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A view of the Olsen Barn sitting on its new footings after the concrete pour is complete, providing a secure foundation. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Olsen Barn stabilization underway

A crew pours concrete into the new footings, which include reinforcing steel to stabilize the structure. The barn is then bolted securely to its modern foundation. Photo submitted

The Olsen Barn has been an iconic landmark in the Chester Meadows for over 120 years. The barn has endured heavy accumulations of snow, floods, fires, wind, storms and earthquakes.

The barn was extremely well built in the late 1800s, but exposure to the elements has taken its toll.

Since acquiring the property, Feather River Land Trust has been taking deliberate steps to ensure that the stabilization and restoration of the magnificent structure is done in such a way that preserves the unique character of the barn.

With the help of Greg Lopez Construction Inc. of Lake Almanor, the crumbling concrete foundation is being removed and replaced with a new foundation. This time there will be reinforcing steel in the concrete and the barn will be bolted securely to a modern foundation.

Due to the large size of the barn the foundation must be established in numerous stages; temporary shoring is installed to support the structure until the new concrete has cured. The first concrete was poured on Sept. 14.

Additional concrete will be poured after the north and south walls have been temporarily supported, leveled and adjusted. Shortly after the south foundation has been completed, the crew will replace sheets of metal roofing that have blown off of the roof in past storms.

Next, the crew will replace the southern fascia and remove and replace siding on the gable end of the barn. These improvements will help to keep rain and snow from degrading the condition of the sugar pine shingles, lodge pole pine rafters and the hewn timbers that support the barn. If all goes as planned, this work will be completed before December.

Future projects planned for the property including the installation of water infrastructure for fire suppression and improving the public parking area along Highway 36, including the installation of an entrance structure.

FRLT could not be doing this important work without incredible support from local residents, fans of the Olsen Barn and from local businesses including Builders Supply, White Cap Redi Mix, Greg Lopez Construction, Oak Knoll Engineering and Collins Pine.

Donations from the 2016 “Raising the Barn” campaign are providing the funds necessary for these projects. Thanks goes out to everyone in the community who contributed to this effort.

For more information on the campaign to restore the Olsen Barn, contact Project Manager Nils Lunder or Development Director Karen Kleven at 283-5758 or check out Feather River Land Trust’s website: frlt.org/olsenbarnmanagement.

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