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Monday, February 6, 2023

Historic house burnt to ashes in a sudden fire

Far View House, a historic home near Marysville, was badly burned in a fire last week.

According to Cal Fire’s Captain Jacob Gilliam, at 12:54 a.m. on Monday, September 27, Cal Fire responded to the house, which was completely engulfed in flames. Butte Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, Foothills Volunteer Fire and Loma Rica departments also responded. Despite all the efforts, the house completely burnt down.

“When firefighters responded, the house was completely engulfed in flames,” Gilliam said.

Cal Fire controlled the cause of the fire as accidental, whether due to an electrical problem or cigarette butts that were burning outside. The fire spread to the vegetation covering 1/8th of the house and was quickly brought under control.

In 1936, Harry and Faith Drobish established Far View Ranch Camp on the land, which continued as a summer camp under the ownership and direction of four generations, according to an email from Walt Schaefer associated with the historic home camp and school. Stayed. As of 2016, thousands of children in Northern California and across the country, as well as the Caribbean, Sarajevo and Europe, are over 80 years old.

“While I was teaching at UC Davis, my family and I were involved in the camp and school between 1970 and 1975. The second generation camp owners, Chuck and Joy Palmerly, were close family friends. My family moved to Chico where I taught at Chico State from 1975 to 2004,” Schaefer said. Schaefer is an emeritus professor of sociology at Chico State.

The house was built on 1,000 acres purchased by Harry and Faith Drobish in 1921. Harry Drobish was an agriculture graduate from UC Davis and Faith Drobish was a graduate of UC Berkeley.

According to an email from Schaefer, between 1948 and 1950, Harry Drobysh served one term as state senator and lost for a second term, largely because of opposition to the Chico Enterprise-record, against San Drobish’s legislation. A law allowing construction camps and margarine companies to add yellow paint to farm labor due to sponsorship, which the ER opposed.

Before he died, Faith Drobish wrote a comprehensive decade-by-decade history of the farm during the 1980s, which is housed in the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library. The documents of Harry Drobysh as a senator are also located there.

According to Schaefer, the 50-acre portion of the farm where the burnt house is located is no longer owned by the Drobish-Palmerley family. It was recently used as a quiet stay facility for veterans. However, the family still owns the remaining 900 acres, on which cattle still graze, owned by the Faculty of Agriculture in Chico State.

Far View Ranch was an overnight working camp. Generations of campers aged six to 16 participated in the two-week camp, which ran from 1936 to 2019. Campers are engaged in work, horse riding, pottery, sports, martial arts, swing on a swing, and kayaking, to name a few activities. .

Ruth Palmerly lived in the house with her husband for seven years. Between 1972 and 1980, the camp also had a small one-year alternative residential primary/secondary school, attended mainly by former campers. Twenty-five horses as well as other animals lived in the farm.

The children slept in cabins on the property with screen windows. “

The place was funky,” Palmerly said. “People were careful all the time.”

Some children and grandchildren of famous people attended the camp, including CK McClatchy’s children or grandchildren, Ansel Adams, Barbara Boxer, Timothy Leary, Art Hope, Edward Taylor and Mark Hopkins of the Hopkins Hotel.

Palmerly’s grandparents once owned the house. Palmerly, part of the third generation of camp owners and operators, ran the camp with her husband, Peter Lee, and was involved in drama productions at home.

This included the production of “The Diary of Anne Frank”, which was performed during a major storm in 1975. “It was a very theatrical production,” Schaefer said. Palmerly is a retired theater professor at Chico State.

Palmerley is mourning the loss of the home.

“I grew up there, it’s a part of who I am,” she said. “It’s a loss of soul and heart rather than just a building.”

Palmerly said the intention of the farm was to be as non-fancy as possible.

“We didn’t try to make it a clever place,” Palmerly said. “We wanted it to be a farm.”

Campers were not allowed electronic devices and had to write actual letters on paper if they wanted to communicate with friends or family at home.

Campers signed up for work and made bread and were responsible for milking the cows, pasteurizing the milk, making ice cream, and picking blackberries.

“Working made him feel important to the community,” Palmerly said. Palmerly said that after the camper returned home after two weeks, he actually asked his parents if they could work.

“They wanted to be proactive and had responsibilities,” Palmerly said.

Palmerly’s nephew ran the camp at one point. Some campers later became employees, such as kitchen workers.

There was a shadow of happiness in the house too. After the fire broke out, Palmerley went to the fireplace, which was still standing. He brushed off the ashes on the stove. His grandfather had made the stove by hand.

“I will keep it in my memory,” she said.

Palmerly’s brother John Palmerly and his wife Robin Sechko were counselors in the camp. They had known each other as children, got married and ran the camp for many years. When they stayed, Ruth Palmerly ran it with her husband, Pete Lee.

Her brother David ran it for three years.

Ruth Palmerly had a dream right after the house burned down, where she passed the house, and people were cooking and playing music. He saw the people who had died, and the spirits were celebrating there.

“It was like waking up,” she said. “It’s a celebration of living well. It was a wonderful dream.”

World Nation News Desk
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