the Fort Tejon project is not only a challenge but also an opportunity. Highway 99 bears a large part of the north-south traffic through this section of our state. The historical aspect of California adds a tremendous impetus to the ever-expanding tourist resources. Being located at the top of the steep portion of the Grapevine Grade, this monument is a natural stopping place, and will be welcomed by travelers.

The completed monument, as well as the operations of reconstruction, will give the Division of Beaches and Parks and also Kern County's participating agencies an unparalleled opportunity to inform a great mass of people of the fine work that is being done to serve them through the restoration of our cherished historical areas.

Restoration policy:

The organizations here represented by the undersigned, wish to suggest the following restoration policy: The establishment of the period of restoration as of the time when each building was first constructed. Such a reconstruction will not show earthquake damage, but should show any modifications made at the time of the repair necessitated by earthquake damage. The buildings, in other words, should be presented as they appeared to the soldiers assigned to the Fort.

The master plan should include not only the immediate restoration of Barrack No. 1 but also the reconstruction, as funds are available, of the other main buildings, chief among them is the Hospital and Commissary Building that once stood southwest of the Lebeck Oak. In the opinion of the undersigned, this building should be reconstructed following the restoration of Barrack No. 1. Now is the time to prepare plans for the rebuilding of this Hospital and Commissary Building, basing them on historical research.

While the over-all plan for restoration should include the entire Fort, it is suggested that those buildings now in ruins which will necessarily await their turn for reconstruction, be preserved in their present state of ruin by the use of approved preservatives or by the erection of protecting structures.

The impact of Fort Tejon on the history of California has probably not been vital enough to preclude a disturbance of the "sanctity" of the area. It appears that the opportunity of serving a great number of people by helping them gain an insight into the historical background of the Fort indicates a preference for an interpretive treatment. The undersigned recommend the living museum idea as of great dramatic and forceful educational value. It is quite thinkable that the State Guard of California might welcome the privilege of using the old Fort as a training ground during the summer period, activating it in conformity to the times when the dragoons occupied it. Provided with mounts, uniforms of the period and authentic equipment, the colorful traditions might be reenacted for a few days in the training period of each member of our own State Guard.

Signed by

CLARENCE CULLIMORE, Chairman of Recommendations Committee

RICHARD BAILEY for Kern County Historical Society

F.F. LATTA for Kern County Museum

CHESTER JAMES for Kern County Planning Commission

R.W. LOUDON for Native Sons of the Golden West No. 42

MRS. R.B. SANDERS for Native Daughters of the Golden West, El Tejon Parlor No. 239.



1. Extracts from the Reports of the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1853-1864. Report of Superintendent Beale No. 91, Los Angeles, California, August 23, 1853, p. 10.


1. Herbert Eugene Bolton, In the South San Joaquin Ahead of Garces, Kern County Historical Society, 1935.

2. Loc. cit.

3. Extracts from the Reports of the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1853-64. Report of Superintendent Beale, No. 92, San Francisco, Sept. 30, 1853, p. 13.

4. Ibid., Report No. 200, Tejon Agency, California, August 12, 1859, p. 47.

5. Ibid., Report No. 36, Office Indian Affairs, Southern District of California, San Francisco, Sept. 1, 1863, p. 62.

6. William P. Blake, Report of a geological reconnaissance in California made in connection with the expedition to survey routes for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Railroad Report. Vol. 5, Part II, p. 47.

7. Loc. cit.

8. Bishop Kip, A California Pilgrimage, being an account of the observance of the sixty-fifth anniversary of Bishop Kip's first missionary journey through the San Joaquin Valley, together with Bishop Kip's own story of the event commemorated. Letter dated Oct. 11, 1855. Edited by Louis C. Sanford, Fresno, California, p, 38.

9. The Foxtail Rangers, 1890, from a printed sheet in the Kern County Library.

10. Herman A. Spindt, Source Material About Peter Lebeck Tree, 1837 to 1937.


1. Stephen Bonsal, Edward Fitzgerald Beale. New York and London: G.P. Putnam 's Sons, 1912, pp. 66 167.


1. Fremont Rider, Rider's California. New York: Macmiillan Company, 1925 p. 565.

2. Harris Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California. New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1916, p. 249.

