The Havilah Herald

Official Publication of the Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

aka The Havilah Historical Society and Museum

 January 2023

A recognized 501 C 3 non-profit Historical Organization (all donations are tax-deductible)

Dedicated to the preservation of the history of Havilah,

The first County Seat of Kern County, CA

 California Historical Marker # 100

Our Purpose:

The purpose of this corporation is EDUCATIONAL. The organization has been formed and is maintained to research, document, preserve, and share the historic legacy of the town of Havilah, California, and of Kern County, California. Included in this purpose is the objective to provide for the advancement of education about the history of Havilah and early Kern County to the local community at large and to any and all visitors to the community.

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 Happy New Year everyone!  It’s 2023 already and we’re two years from the end of the first quarter of the 21st century.  Let that sink in!  According to the 50’s sci-fi movies, we were going to see lots o of wild stuff in the 21st century.  But I still haven’t seen a UFO or Bigfoot!

2022 was actually a productive year for our Society even though we didn’t get the visitors we normally see.  Our group did a great job maintaining the grounds, installing a new Historical marker, built a really nice fence to enclose the area next to the schoolhouse, and installed a new flagpole next to the schoolhouse.

On to 2023:  The Mining Expo will be our first big project, and we’ll discuss it in more detail at our first meeting of 2023, on Jan 14 at 3:00 pm.

Dues are due.

Roy Fluhart, President

Here’s another newspaper clipping from The Old Timer’s Column published in the Wofford Heights Kern River Valley Review by the Ghost Writer Edith Long, whose parents were Jim and Pearl Bechtel)  dated March 5, 1970:

Those newcomers to the Valley who have been reading this column may have noticed Jim Bechtel mentioned quite frequently and perhaps may have wondered why.  He came to the Kern Valley on a hunting trip in 1917 and fell in love with its beautiful, picturesque scenery.  He also found most of the people to be the kind he would like to have as neighbors, so he sold his home and business in Chino, CA and subsequently moved to Old Kernville in 1918.  He opened a grocery store and garage in the “Old Christian” building, bucking the strongly entrenched A. Brown Company.

When Jim Bechtel moved to Old Kernville, the town was known as the A. Brown Company Town.  They owned at least half of the land in town and employed two-thirds of the inhabitants in their various enterprises.   Since this was the only store in town the residents had to buy from them.  With no competition their prices were high.  When payday rolled around, it took all of a worker’s paycheck to pay off their charged groceries and supplies for the past month.  Therefore, those with charge accounts with the A. Brown Company saw very little money in those days.

Everyone had to bake their own bread or biscuits as the A. Brown Company did not sell “bakers bread.”  So the enterprising Jim Bechtel had a huge box of bread delivered every day by the noon stage from the Javinie Bread Company in Los Angeles.  The townspeople would assemble on the old wooden-floored porch in front of the Old Store Building…sometimes an hour ahead of the stage arrival schedule…so they could be one of the first in line to buy a loaf of “bakers bread” when it was delivered.  The scheduled arrival time was noon, and those showing up later were often disappointed to discover the bread box already empty.  Obviously baker’s bread was a real treat in those days.

Jim Bechtel installed a motor to cool his walk-in refrigerator, and then arranged the motor so it would also turn the crank on a huge ice cream freezer.  This delicacy was served on two small tables in the front of his already crowded and growing grocery business.  The ice cream was made in the morning and packed.  By afternoon his ice cream customers were coming in for their dish, or two, or three, depending on the buyer’s appetite.  By evening the huge ice cream container had been emptied.  In the summertime the ice cream freezer would really work overtime. Many kids had never even seen ice cream cones before. They would work hard to earn a nickel so they could go to Jim’s store and buy this delicious treat.  The grownups would walk downtown in the cool of the summer evenings and enjoy their dish of ice cream while talking to their friends and neighbors…an enjoyable nightly routine.

(Editor’s note:  Edith Long, who was the Ghostwriter for these series of articles, was the daughter of Jim Bechtel.  Jim passed away in New Kernville in July, 1952.)

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By Al Price

I don’t think we realize just how many things we all know that are just packed away somewhere in our subconscious, and are ready to be pulled out at the last moment when we need them. For instance — the many proverbs and sayings we instinctively pull out when we need them, and there are a bunch of them.  As a writer, and/or editor, we always keep several books on the shelf above our typewriter (oops, —- now, near our “computer”), such as a dictionary, thesaurus, “Public Speaker’s Treasure Chest”, and other references, like the Random House “Dictionary of America’s Popular Proverbs and Sayings”.  When I hear a saying that I’ve never heard before, I try to look it up, or do a “search” on my computer.  I was looking something up the other day in my “Proverbs and Sayings” books, and I was amazed at all the sayings that most of us know, but never even think about until we need them.  For example, just in the “B” section:

  • Back to square one!
  • Back to the old drawing board.
  • Bad money after good.
  • Bad news travels fast.
  • A Bad penny always returns.
  • A Bad workman always blames his tools.
  • The Ball is now in your court.
  • Be careful what you wish for – you might get it.
  • Be nice to people on your way up, ‘cuz they will be the same people you’ll meet on the way down.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • Beauty is only skin deep.
  • Beggars can’t be choosers.
  • Behind every great man, there is a great woman.
  • Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.
  • The Best defense is a good offense.
  • Best things come in small packages.
  • The Best is yet to come.
  • The Best things in life are free.
  • The Best laid plans of mice and men.
  • Better to be a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in a big pond.
  • Better to be a live lamb than a dead lion.
  • Better late than never.
  • Better luck next time.
  • Better to give than to receive
  • Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
  • Between a rock and a hard place.
  • Between the Devil and the deep blue sea.
  • Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
  • Big Brother is watching.
  • Everything is Bigger in Texas.
  • The Bigger they are, the harder they fall.
  • A Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • Birds of a feather flock together.
  • The Blind leading the blind.
  • Blood is thicker than water.
  • Boys will be boys.
  • The British are coming.
  • The Buck stops here.
  • A Bull in a china shop.
  • Business as usual.
  • Business before pleasure.
  • Business is business.
  • But that’s the way we’ve always done it.

