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.