In 1969, when Tim Leefeldt was just a boy, he took a train ride from Oakland to Promonotory Point, Utah, to witness a re-enactment of the “Driving of the Golden Spike,” an event honoring the centennial of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was a trip he remembers fondly as having honored his late great-grandfather, who had been a railroad executive in the 19th century. Fast-forward to present day, and Leefeldt’s nostalgia for the industrial age continues to inspire his work as a craftsman and architect.
California’s two-lane Highway 99 beams north from Sacramento connecting a string of farm towns between the fertile Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills.
This is where orchards of walnuts, olives, and kiwis grow, and where grass runs feathery green in the spring. Leave the highway heading east, and you’ll see the ground buckle skyward in a tableau of flat-topped hills called buttes. Between them, water gleams in ponds fed by mountain streams.
Ninety miles from Sacramento is the town of Chico–86,000 residents strong and home to a state university, the Sierra Nevada Brewery, and the National Yo-Yo Museum. Soth of town, Durham-Pentz Road ribbons eastward into Butte Valley. Turn left on an old ranch road, cross a creek and you come to Tim Leefeldt’s place, a two story home…