The Historic Olsen Barn has been an icon for many visiting Lake Almanor and Chester, California
Tour the Olsen Barn
Feather River Land Trust has taken on the task of saving the Olsen Barn and the 107 acres it sits on. How many times have you driven past the barn and wished to see the inside of the Olsen Barn?
The Feather River Land Trust will be offering a tour of the field and the Olsen Barn on March 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm.
Meet at the Collins Trail on the west side of the Lake Almanor Causeway at 1:00 pm. Bring your camera and binoculars for bird watching.
Feather River Land Trust staff will lead you on a tour of the property and barn. You will learn about some of the history of the barn as well as what is needed for the land trust to buy this property. The goals they have to enhance the recreational opportunities on the property.
First steps in saving Olsen Barn
The Feather River Land Trust has been approved 400,000 from the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. This is from Prop. 50 monies the county has available.
To keep the $400,000 and move forward with purchasing the Olsen Barn property FRLT needs to raise $65,000 by April 10, 2015. Once that goal is reached another $300,000 needs to be raised by September 26 to purchase the property plus additional amounts will be necessary for acquisition expenses and management. FRLT is accepting donations online if you would like to help with this endeavor. If the FRLT is unable to raise the 65,000 they will lose the $400,000 and the property will go back on the market.
History of the Olsen Barn
The barn that is standing is the only remaining barn of three barns Peter Olsen built in the 1860’s. Peter Olsen immigrated from Norway in the early 1840’s to New York. He made his way to the Oregon Territory, then onto Chester where be began cattle ranching in 1859. Peter Olsen then went into dairying as many of the local ranchers did.
The Olsen Barn is not only a historical icon, but also an architectural masterpiece of the time. It is built with massive hand-hewed timbers and held together with hand carved wooden pegs. It has definitely stood the test of time. There are not many barns left that have the craftsmanship of this early method of construction.
Significance of the Olsen Barn Property
The Olsen Barn sits on 107 acres of meadow, riparian forest and wetland adjacent to Lake Almanor at the eastern edge of Chester, California. The barn stand as a reminder of times past and welcomes you into Chester.
This property has a high ecological value, especially for birds. The property is part of Audubon designated Important Bird Area. It supports the 2nd largest concentration of the endangered Willow Flycatcher in the Sierra Region. A breeding pair of Greater Sandhill Crane make it home, and many more during migration. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded here. The Olsen barn currently supports a breeding pair of Barn Owl. This is also a favorite spot for spotting Bald Eagles and Osprey.
The property is an important haven for wildlife habitat. Also offers wonderful opportunities for nature based recreation activities and outdoor learning.
Cultural Value of the Olsen Barn Property
This property, along with the greater Chester Meadow, is of cultural significance to the Maidu people and is the last remaining piece of Big Meadow that supported a high density of Madiu’s prior to western colonization of the area. The barn itself is a treasured landmark of the town of Chester. The barn is one of the few remaining structures dating back to the original settlers of Chester.
How can you help save the Olsen Barn
Now is your opportunity to save the Olsen Barn and the property it sits on for the next generation to enjoy. Any gifts can be sent to FRLT, P.O. Box 1826, Quincy, Ca 95971 or you can donate online. You can visit then FRLT website for more information on Olsen Barn and the efforts to save the barn. If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas regarding saving the barn please give Ryan Burnett a call at 530-258-2869.
If you are able to donate $1,000 or more to this first $65,000 you or your group will receive special recognition as the Olsen Barn entrepreneurs.
Information for this post was provided by Marilyn Quiadro, author of Big Meadows and Lake Almanor the book is available online or at Books and Beyond in Chester. The Feather River Land Trust also provided details of the property.
More information on the early years of Big Meadows and Chester can be found at the Chester Museum. Watch for updates on History Month in May. Lots of fun seminars, presentations and extended museum hours during the month will occur.