Tehachapi Pass became the preferred route connecting the Mojave and the San Joaquin Valley after John C. Fremont and Kit Carson passed this way during the 2nd Fremont Expedition in 1844. Situated at the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Pass provided a reliable way to enter and leave the San Joaquin Valley during the winter.
In 1853, while surveying the area for the U.S. Government, Lt. R.S. Williamson learned from the Indian villagers the name of the principal creek that flowed west through the pass. They called it, Tah-ee-chay-pah. Soon settlers began to arrive and prospectors discovered gold in the nearby streams. By 1869, the town of Williamsburg or Tehichipa had emerged in the Golden Hills, five miles to the east.
On July 10, 1876, the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in the Tehachapi Valley, and a new town was established beside the line on August 13, 1909. The settlement was incorporated as the City of Tehachapi, which for a hundred years has served as a commercial center for miners, farmers, ranches and travelers. Today Tehachapi leads the country in wind turbine generation technology.