FAIRVIEW’S JOHN MCNALLY
Americans are known throughout the world as a kind of nomadic people; they are always on the move. But contrary to this widely accepted belief, there are a few who recognize that it is sufficient to attend to the divinity around them and the revere it sincerely.
One such person was John McNally who came to the Kern River Valley in the early 1930’s and proceeded to carve little bit of history out of a largely unknown piece of real estate called Fairview on the Kern. Taking over Fairview from his father in the early 1940’s, Johnny started the steakhouse that would, in future years, become famous for finer steak dinners. But Johnny wasn’t always a resort owner. While most men are satisfied to succeed in a single field or endeavor, Johnny’s life has been colorful and challenging in several areas. Besides farming and ranching, he contributed five years to the Southern California Edison Company, did a stretch as a logger for Mt. Whitney Lumber Company, and worked on the Lake Isabella Dam until its completion. When Johnny retired from the resort business, he chose one more occupation that would come to know him. He became the only deputy sheriff in the remote 1000 square miles of Southeast Tulare County.
Without office or staff, and the only jain facility two hours away by mountain roads, Johnny was truly an officer alone. Night calls by the hundreds required him to face and solve all problems by himself. But much of the work for which Johnny’s name has become widespread involved the search and rescue of lost hunters and hikers. Leading trackers and search parties, he combed rugged mountains and deserts surrounding his headquarters at Fairview. His finely tuned instincts, used over the years fro tracking deer and cattle, almost guaranteed the find of a lost person. A broken twig, crushed pine needles, or any small hint would tell him that life was near by. On foot, horseback, jeep or snowmobile, Johnny’s determination was more than a match for the thick and desolate timber country that, in the past, contained so many of his fellow men.
Numerous stories can be told of the challenges that faced John McNally during the seventeen dedicated years he served Tulare County. Not unlike the frontier days of the old west, his reputation followed his small town type of policing wherever his 6 foot 4 inch frame carried him. Although under different ownership, Fairview will continue to bear the name of Johnny McNally as no less than a tribute to a man; a man who came to the Kern River to love it and to live.
And my oh my…….how he did indeed live!
Today, John McNally’s legacy continues to live on both in our community and through the people who have committed their lives to owning and operating this historical restaurant for generations to come.