Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2022
Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2022

Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2022

Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2022

HistoriCorps projects offer volunteers the opportunity to see places and experience things most people never imagined of! This project, located in an off-the-beaten-path area of California, will spark curiosity and inspiration for those who travel far enough.

PROJECT PARTNER: Bureau of Land Management



CREW LEADER: Amelia Best

Project Site Description & History

Williams Ranch Barn is located in rural Lassen County, CA, originally inhabited by the Achomawi, also known as the Pit River Tribe. The geology of the region is diverse, containing  high deserts, snowy mountain peaks, and green valleys along with exciting volcanic activity in nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park. Our project neighbors the Modoc National Forest and lies roughly an hour southwest of the beautiful South Warner Wilderness, home to the picturesque Warren Peak. During the late 1800s, Williams Ranch was a modern success story, earning the nearby town of Madeline the title of “the sheep shipping capitol of the world.” The other major industry that gave Madeline its reputation was the establishment of the Nevada-California-Oregon (NC&O) Railway, which transported livestock from Williams Ranch and other operations to far-away markets.

Today, the only buildings still standing are the ranch barn, corral, and loading chute. The barn is eligible for a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. However, the ranch is at risk of being considered a liability due to the structural deterioration of its buildings. HistoriCorps knows that by stabilizing and preserving historic buildings, they turn from liabilities into assets – and often, our work reinvigorates interest in places previously thought to be “lost to time!” If the building is preserved, it can contribute to far-reaching positive outcomes. One exciting plan outlined in the BLM’s “Recreation Plan” for the Williams Ranch site is to improve environmental education opportunities for area schoolchildren. However, if the ranch buildings are in disrepair, they are less likely to contribute to a safe learning environment.

 In 2020, HistoriCorps volunteers restored the building’s metal roof and stabilized interior posts. We are thrilled to return this summer to stabilize the building and brace it for the next generation of visitors.

Location and Logistics

SESSION DATES:  June 19-24. Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 5pm and no later than 7pm on the first day of your session.


ACCESS:    Tent camping only

Tents, campervans, and truck campers can access our campground. Portable and/or vault toilets will be available onsite.

WEATHER:  Anticipate highs in the mid 70s and lows in the upper 30s. Weather conditions may be rainy, cloudy, or sunny. Volunteers are responsible for checking weather conditions before their session begins, and packing appropriately.

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work gloves, clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Scope of Work


HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers will learn the skills necessary to rehabilitate the Williams Ranch Barn. This project is considered more difficult due to stabilizing the structure while working at an altitude of 5,300 feet.

  • Excavate footings (20%)
  • Install footing plates (20%)
  • Fit and notch juniper poles (30%)
  • Install juniper pole braces (30%)
Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact volunteer@historicorps.org for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • HistoriCorps is committed to keeping our volunteers, staff, and project communities safe. All volunteers will be required to affirm that they will be fully vaccinated from the Covid-19 virus by the time their project begins. Read our Covid protocols here (updated October 2021).
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, work gloves, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email volunteer@historicorps.org for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Hard hats, eye protection, ear protection, gloves are standard personal protection equipment (PPE) required on all projects. Hard hats must be worn at all times on the project site, unless working in a designated safe space. Field staff will train volunteers on correct use of PPE.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.