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History of Ole Bull State Park

Ole Bull State Park is named for Ole Bornemann Bull, the famous Norwegian violinist who toured the United States in the 1850s.

In 1852, Ole Bull purchased a large tract of land in Potter County and attempted to develop a series of Norwegian settlements.

He began construction of a “home” at what now is called Ole Bull Vista. He never finished this large, wooden cabin. After a year of severe hardships, the majority of the colony disbanded and moved west into Michigan and Wisconsin.

The lumbering industry followed Ole Bull into the area. By the turn of the 20th century, two railroads, one on each side of Kettle Creek, were hauling logs to sawmills in the Cross Fork area.

By 1920, the commonwealth purchased vast tracts of land no longer useful to the lumber companies.

In 1925, Ole Bull State Park was opened as a picnic area on a one-half acre tract of cleared land.

In 2002, the 150th anniversary of the founding of Ole Bull's colony, a monument was erected to honor Ole Bull. The monument was a gift from the citizens of Norway in recognition of Ole Bull's talent, foresight, and patriotism.

Civilian Conservation Corps 

A green, circular United States Civilian Conservation Corps logo with trees 

Formed in the 1930s to alleviate the severity of the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the original dam for the swimming area and constructed facilities like latrines, pavilions, and camping areas.