3. Ibid., p. 157.

4. Bishop Kip, A California Pilgrimage, edited by Louis C. Sanford, Fresno, California., pp. 36-38.

5. Ibid., p. 40.

6. Ibid., p. 40.

7. Mae Saunders, Fort Tejon, a typescript, 1925.

8. Herman A. Spindt, Source Material About the Peter Lebeck Tree, 1837 to 1937.

9. Bishop Kip, A California Pilgrimage, edited by Louis C. Sanford, Fresno, California.

10. San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 17, 1855.

11. Mae Saunders, A brief Sketch of the History of Fort Tejon (typescript), 1925 — Personal interview with Mrs. Withrow.

12. Mrs. Charles Burdick procured the information regarding Saint Emigdio.

13. Harris Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California, p. 207.

14. San Francisco Daily Morning Call, Nov. 26, 1867.

15. Stephen Bonsal, Edward Fitzgerald Beale. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1912, p. 207.

16. Charles C. Carroll, "The Government's Importation of Camels," Twentieth Annual Report of the Bureau of Animal Husbandry for the year 1903, U.S . Department of Agriculture.

17. Alta California November 26, 1857.

18. Ibid., October 20, 1860.

19. Los Angeles Star, April 7, 1860.

20. Ibid., April 14, 1860.

21. Ibid., April 7, 1860.

22. Los Angeles News, June 2, 1864, p. 1, col. 1.

23. Item reprinted from the San Francisco Herald in the Los Angeles Star, January 26, 1861.

24. Los Angeles Herald, August 12, 1874.

25. Los Angeles Star, July 20 1861.

26. News item, Los Angeles Times.

27. Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, November 4, 1935, article by Lyle Abbott.

28. Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1940.


1. The Los Angeles Star, January 24, 1857.

2. Ibid., November 21, 1857

3. Personal interview granted to Mrs. Charles E. Yates by Mrs. R.J. Garner, May 19, 1935.


1. Truth Magazine, August, 1898.

2. Statement of William Hamilton, War of the Rebellion, Vol 60, Part I. Washington, D.C., 1897, p. 39.

3. Philip Johnston, Touring Topics, November, 1933.


1. Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1937.



Bonsal, Stephen, Edward Fitzgerald Beale, Pioneer in the Path of Empire, 1822-1903. New York and London: C.P. Putnam's Sons, 1912. P 312.

Comfort, Herbert G., Where Rolls the Kern, A History of Kern County, California... Moorpark, California: The Enterprise Press, 1934. Pp. 21-52.

Hittell, Theodore H., History of California, 1885-1898. 4 vols.; San Francisco.

Kip, Bishop, A California Pilgrimage, includes Bishop Kip's visit to Fort Tejon and letter October 11, 1855, from Bishop Kip's Diary Edited by Louis C. Sanford, Fresno, California, 1921.

Lesley, Lewis B., Uncle Sam's Camels, 1927.

Miller, Thelma B., History of Kern County, California. 2 vols.; Indianapolis, Indiana: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1929.

Morgan, Wallace W., History of Kern County, California, 1914.

Newmark, Harris, Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-1913. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1916.

Rensch, F.G. and H.E., and Mildred Brooke Hoover, Historic Spots in California. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1933. P. 597.

Rider, Arthur Fremont, Rider's California. New York: The Macmillian Co., 1925. P. 667.

Saunders, Charles F., Southern Sierras of California. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1923.


Johnston, Philip, " Saga of Old Fort Tejon," Touring Topics, November, 1933.

Truth Magazine, August, 1898. New York: Describes Fort.


Carroll, Charles C., "The Government's Importation of Camels," Twentieth Annual Report of the Bureau of Animal Husbandry for the Year 1903. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture.

Post Return, Fort Tejon, California, August, 1854.

Post Return, Fort Tejon, California, January, 1857.

Post Return, Fort Tejon, California, September 1, 10, 1864. Abandonment of the Fort.

U.S. Army, Orders of the Department of the Paclf1c, San Francisco, June 24, 1854. Special Orders No. 60 and 62 Relative to the building of Fort Tejon.

