Beverly McDougal

Bev McDougal

Beverly McDougal and her late husband Earl (Mac) moved to Fallbrook with their children in 1960. “We chose Fallbrook because it was a cute little country town and we thought it would be good for the kids to grow up away from the city where they could raise animals,” she explained.  Mac opened a real estate office and Bev taught clothing, food and Palomar College classes at Fallbrook High School.

The children were active in the 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America and showed sheep. Bev helped with the annual Fallbrook High School Youth Fair, which serves as a kind of dress rehearsal for showing livestock at the Del Mar Fair. “We were busy from the beginning,” she said. She served on the board of the Hospital Auxiliary and is a charter member of her church, Sonrise Christian Fellowship, where she served as Deacon and Sunday School teacher, and continues with committee activities.

Bev retired from teaching in 1983 but she was not ready for a rocking chair. She had a dream for her next career. While teaching, Bev helped her Home Economics students cater real parties for the experience. The events were often held in halls and meeting rooms and she noted the lack of a party/wedding venue in town.  She and Mac had a 15 acre piece of undeveloped land just off South Mission and Bev thought it could become that venue. Most people she spoke with thought it was a crazy idea but Mac backed her up and neighbors Jack Story and Dode Martin and their wives decided to go into the project with the McDougal’s for the first couple of years. That was the start of the Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens, one of the most elegant places in Fallbrook. Mac operated heavy equipment to clear the grounds and sculpted a heart-shaped lake. Everyone assumed the design concept would be Spanish but Bev convinced them that a romantic Victorian theme for the mansion would better serve the lovely weddings and parties she imagined. The town supported the venture. In the decades since, Grand Tradition has been a resounding success, a major local employer and a magnet to bring visitors and their hospitality dollars to Fallbrook. Today, Grand Tradition is expertly managed by Mac and Bev’s son Don.

Grand Tradition opening day with staff and owners Jack & Shirley Story,
Muggins & Dode Martin (center), Earl and Bev McDougal behind Jack & Shirley Story

It was a lucky day when Bev joined the Fallbrook Historical Society in 1990. Because of her long history in Fallbrook, she knows almost everyone in town, and she knows something about the story of almost every item in the Museum. When no one else knows the answer to a question, Bev does. No job is too big or too small for her. If a major project needs a manager or if a closet needs to be cleaned out, Bev will give her best to any task. “I try to be there when something needs to be done,” she said. She managed to pull the permits for the construction of the Donald J. Rivers Interpretive Center, “The Barn.”  She has been a board member, docent coordinator, project manager and fountain of knowledge. “I don’t want the Historical Society to be the best kept secret in Fallbrook. We have a marvelous little town and I want people to experience the greatness.”