Taft, California

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Taft (formerly Moron, Moro, and Siding Number Two)[2] is a city in the foothills at the extreme southwestern edge of the San Joaquin Valley, in Kern County, California. Taft is located 30 miles (48 km) west-southwest of Bakersfield,[2] at an elevation of 955 feet (291 m).[1] The Taft area is home to 18,000 residents and numerous companies.




  • White Non-Hispanic (79.1%)
  • Hispanic (15.5%)
  • Other race (10.4%)
  • Black (2.0%)
  • Two or more races (1.9%)
  • American Indian (1.5%)

(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)


The town began as Siding Number Two on the Sunset Railroad.[2] The businesses there were called Moro.[2] Moro was changed to Moron to avoid confusion with Morro Bay.[2] The name was changed to Taft in honor of William Howard Taft.[2]

Taft and oil

Taft is situated in a major petroleum and natural gas production region in California and is one of the few remaining towns in the United States which exist exclusively because of nearby oil reserves. The discovery of oil in the region occurred in the late 19th century near Maricopa, seven miles (11 km) south of Taft. Many other oil and gas accumulations were discovered around Taft during the early-to-mid-20th century, notably the Midway field (near Fellows, California), Sunset field (later found to be part of the same trend, accounting for the modern combined name of Midway-Sunset), and the Buena Vista. The town is built directly between these two huge fields. The The operational activities within these fields, as well as Occidental Petroleum's Elk Hills Oil Field north of Taft, have been the economic life blood of the town for over 100 years.

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