Keene (formerly, Wells) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kern County, California in the foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains at the southern extreme of the San Joaquin Valley. Keene is located 8.5 miles (14 km) northwest of Tehachapi, at an elevation of 2,602 feet (793 m). The population was 431 at the 2010 census, up from 339 at the 2000 census.
The headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW), a national farmworkers organization organized and led by Cesar Chavez, is located in Keene, and is sometimes referred to as "Nuestra Señora Reina de La Paz" ("Our Lady Queen of Peace").
Keene is located in the greater Tehachapi area.
Keene is located at 35°13′25″N 118°33′44″W.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25 km2), over 99% of it land.
Keene is categorized as being within the 8b USDA hardiness zone, meaning temperatures can get as low as 15 to 20 °F.
The Keene post office opened in 1879, closed in 1881, and re-opened in 1885. Keene was founded in 1876 with the name Wells as a railroad town. The name Wells honored Madison P. Wells, a local rancher. The town was renamed Keene in honor of James P. Keene, a financier.
The UFW moved its national headquarters to Keene from Delano, California.