Occidental is a small Northern California mountain town founded in 1876.Â The cafe I sketched there, Howardâ€™s Station Cafe, is named after William â€œDutch Billâ€ Howard, who supposedly was not really Dutch, nor was his name William Howard. According to the restaurantâ€™s website, â€œHe was in fact, a Danish sailor named Christopher Thornassen Folkmann, born in 1823. Folkmann was serving as an able bodied seaman on the U.S. Ship St. Mary, which dropped anchor in San Francisco Bay in 1849.â€
Howard granted the North Pacific Coast Railroad right-of-way across his land to connect the nearby town of Cazadero to Sausalito on the San Francisco Bay. In return, he received a lifetime railway pass and the station was named after him.
The Howard Station Cafe serves delicious organic breakfasts and lunches. On weekends, there is always a wait to get a table so come early (before 9am)â€”or late (after 1pm).
This sketch has been published in theÂ Press Democrat online editionÂ and in the Dec 21, 2013 edition of the Towns section of the PD.