Terry Shirley, the Idyllwild Historic Preservation District’s newest Local Review Board member.
Photo by Holly Parsons

Imperial Valley native Terry Shirley has cherished memories of childhood visits to his aunt and uncle’s cabin near Strawberry Creek. His fondest memory is of riding a horse into town. Shirley attended San Diego State University, majoring in political science and minoring in business. Professionally, he excelled at Internet marketing in San Diego in the early years of e-commerce.

The Shirleys became full-time residents in October 2017 and embraced a piece of history with their home choice. Macktecklewood is a street in Idyllwild named for three historic families who remained friends for 50 years. When the Shirleys met Saunders Meadow Home Owners Association Historian Connie Pillsbury, “we learned her grandfather Ellwood Jones was one of three original families. The families spent summers hiking and fishing while staying in meager accommodation on the meadow,” said Shirley.

In 1950, the U.S. Forest Service notified the group that the Saunders Meadow tract was for sale with a stipulation that each of the original fishing shacks built in 1924 required a minimum upgrade investment of $2,000. These early families bought in, invited friends to invest, built the original water system, and together, developed the area with a golf course, tennis courts and a recreation center. The area behind Astro Camp was home to the original golf course.

“It was Pillsbury who encouraged me to become active with the [Idyllwild Historic Preservation District],” Shirley continued. “My interest in Idyllwild’s local history originated in my childhood and my interest in community stems from my volunteer work in San Diego where I was involved with parks and various programs at San Diego State University.

“I find it easier and more gratifying to get things done on a community level versus city, state or national levels because communities have a great impact on quality of life, and community funding has the ability to generate greater impact through equal distribution.” Shirley added, “You learn how things work and apply them at the community level and amazing things can happen!”