Every Memorial Day weekend, descendants of John and Mary Lorang restore and maintain property their ancestors bought almost 140 years ago northwest of Genesee.

Since 2004, the work parties at White Spring Ranch, a museum and archive library on Lorang Road just off U.S. Highway 95, have consisted of restoration projects like reroofing, repainting and rebuilding a porch.

This weekend’s work party, which started Saturday and wraps up today, included general maintenance like cutting the lawn and clearing the roof and gutters.

Diane Conroy, the museum’s curator, said the 19th century house is holding up very well.

While Memorial Day weekend is the traditional time the structures on the property are maintained, the Lorang descendants sometimes return to work on the property at other times during the year, too.

Conroy said she expected seven volunteers to help out this weekend. John and Mary Lorang were Conroy’s great-grandparents.

Nathan Lorang, 21, of the Seattle area, said he has been returning to work at his great-great-grandparents’ property since he was 10.

“It’s beautiful. I love it,” Nathan Lorang said of why he comes back every year.

He said he is a history buff and he has not made a dent in the museum’s archives.

“I could spend a whole week here looking through photos and I’d still have another week’s worth of photos to look through,” Lorang said.

He said Conroy has done an incredible job documenting and sorting files, photos and journals.

“To be a part of it is really special, so I like to take advantage of every opportunity that I have to be here because it really gives me a chance to get away,” Lorang said. “I’m able to make a difference in helping my family. I feel like it’s just the right thing to do.”

Lorang said one of the most important projects his family completed at the ranch was rebuilding the porch. He said the roof was on the verge of collapsing on the rotten porch.

Nathan Lorang’s brother, Adam Lorang, 24, also made the trek from the west side to help out on the property.

Adam Lorang told fascinating stories of John Lorang, like how he had a pet black bear and that he created the stone fountain at White Spring Ranch.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Adam Lorang said of being on his great-great-grandfather’s land.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

Recommended for you