Lassen County

LC Cover022Lassen County at 150

By Tim I. Purdy

Softcover, 6×9, 150 pages,
ISBN: 978-0938373-50-1
Price $25.00 Today Only $12.50


April 1, 2014 marked Lassen County’s 150th anniversary. My sesquicentennial gift to the county is a quirky, entertaining look of the past 150 years. As Jane Baxton Little of the Sacramento Bee observed: “Purdy, Lassen’s self-appointed historian, juxtaposes the rural area’s colorful history with its not-so-distant past. He pairs a 1910 sighting of the Honey Lake serpent with the Army’s efforts in 2003 to get rid of the lake and its new monster, reportedly oodles of explosive debris from decades of Army operations. Honey Lake eventually was sold to the state for $8.6 million, a figure Purdy reports was redacted in public documents.

“His sardonic account of the cycles of history does not flatter the democratic process. In 1915 voters approved a $125,000 bond to build a new county courthouse. Its $39 million replacement was completed in 2012 without voter approval.”

The following is a sample entry:

Long Valley School
Long Valley School, courtesy of D.M. Durst Collection

March 7, 1946 – Long Valley School destroyed by fire. It was a notable landmark near Doyle, and was one of a handful of two-story schools built in Lassen County. It was built in 1901 at a cost of $1,300. The second floor was used as a lodge hall, and later on students used it for extra curricular activities. However, for several years prior to the building going up in flames, the second floor was not used at all. The trustees deemed it unsafe. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the trustees discussed building a new school, but the War put those plans on hold. After the War, and just prior to the building’s demise, an architect had been hired to design a new school. The Long Valley School District no longer exists, since in 1986 it merged with Herlong to become Fort Sage.

And another:

Honey Lake, 1997
Honey Lake, 1997 with Skedaddle Mountain in the background

October 20, 2003 – The $8.6 million Honey Lake folly. In an effort for the Sierra Army Depot to unload its ownership of the lake they deeded over 57,632 acres to a consortium named the Honey Lake Conservation Team. The draft deed indicated the price, but when it was recorded, the $8.6 million figure was redacted. The Honey Lake Conservation Team for its efforts quickly prepared a study as to what could be done with it. On November 8, 2006, they considered their work complete and deeded the ownership over of the lake to the State of California. It should be noted that the Depot retained 4,486 acres on the southeastern corner of the lake.