Click the date range for photos
John and Mary Lorang were able to preserve photographs of their parents, immigrants from Germany to Wisconsin. We found that John's photography from 1898 was interesting, but faded. We have done what we could to improve the photos and have used later photos to illustrate the early story. In Feb. 1884, John Lorang & Mary Gesellchen were married. 2 weeks later they boarded an emmigrant train with 9 friends. Traveling by train, steamship and wagon, they ended up homesteading in Genesee, Idaho; finding a beautiful new homestead with a bay window, built by a shipbuilder. Here their first 4 children were raised. All boys. John began planting and grafting trees.
Here John began photographing the agricultural life. In 1890, John and his older brother Theodore combined efforts to build a barn, purchase horses and cows, and buy more land. John added the old c.1873 farmhouse from this new adjoining property to his own 1884 homestead to create extra living space. The next 6 children were born. 5 girls and 1 boy for a total of 10 children. John called them a "matched set" 5 boys and 5 girls.
In 1904, in order to create room for ten children, the c.1873 additions were moved like blocks, the 1884 homestead was turned so the bay window would face the road and a new addition was built, creating a rural Folk Victorian farmhouse which left the earlier homes intact. Many photos were taken of the rearranged and newly built home. John created a two-story farmhome with upper and lower balconies, all in a Folk Victorian style, with Queen Anne details and left a journal to tell the story. He also began taking photographs of the town of Genesee as well as agricultural photos.
In 1910, John and Mary Lorang made a 6 month trip to Europe and the Middle East, taking over 300 artistic photographs. Each of them journaled their view of these travels. Upon arriving home in Genesee, John decided to build his own aqueduct, fountain, grow limbs to create chairs, grow and carve his own canes and open his own Museum. The farmhouse was featured in the 1914 Latah County Atlas. In 1918 John's son, Henry Lorang, documented his service in WWI England and upon returning married his sweetheart Marguerite Tobin. In 1924, John preserved his neighbors hand hewn log cabin and rebuilt it log by log on this site. Creativity and photography filled the years as John continued to photograph until he passed away in 1926.
After John passed and Mary Lorang moved to Spokane, their son Henry took over the farm. The photos were not as abundant, but Henry was able to document this era extremely well. Henry and his wife Marguerite suffered through the Great Depression with 12 children. Jim Lorang was learning about photography and tooks some excellent photographs. Three of their boys Bob, Jim and John, entered WWII, two returning.
Henry's son, Dan Lorang took several beautiful photos of his high school days. In 1948 he enter the service right out of highschool and served on the Valley Forge and later in Guam, again taking photos. In 1965 married Janet Shollenberger in 1965 and a third generation grew up in the Farmhouse. Dan Lorang and his new wife Janet found this historical farmhouse quite a lot to deal with. Henry had passed away in 1968, leaving all of the photographs, journals and letters in his room. Dan, Janet and their 2 sons worked to preserve what they could, raising and reroofing the 1878 Log cabin; measuring and documenting the woodshed, blacksmith shop and cellar, which were half gone. In 1984, Janet and Dan built their own home on the property, making it exactly 100 years that the Historical Farmhouse had been lived in. Dan recorded as many memories as possible, taking some photographs of his own and convinced Martha Lorang, Henry's sister, to write a delightful journal in 1985. In 1998, Dan Lorang passed away, leaving all preserved items and his own very detailed notes about the historical blacksmith shop, cellar, woodshed and trees that had to be taken down. Dan journaled his own life in Genesee and in the service.
In 2003 Janet Lorang gave permission to turn the site into a Non-profit Museum and restoration began. White Spring Ranch became a National Historical site in Jan. 2004. In 2003, Diane Conroy took a sample bag of items found in the cabins: an 1918 "History of Idaho", a medicinal mortar and pestle, a first edition Tarzan book and a fossil rock to the WSU campus and carried it to each related department. Professors were amazed and Diane realized that the help of students would be incredibly important. Since 2004, University of Idaho, Washington State University students and Genesee School students have worked to help archive over 160 years of journals, letters, books, magazines, newspapers and papers and to maintain the site.
In 2003 John Lorang, grandson of Charles, stabilized the 1904 porch roof. For the next 17 years, John and other family members met each year to continue to restore the Farmhouse, Log Cabin, Curio cabin, Barn and Fountain. Some veterans of the restoration are Henry Hank Lorang, John Lorang, Joseph Weston, Dave and son Randy Hoffman, Michael Schoenberg and wife JoAnn Fromm, Robert Sargent and Roch Lorang. Many others contributed over the years to work with matching grants provided by Idaho Heritage Trust. The work continues with the help of Idaho Heritage Trust, Idaho Humanities Council, Idaho State Historical Society, Idaho Community Foundation, Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, J&K Albertson's Foundation, Latah County Community Foundation, Genesee Schools and the Board and Members of Non-profit White Spring Ranch Museum/Archive Library.
Since 2011, White Spring Ranch has held an annual Ice Cream Social, then a Harvest Festival, thanks to Idaho Humanities Council, Latah County Arts & Culture and Genesee Recreation District grants. Spring Teas and Christmas Open House were also added. And always OPEN during Genesee Community Days. Recently, two events have combined into one for our annual "Little House, Pioneer Day" and Ice Cream Social the first week of September. Entry is by donation. July is reserved for annual Reunions and an Auction to help the family stay connected as they always have been. Our next "Little House Day, Pioneer Day" is Sept 5, 2020. It will be a simple socially distanced event. You are very welcome.
White Spring Ranch
1004 Lorang Road
Genesee, Idaho 83832
Open Sundays and Tuesdays 1:00 PM-Sunset and also by appointment
Copyright © 2019 White Spring Ranch