Here are some Taft and Kern County facts. The Yokut Indians found the asphalt pit and used the asphalt to seal the bottom of their straw baskets. They even trade the asphalt to other tribes. In 1863 the first area settlers found the pit and the oil industry began. In 1910 a gusher blew and could not be capped. It gushed oil at the rate of 90,000 barrels a day for 544 days. (18 months) until it clogged itself closed. That is more oil spilled than in the 2009 Gulf oil spill or the Exxon Valdez spill! By 1920 the were 7,000 oil rigs in and around Taft.