The Historic Greenline Tour in Oroville
By Melissa Mendonca
There’s a green line that runs through the city of Oroville, and those who follow it can expect a day of fun and exploration that introduces them to some of the city’s most significant natural and historical attractions. Literally painted in the meridian of the street, the 15-mile Greenline begins with an introduction to the recreational activities along the Feather River and ends with a stunning panoramic view of the Oroville Dam. In between, visitors can better understand the rugged obstacles of the area’s pioneers or witness the real-time struggles and triumphs of salmon making their way home at the Feather River Fish Hatchery. Let’s go green!
Segment 1: Where the River Bends
Set the tone for your journey by taking in the beauty of the Feather River. Enter a regal archway welcoming you through the area at Riverbend Park, where you can enjoy a peaceful view of the water. If you prefer to be a little more active, enjoy the disc golf course, boat, kayak and canoe launches, dog area, swimming and fishing areas and bike and skate park at Bedrock Park, right nearby.
Segment 2: Historic Downtown
Your first stop here will be the CF Lott Home in Sank Park, where the 1856 Victorian Gothic revival-style home welcomes you through a garden of roses, flowering bushes and stunning mature trees to experience the lives of Oroville Families from 1849 to 1910.
The Oroville Chinese Temple, Tapestry Hall and Garden offers a unique look into the Chinese community in the area. The temple, built in 1863 to serve the needs of a group 10,000 strong, includes areas of worship for Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The Tapestry Hall showcases embroidered tapestries, parade parasols and rare shadow puppets from the Oroville Chinese Opera Theatre. The Chinese Garden serves as a memorial to the area’s Chinese families as well as a meditation area for anyone wishing to reflect. Filled with plants originating in China, the garden is one of the few of its kind open to the public in the United States.
Also unique is Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum, where Bud and Laila Bolt have assembled an exhaustive collection of more than 5,000 tools. Each item was manufactured before or during World War II and is categorized from kitchen to tractor tools and everything in between. www.boltsantiquetools.com
When you’re ready for a break, enjoy a picnic or bring take-out from a downtown eatery to Centennial Plaza, on the bank of the Feather River right downtown. Here artistic metal salmon dance on pillars to create a whimsical river experience.
Keep up on event happenings or get more detailed information about the area at the Chamber of Commerce.
The Ehmann Home is considered “The House that Olives Built.” The Colonial Revival style home was built by Freda Ehmann, “Mother of the California Ripe Olive Industry” and her son, Edwin, in 1911. It now houses the Butte County Historical Society Museum and its unique exhibits, including Ishi’s jail cell door and detailed doll houses.
Oroville’s State Theatre is a hub of the city’s performing arts, offering presentations of theater, dance, comedy and music in a grand 1928 building designed by Timothy L. Plueger and J.R. Miller, who also designed San Francisco’s Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building.
Visitors to the Butte County Pioneer Museum may be shocked that the building, a 1932 replica of a 49er cabin covered with rock quarried from the winter quarters of the Toto tribe, extends to 6,000 square feet of exhibits. See a doll from the Donner Party, a Dunham and Sons piano that survived a trip around the Horn, and an extensive collection of Native American baskets and arrowheads, among many other items representative of the area’s pioneer history.
Segment 3: Greenline Bridge
A stunning trail along the Feather River, the Feather River Nature Center and Native Plant Park is also home to a 1930s-era WPA bath house that has been converted into the Bath House Museum, an area for environmental education.
Special viewing windows allow visitors to see the athletic feats of salmon and steelhead climbing the ladders of the Feather River Fish Hatchery and Diversion Dam during the spring and fall spawning runs. Built in 1967, the facility can accommodate 9,000 adult salmon and 2,000 adult steelhead. Twenty million eggs can be incubated and 9.6 million fingerlings can be grown in eight concrete raceways.
Segment 4: Lake Oroville
The Greenline Tour ends at Lake Oroville, created by the country’s tallest earthen-filled dam. Take a leisurely walk across Oroville Dam or cast a line in what Bassmaster Magazine has ranked a best bass fishing spot in California.
The Lake Oroville Visitor’s Center offers a 47-foot viewing tower that brings into perspective the lake, mountains, bridges and valley areas. Information abounds about recreational opportunities and the State Water Project, which has a special exhibit. Visitors may set out on a short self-guided nature trail here or pick up trail maps for more extensive excursions developed for hikers and horseback riders. A theater allows for viewing upon request of more than 40 educational videos about water, parks and nature. •
Oroville’s Greenline Tour