Taft’s past and its upcoming 100th birthday celebration were highlighted Saturday at a Kern County Historical Society luncheon.

Taft’s past and its upcoming 100th birthday celebration were highlighted Saturday at a Kern County Historical Society luncheon.


Taft historian and newspaper columnist Pete Gianopulos talked about the community’s past and the plans for the upcoming Diamond Jubilee Oildorado celebration after a chicken and tri-tip lunch at the Bakersfield Petroleum Club on the 12th floor of the Stockdale Tower in Bakersfield.


Gianopulos also threw in some of his personal history growing up in Taft in the Depression era.
He also made a brief presentation about Taft’s contribution to the world of music and showed two Dobro guitars made by the Dopyera brothers, Bob and Louis, who grew up in Taft.


(Louis’ daughter, Esther Livingston, owns the guitars Gianopulos showed at the luncheon. She also attended.)


Wearing his Oildorado shirt and seven Smooth Puss badges (dating back 50 years), he gave a brief history of the Oildorado celebration.


The first was held in 1930 and the second followed in 1935.


It was cancelled during the Second World War, then tried on an annual basis in 1946 and ’47.
It was too much work to hold such a large celebration annually, so it returned to every five years in 1950.


Gianopulos also talked about his personal history.


The son of Greek immigrants, his father came to Taft first in 1912 and later sent word back to Greece that he was ready for a wife.  A suitable mate was found and she came to America in 1923 to meet and marry her husband sight unseen.


They were first married by a justice of the peace, then held a formal wedding celebration at the  Harris Family Ranch on the corner of Harris and Stine Roads.
Gianopulos also talked of life in Taft as a child.


Taft was an active town with men working around the clock in the oilfields.


“There was always people downtown day or night,” he said.