North Kern Cemetery District, Delano
About North Kern Cemetery District, Delano
The Delano Cemetery was started in 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad, who was having financial problems and the railroad ended here while it was waiting for more money to continue its construction. The original cemetery was just south of the corner of 11th Avenue and Glenwood Street, next to the railroad tracks.
By 1873, Southern Pacific Railroad took over from Central Pacific and the necessary money was available to continue construction. According to Delano Historical Society records, Central Pacific had Chinese laborers stationed here. A cholera epidemic broke out and many of the Chinese laborers died and they were buried in a common grave.
In 1888, Southern Pacific deeded ten acres to the Delano community at the site of the present cemetery to be used as a cemetery. It is the Historical Society’s belief that August Borel was the first resident of Delano to be buried in this new cemetery. After the turn of the century, Southern Pacific decided to develop the West side of the main railroad line by developing side tracks for packing houses. Headstones and remains were moved and placed in the present cemetery. The San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed all of Southern Pacific’s records of those early days. We can only guess at the identity of those buried there, and we suppose that most of the remains were brought to the present site from the original cemetery. Southern Pacific did the best they could under the circumstances.
After Delano became a city in 1915, the city council operated the cemetery, and rates were charged for the burial rights. But, in most cases, friends and relatives of the deceased opened and closed the graves, and they were not too particular about where they dug.
After property became available, the city council purchased other parcels and continued to do so for several years.
The Delano Cemetery District was formed by petitioning the Kern County Board of Supervisors to establish the district by a clear majority of 1,385 signatures of the 2,558 registered voters on December 8, 1938. The supervisors voted to establish the district on December 29, 1938. The first District Supervisor, Roy Woollomes, appointed Jack Busch, Ernest Girard and A.J. Peterson as trustees. Ed Jacobson served as secretary to the board and W.O. Diahl was the superintendent. The first regular meeting of the board was held on March 9, 1939.