History Hero: Nolan Darnell

Nolan Darnell has worn several hats – US Marine, Seargent in the Oakland California Police Department — eventually running their mounted unit — western history expert, and collector of vintage farm equipment. But his work as a Draft Horse & Mule Teamster has earned him national recognition. For more than three decades he has driven the large animals bred to pull heavy loads. Hauling hay, plowing fields, pulling wagons in parades.  He has organized wagon trains; large wagon pulls with the Ringling Brothers Circus, been a part of the Rose Bowl Parade and the Grass Valley Draft Horse Classic 

We first met him as wagon master taking a group out on parts of the old Lassen Trail in Northern California. But his love is to teach the next generations about this important part of our past. He worries not enough young people are getting involved with draft horses and mules. He has been invaluable as we develop the Saving Americana project — his guidance, passion and knowledge is second to none. To date, he has been a big part in developing six different videos for us. Here’s a look at his historic roadbuilding equipment in “The Work Horses.”



Nolan Darnell Video’s on Saving Americana

The Big Hitch

The Work Horses

Old School Farming

Lassen Wagon Train

Hunting the Old Pioneer Trails 




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“History Heroes” are profiles of people young and old we meet along the way sharing their love of the past.

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