BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — We’ve long known about the handsome, distinctive building on 18th Street that’s been the headquarters of the Woman’s Club of Bakersfield for more than a century. Now the National Historic Registry knows as well.
Bakersfield doesn’t always do a good job of honoring its history but Thursday was not one of those days. A historic downtown building – the Woman’s Club – has been accorded special recognition – placement on the National Registry of Historic Places.
A plaque commemorating that designation was unveiled outside the century-old building. Woman’s Club President Beano Cameron has worked for months to make it happen.
“It means those behind us will have to preserve this building as it is,” she said. “They cannot change it – change the integrity of this building, and I think that’s most important – that we always preserve this history in our community.”
The headquarters of the century-old community service organization at 18th and D streets was designed in 1919 by architect Charles Biggar – who chose Italian Renaissance for its design. Two of Biggar’s grandsons, Bruce and Jeff Biggar, were in attendance.
“All of the buildings that he designed that I’m aware of have withstood the 1952 earthquake,” Bruce Biggar said. “The Building A at Kern Medical Center, all the buildings including Harvey Auditorium, the Bakersfield Californian building. There are so many buildings that he did that are just amazing and awesome.”
The Woman’s Club helps out in many ways, including – just a few of their undertakings – women’s recovery programs, Ronald McDonald House and scholarships for high school seniors. The Club — which funds its charitable activities in part by renting out its hall – still has a healthy roster of members, young and old – so it’s not disappearing anytime soon. And neither is its historic, federally recognized building.