The Historic Olsen Barn has been an icon for many visiting Lake Almanor and Chester, California
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.
Feather River Land Trust Works to Save the Olsen Barn
Feather River Land Trust has taken on the task of saving the Olsen Barn and the 107 acres it sits on.
Earlier this year the Feather River Land Trust took on the task of raising funds to purchase the 107 acre piece of property on the edge of Chester. One of the goals of the FRLT is to enhance the recreational opportunities on this property.
The first hurdle of raising 65,000 by April 10th has been met. As of June 8th individual donations have totlaed 132,054. The next deadline is to raise an additional 723,946 by Sept. 26th. Please read more to see how you can help in saving the Olsen Barn.
Tour the Olsen Barn
How many times have you driven past the barn and wished to see the inside of the Olsen Barn?
If you have always wanted to see the inside of the Olsen Barn, there are two opportunities early this summer.
The first will be on June 27 from 11 a.m. to noon, as part of the FRLT membership appreciation day for present members and donors, or for those who wish to make a donation to the Olsen Barn campaign.”
To take part in the tour and picnic on June 27th please call 530-283-5758 or register online at frlt.org. Pre-registration is required for the tour on June 27th.
June 27th is also Art Around the Lake, as part of the Art Around the Lake event both Sally Posner and Sally Yost will be ” Artisits in Action” at the Olsen Barn.
Art Around the Lake will be open 9 am – 4pm. Tickets for the event are 10.00 dollars. Please visit the website for Art Around the Lake for more information.
Another tour is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on July 5. Pre- registration is not required for the July 5th tour.
Mark you calendars for at least one of these dates. Take time to learn about the Olsen Barn, possibly see the Barn Owls that make their home in the barn. Learn first hand about what the Feather River Land Trust plans to do with this property into the future.
Collins Family Matching Gift Campaign
Make a donation between May 24th and July 11, 2015 and the Collins Family has generously offered to match up to $60,000 to support the conservation of the Olsen Barn Property. Make your donation worth more and get your donation into the Feather River Land Trust before July 11th.
Special Offer From Jan Carmichael Davies
OLSEN BARN SPECIAL: Jan will be offering special Olsen barn prints (appropriately overpriced, LoL) with all profits going to the Olsen Barn property acquisition fundraiser. The donation amount will DOUBLE with the Collins Family matching donation offer good through July 11. Visit Jan Davies Photography for more details. See frlt.orgfor more about this. Or Feather River Land Trust on Facebook.
More Ways to Donate
Checks- make out to FRLT and mail to FRLT, P.O. Box 1826, Quincy, CA 95971 or take to Chester Plumas Bank.
Online- Go to FRLT’s donation page and under donation type choose Olsen Barn Campaign.
Stock or Mutual Fund donation- Call Karen at 530-283-5758. It’s easy to make a stock donation and it’s especially beneficial if you have appreciated stock.