OLE BULL STATE PARK
Ole Bull State Park consists of 132 acres along the Kettle Creek Valley in Potter County. This area is called the Black Forest because of its once dense tree cover, mountainous terrain and wilderness habitat.
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 now 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. A complete history of Ole Bull is available at the park office.
The lumbering industry followed Ole Bull into this 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.
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.
For more information on the CCC, visit the Civilian Conservation Corps Online Archive.
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.
Ole Bull Cabin: This one and one-half story log cabin can be rented year-round. Rental information can be obtained at the park office. The cabin has a modern kitchen and bath and sleeps 10 people. Pets are prohibited. The cabin has an accessible bathroom and an access ramp.
Camping: modern sites, some with electricity
Camping is permitted year-round. Two camping areas along Kettle Creek provide sunny and shaded sites. All sites include a picnic table, fire ring and level gravel pad. There are 24 sites with electric hookups in Area 2. Area 1 has 21 sites with electricity. Water hydrants, modern restrooms and a sanitary dump station are available. Pets are not permitted in the campground.
The beach is in Camping Area 1 across from the picnic area. The 150-foot sandy beach along Kettle Creek is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Parking for the beach area is provided at the picnic area parking lot. Pets are not permitted in the beach area. All children ten years of age or younger must be accompanied by a person at least 14 years of age.