Above the bar at Pioneertown’s “Pappy and Harriet’s” is a picture reminding patrons of last year’s deadly Sawtooth Fire.
The town is known for its Hollywood western movie sets next to the historic restaurant. Both barely survived in the fire.
But residents don’t need a photo to remember the tragedy especially the man who stood behind the lens that day.
“I took one photo and I boogied back over here because I knew [the fire] was headed here.”
Terry Flannagan stayed with his ranch and his animals when the town evacuated.
“I had some fire training with both the Navy and the US Forest Service. So when I saw what was going on, I said maybe we can deal with this thing.”
The former cowboy and stock car racer saved what he could but eventually left as many residents feared their historic town might be dead.
There are still so many visible signs one year later that the life of much of the hi desert is gone. But as for the residents of Pioneertown there spirits are still alive and they are quickly rebuilding.
And that rebuilding process began back at “Pappy and Harriet’s.”
After finding some damage at the restaurant, Flannagan and his wife got to work.
“We came in here the following Sunday after the fire and we this sun of a gun out.”
All the salvageable items had to be cleared for construction. And for seven months Terry and his wife carol lived in a trailer while they worked with crews to rebuild.
It took patience but now a year later in their new home, the Flannagans say it was a living room at “Pappy and Harriet’s” that helped get them through
“‘Save Pappy and Harriets! Save pappy and harriets!’ That’s all we could say. It’s old. It has history, it means a lot for everybody.”