U.S. Army, Report of the Secretary of War 1854, Headquarters; Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, September 14, 1854.

U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Report of Supt. Beale, Extracts from the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1854-1 864, Nos. 36, 91, 92, 100, 200. (typescript.)

U.S. Senate Executive Documents No. 4: 33rd Congress, Spec. Session, Ser. No. 688.

U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. 10, 1851-1855. Statement of William Hamilton, War of the Rebellion, Vol. 50, Part 1, 1897, P 39.

Report of Inspector General, Mansfield, March 5, 1859.


Blake, William P., Pacific Railroad Report, Vol. 5, Part II. Report of a Geological Reconnaissance in California in 1853 under command of Lieut. R.S. Williamson.

Bolton, Herbert Eugene, In the South San Joaquin Ahead of Garces... Paper read before the Kern County Historical Society, 1935.

Ellison, William Henry, Federal Indian Policy in California 1846-1860, Study towards Ph. D., 1919, University of California.

Leonard, Charles Berdan, The Federal Indian Policy in the San Joaquin Valley. Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, 1928.


Alta California, "The Camel Train," Los Angeles, November 23, 1857.

Alta California, October 20, 1860.

Bakersfield Californian, March 9-15, 1915.

Chronicle San Francisco, August 25, 1855.

Chronicle San Francisco, November 17, 1855.

Daily Morning Call, November 26, 1857, San Francisco.

Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, November 4, 1935.

Los Angeles Herald, August 12, 1874.

Los Angeles Star, January 24, 1857

Los Angeles Star, November 21, 1857. "Fort Tejon and its Surroundings."

Los Angeles Star, July 20, 1861.

Los Angeles Times, "Fort Tejon Gift Deed Approved," Los Angeles, January 13, 1940. Legality of deed of Tejon to State established.

The Southern Californian, a weekly paper published in Bakersfield, March 4, 1875.


Saunders, Mae, A Brief Sketch of the History of Fort Tejon. (Typescript) 1925.

The Foxtail Rangers, 1890, from a printed sheet in the Kern County Library.

Spindt, Herman A., Source Material About Peter Lebeck Tree, 1837-1937.

Symmes, E.J., Report presented to State Division of Parks.

Mrs. H.P. Bender and Mrs. Nora Borgwart Hagen have furnished the old photographs.


Bender, Mrs. H.P., to Clarence Cullimore, September 26, 1941.

Curran, James, to Clarence Cullimore, September 25, 1941.

Garner, Mrs. R.J., to Mrs. Charles E. Yates, May 19, 1935.

Harris, Mrs. Daniel, to Clarence Cullimore, September 25, 1941.

Loudon, Roy W., President of the Kern County Historical Society in 1937-1938, has made several pertinent suggestions incorporated in this paper.

Lopez, J.J., to Clarence Cullimore, 1930.

Stockton, Jesse D., Procured the Data Regarding the Mill Potrero and the source of lumber used at the Fort.


The Students' Architectural Association at the Kern County Union High School assisted in procuring measurements, data, drawings and photographs. Willis Dallons was responsible for several fine photographs.


A sketch map accompanying a report on Fort Tejon by Colonel Inspector General J.K.F. Mansfield, U.S. Army, Los Angeles, March 5, 1859.


Courtesy of "Tide Water Associated Oil Company," in a redesign of their stamp No. 133.




8. The purpose of the study

8. The main factors to be considered

9. Sources of data regarding Fort Tejon

10. Limitations of architectural data

10. The need for this study

11. Indication of anticipated interest


13. Location on a Mexican land grant

15. The site of the Fort

15. Pacific railroad route report

16. The Lebeck Oak

16. Peter Lebeck

17. The Mystery of the Five Franc Coin


23. Lieutenant Beale made superintendent

23. Topography

23. The old Fort records

24. Army orders relative to the establishment of the Fort


33. Butterfield Overland Mail Station

33. The store

33. A band concert

33. By mule team to the Fort

34. An Episcopal service

35. Lieutenant Castor's grave

35. "Forgotten"

35. "Unforgotten"

