A tale of the Methodist Church

Susanville’s Methodist Church, circa 1896. Courtesy of Philip S. Hall
For nearly the first fifteen years of Susanville’s existence it could said it was somewhat a scene of the old wild west, plenty of saloons, but no houses of worship. It was in the mid-1870s when two churches—the Congregation and Methodist—that the community started to become more civilized.

The construction of the Methodist Church at the corner of Lassen and Cottage Streets began in 1875. In 1877, with church nearing completion a bell was installed. The Lassen Advocate of June 23, 1877 reported: “The bell is already hung in the tower of the new M.E. Church. It is really a tony bell, its reverberations are heard for miles around. Our town is gradually taking on city airs.”

The bell it should be noted served a dual function for not only calling the faithful to worship, but it was the town’s fire alarm system for nearly three decades. However, it was no match for June 1900 fire that destroyed the church and three city blocks from Roop to Union. The bell survived that fire and when a new brick church replaced the old wooden one it was re-installed. The church was destroyed in the August 1915 fire and this time the bell did not survive.

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