‘Home Town’ hopefuls

Arbuckle resident Elijah Rodriguez created and submitted a video highlighting Arbuckle’s need for a makeover for HGTV’s upcoming series “Home Town Takeover.” 



In hopes of jumpstarting the longtime vision of many people in the community of Arbuckle, one resident has submitted a video and put Arbuckle in the running for HGTV’s upcoming series “Home Town Takeover.” 

Elijah Rodriguez, vice president of the Arbuckle Revitalization Committee, said he was just browsing Facebook when he saw a post outlining the contest and though, “Oh my gosh, that would be so fun! How awesome would it be for them to come here?”

As a member of the revitalization committee, Rodriguez and his fellow members have been working for years to breath some new life back into the main drag of Arbuckle. While the committee has already done a lot of work to spruce up the downtown area since forming in 2011, with additions like LaVanche Hurshe Park, their primary goal has been to restore the 144 year old train depot that sits just across the street. 

“This small town, once a booming stop along the railroad, still retains all of the charm you may expect in a little farming community but still seeks the effort needed to come back to life as it once was many years ago,” said Rodriguez in the video.

According to Rodriguez, the committee has already done much of the groundwork to get the depot project up and running but the costly repairs needed, which include moving the entire structure to a new foundation 35 feet away from its current location, have hauled further progress. 

“We have a lot of the behind the scenes work done but there has been no visual progress happening,” said Rodriguez. 

This project, Rodriguez said, was the driving force behind his video submission. 

According to the show’s website, HGTV is looking for a town of fewer than 40,000 people, homes with great architecture “longing to be revealed” and a main street that needs a facelift. Submissions, which were due Feb. 7, could include photos along with a video highlighting places in town in need of some care as well as comments from members of the community.

Rodriguez’s submission leads viewers on a historical journey from the early days of Arbuckle, fueled by the railroad, to the drastic changes brought on by the construction of Interstate 5 and the many people that have called this place home throughout the years. 

“It is very much a community that feels like one big family and that is very evident when there is a tragedy or somebody needs help or a celebration,” said Donna Green, Arbuckle resident and former teacher, in the video. 

Rodriguez said the video, which took him about two weeks to make, took on a life of its own through the production process, and led to him learning new things about the town he calls home.

According to Rodriguez, many local teachers have also shown the video to their classes to learn more about the history of Arbuckle. 

In addition to the depot, the video highlighted many of the old buildings that line Fifth Street. According to Rodriguez, many of these structures still have the original paint and much of the detailed architectural designs from when they were built that have been worn down throughout the years. 

“Arbuckle needs a facelift,” said Arbuckle resident Linda Masuhara in the video. “It needs someone to give it some tender, love and care with a facelift. It’s a great town that has amazing qualities about it but when you get off the freeway you may not see the architecture of the downtown area so I think it’s very misleading what kind of a town this is when you drive into town.” 

After submitting the video to HGTV, Rodriguez said he also uploaded it to Facebook and it has since been viewed more than 10,500 times.

“It’s crazy, the response it has gotten,” said Rodriguez of the countless likes, comments and shares on the video post. 

According to Rodriguez, a former resident of Colusa who now resides in Nevada, saw the post and reached out to him offering to roof the depot for free. 

“Much of what is done around here is done with volunteerism, the generosity of donors, businesses, individuals farming entities, children,” said Green. “If something is going on around town there’s this huge outpouring of interest, of support … There is just no end to the dedication of local people.”

While Rodriguez said he isn’t getting his hopes up that Arbuckle will be chosen, he said it would be exciting to see these projects come to fruition, especially since the depot is on it’s last legs.

“The dreams for the depot are big but time is running out,” said Rodriguez.

According to the HGTV website, video submissions are currently under review. 


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