35. Kern County Indians

36. Indian tribes

36. The Sebastian Indian Reserve

37. Kit Carson

37. The Indian Dog Feast

37. Orders to suspend building operations

37. Police duties

38. Proximity of an earthquake fault

39. Aid given to the Los Angeles Safety Committee

39. Bear paws, a delicious tidbit

39. The coming of the camels

40. Jefferson Davis favors a camel corps

40. The birth of a camel

40. Beale in charge of camels

40. Camel efficiency

41. A mortal combat

41. Inspector General Mansfield's report

42. Telegraph line installed

42. Dr. Letterman assigned to duty at the Fort

42. A horse thief

42. Wagons repaired in Los Angeles

42. Scathing criticism of Indian affairs

43. Discussed abandonment of Fort

43. The Lost Padre Mine

44. Abandoned Fort begins to decay

44. Soldiers march at Fort again

44. Camels can y mail in philatelic fete

47. Fort recently deeded to State of California


49. Written description of buildings

51. Examination of present buildings and ruins

51. No conscious provision for earthquake resistance

51. Rain and snow take their toll

52. The Mission Indians may have laid the bricks

52. The first adobe houses in this region

53. No official plan


63. The buildings possessed an early California flavor

63. Meager description of Fort buildings

64. Shape of foundations

64. Mortar

64. Adobe brick masons were skilled

65. Size and type of brickwork

65. Probable method of making bricks

66. Probable manner of laying bricks

66. The source of lumber is un certain

75. Carpenter work

75. Millwork

75. Lathing and plastering

76. Trim set in plaster


77. Preliminary steps leading to the formation of a state park

77. An historical museum hoped for

78. Authentic architectural restoration anticipated

91. Fort Tejon State Historical Monument


Drawings by the Author


1. Lebeck Oak and Restoration (on paper) of Hospital Building (6)

2. Exhuming the Skeleton of Peter Lebeck, by the Foxtail Rangers in 1890 (19)

3. The Foxtail Rangers near Fort Tejon in 1890 (21)

4. The Peter Lebeck Oak (27)

5. Map Showing Arrangement of Fort Buildings (29)

6. Barrack Building No. 1 (31)

7 Barrack Building No. 2 (45)

8. Four Details of Carpentry (55)

9. Method of Making Bricks (57)

10. Typical Wall Section (59)

11. Roof Truss (61)

12. A Dovetail Joint (67)

13. Typical Window (69)

14. Window Details (71)

15. Floor Plan of Barrack No. 1 (73)

16. Fireplaces (79)

17. Interior Elevations (81)

18. Lieutenant Castor's Monument (83)

19. The Golden State Highway "99" in 1890 near Fort Tejon (85)

20. Barrack No. 1 Before Roof Was Lowered (89)

21. Ruins of Barrack No. 2 in 1914 (90)

22. Hospital and Commissary Building Being Razed (94)

23. Guard House Ruins in 1895. (95)

24. Officers' Quarters in 1914. (96)

Download individual pages here.
• Fort Tejon
• Rancho Castec
• Tejon Ranch
• Tejon Indians
• Tejon Indian Tribe
• Tejon Ranch Development (21st Century)


Inventory of State Park Collection


Self-Guided Tour 1996


Huell Howser Program 1999


Hotel Plan 1858


Ruins (Mult.)


Rancho La Liebre 1929 (Story)


Postcard 1930s


Flying A Gasoline 1938


Home Movie 1939


Book: Old Adobes (Cullimore 1949)


Travelogue 1949


Old Gate Pre-1950


Officers' Quarters ~1950s


Headquarters Bldg. 1957 (Story)


Brochure Pre-1967


Enlisted Men's Barracks (Mult.)

• 1857 Earthquake (1)
• 1857 Earthquake (2)
• 1857 Earthquake (3)
• 1857 Earthquake in Harpers Weekly


• Peter Lebeck Story


Peter Lebeck Exhumed 1890


Lebeck Story 1901


Lebeck Grave 1957 (Story)


Lebeck Oak ~1960s


Lebeck Oak & Grave Marker x7


Lebeck Bark x2


Lebeck Sculpture x3

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