Tehachapi ( /təhætʃəpi/; formerly Tehachapai, Tehachapa, Tehachepi, Tehachipi, and Summit Station) is a city incorporated in 1909 located in the Tehachapi Mountains between Bakersfield and Mojave in Kern County, California. Tehachapi is located 35 miles (56 km) east-southeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 3,970 feet (1,210 m). The area is known for the nearby Tehachapi Loop (a popular railfan site), Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm, The Indian Point Ostrich Ranch, proximity to Edwards Air Force Base, and excellent environment for gliding. Ten miles to the west at Keene, is the National Chavez Center, established to share the legacy of Cesar Chavez. A maximum security prison, the California Correctional Institution, also known as the Tehachapi State Prison, is in the area. The population was 14,414 at the 2010 census, up from 10,957 at the 2000 census.
The original SP railroad depot was the beginning of the downtown core. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and was the oldest building in downtown Tehachapi until it burned in June 2008. The building had been in the final stages of becoming a museum. It is since been rebuilt using the original plans with only minor modifications to meet modern building codes. The new depot was dedicated on June 5, 2010.
On July 21, 1952 Tehachapi was devastated by a magnitude 7.5 (Richter scale) earthquake (USGS, SCEC) on the little known White Wolf Fault.