The Alpha Blonde

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This article was written on 01 Jan 2010, and is filled under 31 days of Fresno, Fresno CA, kearney boulevard.

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.)

14 Comments

  1. Abe
    January 1, 2010

    Great start!

  2. Chris
    January 1, 2010

    I'm excited about this little adventure that's beginning here. I live in North Carolina and I'm probably going to be transplanted in Fresno very soon. I'm really looking forward to getting to know some prime spots of Fresno so that I'll have some places to check out. Thanks, and cheers to what's ahead.

    cd

  3. @davechilders
    January 1, 2010

    OK, now I am officially excited about this project! Great work Kim, I am going to really enjoy checking in everyday throughout January to see what else you come up with. What a great idea…

  4. josejo
    January 1, 2010

    Great idea Kim…You show those Fresno Naysayers!

  5. Jason Farris
    January 1, 2010

    excellant!!! I love this idea of yours Kim. Very interesting stuff as well. I have always wanted to know the story of Kearney Boulevard.

  6. daTempted1
    January 1, 2010

    All right random fatc for the day………my father was the foreman om the Kearney property fo a few years. My mother ran the boarding house and cooked meals for over 100 men 3x a day …….all while raising 9 kids!

  7. Bryan Harley
    January 1, 2010

    Good way to start it off! I think I'll drive down Kearney today.

  8. Captain Whiffle
    January 2, 2010

    Terrific beginning to what promises to be an interesting blog. I love driving down Kearney Boulevard, and I've always loved the art deco gateway where it branches off from Fresno Street.

    http://historicfresno.org/photo/keargate.htm

  9. Captain Whiffle
    January 2, 2010

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. 6p00e54ee89e6c8833
    January 4, 2010

    Yes, that would have been awesome if the Chateau Fresno got built. I've never seen a artist rendering of it before this post – very cool.

  11. Anna
    January 5, 2010

    Aaahhh Kearney Boulevard. Born and raised on the West Side, right near Chandler Airport. I saw that majestic stretch of palms everyday for 18 years. Brings back all sorts of memories. Thank you. Seriously.

  12. smokeybehr
    January 5, 2010

    I drive Kearney Blvd whenever I get a chance when I go between Fresno and Kerman. It's a nice soothing drive compared to the nightmare of Whitesbridge/SR180.

  13. Mallory
    January 13, 2010

    I have such happy memories of the Kearney Park area. We used to take Halloween pictures at the mansion, and I always loved the palm trees along Kearney Blvd.

  14. rjlight
    January 17, 2010

    Been trying to like Fresno, so this is good for me to read. Thanks!

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