Originally, the Shafter Cemetery was created as a private cemetery to meet the needs of the Shafter and the Wasco communities. It was started by the local mortician H.R. Janzen of Shafter in 1923 with its first burial being made on December 29, 1923.
In 1928, a local government agency was created to take over the private cemetery under the California Enabling Act 546, also known as, “The Act to Provide for Public Cemetery Districts”. This 1909 enabling act and other organizational and government acts that followed; allowed the district to be formed and operate. The Kern County Cemetery was the first public cemetery in Kern County to be formally created by vote of the Shafter and the Wasco residents. A second cemetery was opened for the Wasco community to meet the needs of the Wasco families. This was done by an action of the Board of Trustees in 1948.
Each cemetery was created to fulfill the need of their community for the burial of their loved ones. TheTrustee's and employees have and continue to strive to fulfill that capacity to the best if their ability under the state and local laws that govern it. The district works to create a peaceful and friendly atmosphere to help local families in need during a difficult time of loss of a loved one.
As a local government agency formed as a Public Cemetery District certain laws affect the Kern County Cemetery District. Both cemeteries, by law, can only bury residents or taxpayers who live within the district boundaries. The law also allows for the interment of eligible nonresidents if certain criteria is met. The district is not allowed by law to sell grave markers.
The cemeteries offer complete burial services for casketed and cremation burials. Our services include both single and double burial options for our families. Cremation services may be either in the ground or above ground depending on the choices families may make. The District strives to make the interments affordable to our public and remain very competitive in its pricing.
The cemetery offers preneed burial arrangements. If a family chooses to prepay burial needs, the cemetery offers contracts with no interest and will lock in what the contract includes at the contract price. Which means that any contract taken out and paid for will guarantee the price of the burial even if prices increase over time.
Each year both cemeteries work with local service organizations to have a Memorial Day event to remember the military service personnel who gave of their time and lives to give us the freedoms that we hold dear as individuals and as a community.