Friday, January 1, 2010
Day 1- Kearney Boulevard
I want to start off my 31 Days of Fresno with something that has been one of my favorite things since I was a kid. I freakin' love Kearney Boulevard. As a little girl, it seemed to be the epitome of being a Californian, what says sunshine and glamor more than a street entirely lined with majestic palms? We'd drive to my Great Grandmother's house (now my home) and I'd stare up at these perfectly spaced glamazons, interspersed with oleander and eucalyptus and I knew I was cool. Just real cool.
Kearney Boulevard leads up to Kearney Park from Downtown Fresno, and for about 20 Miles it dots the Fresno skyline with palms until it hits Kerman. Sure its on the West Side, bit I'm on the West Side, too. West side doesn't mean the same thing to me as it does to most Fresnans.
When I learned about M. Theo Kearney and the history behind my favorite street in Fresno, I was drawn in by the romance and glamor of having a REAL socialite, someone who went to only the best spas in Europe and hung out with only the social elite. He saw Fresno as a remarkable place for agriculture and did everything he could (and he was filtystinkinrich, he could do a lot) to make Fresno the capital of agriculture. He was the Prince of Fresno. And he had a Dreamy McDreamerson beard. Slap me with an aristocratic happy stick.
Kearney wasn't just a hunk with a lot of money, though. He was smart too- Smartagious even. Starting from scratch, his main ingredient for wealth was in Raisins. And he didn't stop there- hHe wanted this place that he had decided to live to be the best place to live- especially if you're into agriculture. He left his entire estate to the University of California to benefit agricultural education. Badass.
I'm bummed that Chateau Fresno never was realized. The Mansion is great, but how awesome would that place have been? I almost wonder how Fresno would be different if it had been built? That, my friends is World Class.
I know it goes through a part of town that most people won't even go near, and it has quite a reputation with some of the sites along the way (Running Horse, the whole effing West Side... My house) but its a pretty cool drive on a sunny day, and if you have nothing to do, its nice to put on some community-supported radio, roll the windows down and just drive the whole stretch.
I love you, Kearney Boulevard!
(Photo credit goes to me and my car, driving down Kearney this afternoon. You know you're amazed at my skillzzzzzz. Oh man, I should win like, photographer of the DECADE.)