Biographies of Architects, Designers, and Builders

William O. Breyfogle (1837-1906)

William O. Breyfogle was born in Delaware County, Ohio, in 1837. After completing his education in common schools, he became a carpenter and went to work in Kansas City in 1856. In 1857 he traveled to Denver and joined a prospecting company. The following year he ventured to California. For a time he mined and built mining camps in Auburn. He then spent about a year exploring Northern California and Oregon.

Breyfogle took a position in 1860 with the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad Company and built bridges for two years. He then engaged in contracting and building on his own in San Francisco until 1869, when he moved to San Jose. There he followed the same trade until 1878, when he became Superintendent of Streets. He resigned that position in 1881 to move to Madera.

In Madera, Breyfogle managed and superintended the yards and factory for the Madera Flume and Trading Company. He became a prominent citizen in that community and helped incorporate the Bank of Madera in 1889. Although he became president of the bank in 1891, he appears to have kept his hand in building and practical architecture, as represented by this simple plan for a small jail building at Raymond, California. William O. Breyfogle died on December 24, 1906, in Alameda County.

© 2001 John Edward Powell. All rights reserved.