Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2021: Phase II
Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2021: Phase II

Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2021: Phase II

Williams Ranch Barn, CA 2021: Phase II

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.

Help HistoriCorps turn the next page in this building’s history by doing the work necessary to preserve it! Register below.

PROJECT PARTNER: Bureau of Land Management

SESSION DATES: April 25-30 and May 2-7

Project Site Description & History

Lassen County, CA is geologically diverse. When traveling through it, visitors can see everything from the high desert to snowy mountain peaks and green valleys, along with exciting volcanic activity in nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park. Our project at historic Williams Ranch Barn is located near a mountain range above the expansive Madeline Plains.

In 2020, volunteers restored the building’s metal roof and stabilized interior posts. We are thrilled to return in the spring of 2021 to continue our work here!

During the late 1800s, Williams Ranch was wonderfully successful, and operations there earned the nearby town of Madeline the title of “sheep shipping capitol of the world.” The other major industry that gave Madeline this title 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 that remain 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.

Our partner, the BLM, expects visitorship in the ranch area to rise, especially from people who enjoy birdwatching, hiking, and off-road exploring.

Help be a part of the future of Lassen County and Williams Ranch – register to save this place today!

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER: Applegate Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management

SESSION DATES: April 25-30 and May 2-7

Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 5pm and no later than 7pm on the first day of your session.


SITE INFORMATION: Site is RV/trailer accessible Tent camping only

LOCATION: We will be camping at a shady, oasis-like campsite on Dry Creek Road, just 15 minutes from the ranch. Our campsite will be accessible to small RVs and tent campers, although there will not be hookups and the ground may not be perfectly level.

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

Above: Williams Ranch Barn pre-HistoriCorps volunteers’ work. Williams Ranch is rich with prehistoric archaeological artifacts. You can help archaeologists by leaving any artifacts you find “in situ,” or untouched, so scientists can better understand the history of the site.

Above: Volunteers restoring the barn’s roof in 2020. The landscape views were great from up high!

The roof is nearly done! Volunteers worked hard despite the cold conditions and early sunsets to finish the barn’s roof. Their work was so inspiring, HistoriCorps was invited back for a second phase of preservation work in 2021!

Williams Ranch Barn is located in the geologically diverse Lassen County, CA. Not far from the ranch, volunteers can find lush, mountainous scenes like this one from Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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 traditional skills necessary to stabilize the Williams Ranch Barn:

  • Repair and replace siding:  50%
  • Repair rafters and collar ties:  20%
  • Reconstruct gates:  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:

  • Review our COVID protocols here
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.