Alfred Harrell was born in Merced County, California on November 10th, 1863. He became a school teacher after finishing his education in Oakland, California, and moved to Kern county in 1882. At the age of twenty-three, Harrell served as the superintendent of schools and helped construct the first high school in the area: Kern County High School (renamed Bakersfield High School in 1945).
Harrell purchased The Daily Californian in 1907 for $1000. In the early years of his ownership of the paper, Harrell served many functions: reporter, advertising salesman, and bookkeeper. While running the newspaper, Harrell played a significant role in the development of Bakersfield and California by supporting the sale of bonds during the U.S.’s involvement in the First and Second World Wars. Additionally, Harrell supported the Central Valley Project which provided water for California’s residents and businesses. For all of Harrell’s hard work supporting California and Kern county, he was awarded the American Legion Award in 1938 and has a street named after him.
Alfred Harrell passed away on December 14th, 1946. He once said, “I had no training of the newspaper work either in the production or business end of such an institution.” Though not educated in the field through which he affected his community, Harrell’s contributions to both the paper and Bakersfield were immense. His dedication to Kern county and its institutions helped the region thrive and helped fuel the growth of Bakersfield and the surrounding area.