Solomon Jewett - Established the County's First Bank
One of Bakersfield’s first business magnates, Solomon Jewett made his first
fortune supplying wool for Union army uniforms in the Civil War. A descendant
of the founders of the Plymouth Colony, Jewett was born in Vermont in 1835
on his family’s sheep ranch. In 1861, he and his younger brother, Philo,
headed west to Colorado to mine for gold. On the way they learned that the
opportun-ities were not good in the gold fields, and they decided to continue
on to California, walking the entire distance of more than 2,000 miles.
On arrival, Solomon went to work on a large sheep ranch. After about a year
Solomon and Philo began a sheep ranch of their own near the future town of
Bakersfield. They were among the earliest settlers, and their ranch was one of
the first in the region.

The ranch prospered, and Solomon diversified into other businesses, opening a store in Bakersfield
at the corner of 19th Street and Chester. In 1874 he opened the first bank in the county, the Kern
Valley Bank.

1899 Solomon sold his sheep and turned to raising cattle. He began farming alfalfa and other crops
on more than 1,000 acres of land. In the 1870’s he discovered oil and created his own oil company,
which later traded in oil and asphalt. He was also the first to pave a street in Bakersfield, which
created demand for more paving and a market for his asphalt and paving company.

Established as a major local business leader, Solomon became active in civic affairs as well. He served
on the Kern County board of supervisors and was a member of the Masons and the Elks societies.
Jewett died in Bakersfield in 1905 and was buried in Union Cemetery space 72-5.