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Quinta Fay

Articles: Quinta Fay

A Pan herm playing flutes graces an ornate brick facade in the main courtyard of Quinta Fay. Author’s photographs, except as noted

Fay Truitt McBride wanted to live to be a hundred. At the time of her death in 1999, she had surpassed that goal by three months. Much as she seemed able to will its length, Fay willed the fullness and distinctive character of her life. She was a highly creative, energetic woman who did not let up until she had put her touch on every aspect of her environment. Testament to that vitality is Quinta Fay, the lovely Spanish Colonial Revival home she built for her family in Gustine, California.

Fay was born in 1899 in Coalinga, California, where her parents had moved to be part of the oil boom in the area at that time. Her father was a wildcatter and, apparently, quite a character, as was probably common among men drawn to a lifestyle of extreme hard work for the uncertain promise of great wealth. Because of her father’s mercurial tendencies, the family moved a lot. As a teenager, she was sent to live with an aunt in Gustine, about a hundred miles north, so that she might enjoy a mo...

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