Clarence Barton Alford b.1914-d.1988

Clarence Barton “Bart” Alford was born in Los Angeles in 1914, and attended high school at Bakersfield High, graduating in 1933 (AIA Membership File for CB Barton). After a stint at the Bakersfield Junior College, Alford matriculated at University of Southern California, Los Angeles and received his Bachelor of Arts in 1939 (AIA Membership File for CB Barton). Alford’s first job was under the father of Bakersfield architecture, Charles H. Biggar, as a draftsman (AIA Membership File for CB Barton). World War II interrupted his career for a year. After 1943, Alford concluded his professional training as a draftsman with R. H. Cooley of Oakland, who was a structural engineer (AIA Membership File for CB Barton). In 1945, Alford and W. J. Thomas hung their shingle out as an architectural firm in Bakersfield, and a couple years later Alford applied for and received membership to the American Institute of Architects, Southern California Chapter (AIA Membership File for CB Barton). In 1977, he and other Bakersfield architects formed their own chapter within the organization, AIA, Golden Empire Chapter (AIA Membership File for CB Barton).  

Alford, like many other Bakersfield mid-century architects, can have his work examined pre- and post-1952 Bakersfield earthquake, when a veritable embarrassment of contract riches reigned up on the local talent coincided with the post-war building boom and the entrance of the baby boomers into the school system. The first mention of Alford in the trade journal of Architect and Engineer came in 1948, with the mention of the completion of plans for the Castro Lane Grammar School in Bakersfield by Charles H. Biggar, C. B. Alford, and W. J. Thomas (Architect and Engineer, Volume 174, page 44, 1948). Later that year, Alford and Thomas were awarded the contract for the Di Giorgio Grammar School of Bakersfield (Architect and Engineer, Volume 175, page 30, 1948). The firm was also stretching outside of Kern County, with the securement of the contract for the construction of the Porterville library a year later (Architect and Engineer, Volume 148, page 48, 1949). Other notable contracts prior to 1952 include: Alfred Harrell High School building in Oildale in 1950 (Architect and Engineer, Volume 183, page 37, 1950), an addition to East Bakersfield High School in 1951 (Architect and Engineer, Volume 184, page 44, 1951), and a low-income housing project in Wasco the same year (Architect and Engineer, Volume 184, page 46, 1951).  

The firm of Alford and Thomas immediately benefited from the 1952 earthquake with the awarding of a contract from the Kern County Board of Supervisors to assess damage and needed repairs to the Kern County General Hospital (Architect and Engineer, Volume 192, page 46, 1953). Related to this contract, Alford and Thomas were awarded a contract for work on the Kern County General Hospital complex and structures later in the year (Architect and Engineer, Volume 195, page 44, 1953). More contracts for schools came to the firm in the 1950s in Bakersfield and Wasco in particular, as well as more contract work for the Kern General Hospital. They also designed the Wasco Veterans Memorial Building in the 1950s.  

Alford and Thomas Architectural Blueprints at HRC 

  • Kern General Hospital Rehab Service Wing, 1953 
  • Kern General Hospital Rehab Service Building, 1953 
  • Wasco Veterans Memorial Building, Wasco, 1952 and 1957  
  • Lamont County Building, Lamont, 1952