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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bakersfield in Kern County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Francisco Garces

1738 – 1781

 

—Spanish Franciscan —

 
Francisco Garces Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, January 8, 2012
1. Francisco Garces Marker
Inscription. Padre Garces seeking a new route between Sonora, Mexico and Monterey crossed Rio de San Felipe (Kern River May 7, 1776) at Rancheria San Miguel now Bakersfield. First recorded white man in this locality, he brought Christianity to the Indian and on Rio Colorado his brave life was crowned with martyrdom.
“Greater love hath no
man than this – That a man
lay down his life for his friends.”

 
Erected 1939. (Marker Number 277.)
 
Location. 35° 23.22′ N, 119° 1.13′ W. Marker is in Bakersfield, California, in Kern County. Marker is at the intersection of North Chester Avenue and Golden State Highway (California Route 204), in the median on North Chester Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bakersfield CA 93301, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Railroad Scale House and Telephone Booth (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Barn (approx. 0.4 miles away); Santa Fe Caboose #1323 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Southern Pacific Engine #2914 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Southern Pacific Railroad Jail
Francisco Garces Statue Dedication Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kelly J. Hobbs, February 27, 2006
2. Francisco Garces Statue Dedication Marker
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Bena Depot (approx. 0.4 miles away); Kern City French Bakery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Pinkney House (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bakersfield.
 
More about this marker. The statue is eligible for inclusion in the National Register as an object of art under Criterion C, at the local level of significance. In a 1993 study of the statue, it was found that three of Palo-Kangas' Bakersfield works survive, and that "the City of Bakersfield, consequently, preserves the single largest collection of heroically scaled sculptures executed during the 1930s and 1940s by Uno John Palo-Kangas.(sic)" The Garces Circle statue is the earliest, largest, best-known, and most prominently displayed of Palo-Kangas' local work, and the only one of the three that can truly be considered "heroic" size, rather than life-size. A fourth work also still exists at the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield, a bust of Col. Thomas Baker, completed as a study for the seated limestone work located on the steps of the Bakersfield City Hall.
 
Regarding Francisco Garces. The statue of Francisco Garces was
Francisco Garces Monument image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, January 8, 2012
3. Francisco Garces Monument
sculpted by a regionally significant Depression-era and WPA sculptor John Palo-Kangas in 1939. The figure of Garces is over 16 feet tall and the statue as a whole, with its inscribed and illustrated base, stands over 22 feet tall. The statue was constructed from a single 24-ton block of limestone. The stylized Moderne sculpture portrayed the standing, robed missionary-explorer. The statue's base includes inscriptions, artwork, and the sandstone State Registered Historic Landmark #277 dedication plaque.
In its original location, the Garces statue was prominently placed, with minimal landscaping, at the center of the traffic circle. It instantly became a highly visible symbol at the city’s northern gateway. The statue stood at the center of the traffic circle until 1956, when it was moved a hundred feet south to its present location at the southern edge of the circle. This was to make way for the new Golden State Highway (US Route 99 Overpass), now North Chester Undercrossing. The statue is visible to traffic approaching the circle on North Chester Avenue from the south. Views from the north are largely blocked by the overpass structure. The circle has always been surrounded by commercial development, primarily automotive services.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study
Francisco Garces Monument image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, January 8, 2012
4. Francisco Garces Monument
each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .  Waymarking Post of Marker and Monument. (Submitted on August 25, 2010.)
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.ExplorationNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers
 
Francisco Garces 1738 – 1781 Statue image. Click for full size.
By Kelly J. Hobbs
5. Francisco Garces 1738 – 1781 Statue
Francisco Garces Monument image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, January 8, 2012
6. Francisco Garces Monument
Francisco Garces Monument image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, January 8, 2012
7. Francisco Garces Monument
J. Palo - Kangas -1939 image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, January 8, 2012
8. J. Palo - Kangas -1939
Francisco Garces Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, January 8, 2012
9. Francisco Garces Marker
Francisco Garces 1738 – 1781 Statue image. Click for full size.
By Kelly J. Hobbs, February 27, 2006
10. Francisco Garces 1738 – 1781 Statue
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 23, 2010, by Kelly J. Hobbs of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 1,331 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on January 15, 2012, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California.   2. submitted on August 23, 2010, by Kelly J. Hobbs of Fresno, California.   3, 4. submitted on January 15, 2012, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California.   5. submitted on August 23, 2010, by Kelly J. Hobbs of Fresno, California.   6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 10, 2012, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California.   10. submitted on August 23, 2010, by Kelly J. Hobbs of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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