I’ll bet you knew just about every one of those sayings or phrases, and what each one of them meant!  See, you didn’t realize how smart you are — and that’s just in the “B” section! There are over 1,600 additional proverbs and sayings just in this one book, and I’ll bet you would recognize most of them!

One of my favorites is Mark Twain’s —– “Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t read.”  You can go anywhere in the world, and do anything, just by reading!  Here’s to some great adventures for you, and soon!


Membership Application

Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

Havilah Historical Society and Museum

6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518

(Fiscal Year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023)

$25.00 Annual Dues for an individual or a family membership, or $35.00 if newsletter is snail-mailed (a family is 2 adults for voting purposes).  This will entitle members to receive notices via the monthly newsletter, The Havilah Herald, of meetings, functions and events.

Name ____________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address___________________________________________________________


Deliver newsletter (check one) by email__________ or by snail-mail__________

Date application submitted___________________________________________

Please mail application to   Havilah Historical Society

6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road

Havilah, CA 93518

President –                               Roy Fluhart

Vice President –                      Larry Grafius

Secretary –                               Vicki Porter

Treasurer –                               Jayne Hotchkiss-Price

Directors:                                Lana Grafius

Wes Kutzner

Immediate Past President       Jayne Hotchkiss-Price

Newsletter Editor –                 Janet Kutzner


Our Website:

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Annual membership is $25.00 per individual or family when monthly newsletter is emailed.  If newsletter is snail-mailed the membership fee is $35.00 TO OFFSET THE ADDITIONAL COSTS OF MAILING LABELS, STAMPS, PAPER, ENVELOPES, AND PRINTER INK (NOT TO COUNT ALL THE ADDITIONAL TIME INVOLVED, THEN THE MAILING!)  The membership year is normally from January 1 to December 31.  The Courthouse Museum and Schoolhouse are usually open from April 1 through Sep. 30 on weekends from 11 am until 3 pm, and by appointment.  We are located at 6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518.  Admission to the museum is FREE, but donations are cheerfully accepted (and 100% tax-deductible!).  The monthly general meeting is normally at 3 pm the second Saturday of each month at the Havilah Schoolhouse.

It’s that time of year again when we’re reminded that not only is it the continuing efforts of our officers and friends of the Havilah Historical Society that keep us going….but financially, too!  Won’t you please open your wallets or dust off the ole’ checkbook and help us out!  Our piddlin’ $25.00 annual fee is still the same (if you receive your newsletter by email); however, due to the high cost of postage and ink, we ask that you donate $35.00 if you rely on snail-mail.   Below is an application form for your convenience.



Membership Application to the Havilah Historical Society

(Choose membership type, print a copy, enclose your gold dust, and send it to the address below, under Membership Renewal)

  •          Annual membership, and newsletter by e-mail $25/yr (Jan – Dec), or
  •          Annual membership, and newsletter by snail-mail $35/yr  (ink, paper, envelope, stamps & time)

(Membership subject to approval by the Board of Directors of the Havilah Historical Society a.k.a. The Havilah Centennial Group, Inc., and consists of an INDIVIDUAL ADULT OR TWO ADULT FAMILY MEMBERS, LIVING AT THE SAME ADDRESS. (The only one we Grandfather is our Grandfather!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Date submitted ______________

Name(s) ___________________________________________________________________________

E-mail address: ___________________________________________________________________

Regular mail address: ____________________________________________________________

Amount Enclosed _____________________________________

We are an authorized 501 C 3, non-taxable, non-profit, recognized under both State and Federal regulations. ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE!


(Just be able to walk over hot coals, barefooted, while singing the Star-Spangled Banner, in Gaelic!)

Membership Renewal:

Havilah Centennial Group, Inc.

Havilah Historical Society & Museum

P.O. Box 3, Caliente, CA  93518-0003  Fiscal Year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31

$25 Annual Dues for an Individual or a Family Membership (a family is 2 adults for voting purposes), will entitle members to receive notices via monthly newsletter, The Havilah Herald, of meetings, functions, and events. $35 Annually if you require the monthly newsletter by “snail-mail”.


Mailing Address_______________________________________________________________


Deliver newsletter (check one) by email______ or by snail-mail______  (Membership $25.00 plus $10.00 for snail-mail newsletters and bulletins. Postage, envelopes, paper, etc., AIN’T FREE. Total snail-mail membership $35.00 / yr.)

Date Renewal Submitted___________________________________


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Membership year is from January 1 to December 31.

The Courthouse Museum and Schoolhouse are open from April 1 through Sep. 30 on weekends from 11 am until 3 pm, and by appointment.  They are located at 6789 Caliente-Bodfish Road, Havilah, CA 93518.  TEMPORARILY CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS! — BUT WE STILL TAKE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS !

Admission to the museum is FREE, but donations are cheerfully accepted, (and 100% tax-deductible!).

The monthly regular meetings are at 3 pm the second Saturday of each month at the Havilah Schoolhouse.



P.O. Box 3

Caliente, CA 93518 – 0003