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.

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 learned the traditional skills necessary to stabilize the Williams Ranch Barn:

  • Repair and replace siding:  50%
  • Repair rafters and collar ties:  20%
  • Reconstruct gates:  30%

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.

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!