George Henry Lotzgesell was one of the first pioneers to establish a homestead in the Dungeness Valley, (with “a group of Indians” according to the Port Angeles Daily news) – of which our farm is a five acre portion. Verbal historic records list both 1859 and 1864 as the homestead settlement date. Historic documents are difficult to read, but the certificate of ownership from President Andrew Johnson appears to have been recorded on June 18th, 1876.
The Lotzgesell family owned the property for decades, and after clearing the land of timber, eventually began dairy and cattle farming. In addition to farming, George Henry Lotzgesell was a prominent member of the Dungeness and Sequim communities, serving as justice of the peace and later, county commissioner. When George passed away in 1907, he split his homestead land between his sons Frank and George. In 1913, both sons built dairy barns within a mile of each other on opposite sides of Cays Road (the dividing line that split the original homestead). George Lotzgesell’s dairy barn is still standing off Lotzgesell road, operating continuously as a dairy farm and (popular as the Milkey Dairy as recently as the 1990s).
Frank also became one of the most successful dairy farmers in Clallam County, presumably using his 1913 barn (now our barn) to aid in that success. In 1920, Frank Lotzgesell sold a 40+ acre parcel of the original homestead to his daughter Bessie and her husband Frank Knopf, of which our farm is a portion. The Knopfs then sold the parcel in 1924 to Emerson Boone and Violet Cameron, who farmed on the land until they sold it in 1942. Several farmers have owned the property over the years, and it eventually was subdivided into two short plated parcels at some point in the 60s, with the historic barn on one lot and the majority of the land on the other. One of the lots in our current parcel was purchased by a man named John Lavender in 1969, who used the barn to store hay; we have been assured by friends of his that he would be delighted to know there is now a lavender farm on his property. The properties changed hands a few more times and eventually both short-plated parcels were reunited and sold to us in 2004.
Our parcel is just a small portion of the original Lotzgesell homestead, but fortunately the land has escaped extensive development, and has been farmed almost continuously since it was originally settled by the Lotzgesells in 1864. The barn was assessed in 1926, but tax valuation records and the construction of the barn indicates it was built in 1913, by Frank Lotzgesell. This means the barn is one of the oldest barns still standing in the Dungeness Valley, and an incredibly important piece of the Lotzgesell homestead farm history.
The Frank Lotzgesell barn is a beautiful, sturdy structure that has served the farm and withstood the elements for over 100 years. It is a testament to the hardworking people of the Sequim-Dungeness valley, and the dairy farms that put this region on the map. Now an integral part of our working lavender farm, our barn is a bridge between old and new Sequim: a symbol of the preservation of rural farmland through lavender farming and agritourism.