Category Archives: Uncategorized

And away we go . . .

A unique historic district

Final preparations are underway for the June Adventure.  Subscribers have received their packet to visit to an internationally known ancient solar observatory, which is minutes from Susanville and practically unknown by locals.

What is that saying,  its not the destination, but the journey, or something like that.  The above photograph was taken by the late Bernard McCallister, in attempt to replicate the 1897 Dunham photograph that featured a racetrack. All these things are intertwined.  This little area is home to prehistoric (dinosaurs); Native American; Nobles Emigrant Trail; Military ( Dragoon Bridge); Commerce, the 2nd store in the Honey Lake Valley; and a lot more.

For those who want to partake, there is a window of opportunity to be part of the experience for a mere five dollars to subscribe to this site.  There is a June 9 deadline, due to planning logistics. Upon subscribing one receives a packet of the details and literature. After all, you do not want to miss the the forthcoming Inspiration Point Tour.

Future Posts

Bucks Bay
Bucks Bay, Eagle Lake, 1921

Here is a preview of the forthcoming topics for the first half of June. In addition, take a moment to review the Subscribe feature.

Gold Rush of 1907 6/1/15
Edsel Dealership 6/2/15
Alexander Howell 6/3/15
Jensen Barn 6/4/15
Lassen Flour Mill 6/5/15
Main Street Problem 6/6/15
Richmond Times 6/7/15
Lassen’s Most Influential Person 6/8/15
Amedee Lime Kiln 6/9/15
Order of Camels 6/10/15
Camp Harvey 6/11/15
Camp Harvey Gallery 6/12/15
Gold Run Road Toll Co. 6/13/15
Lassen Eruption 6/14/15
Oh My! 6/15/15
St. Mary’s Chapel 6/16/15

Auntie Irene

Irene and James
Irene Bengoa and James Purdy’s 1949 wedding picture taken at the Lassen Junior College Auditorium. It may have been the only wedding to occur at Lassen College. This was due to the fact that both were members of the Sacred Heart Church and the new church was under construction. It should be noted that decades later, Irene served on the Lassen College Board of Trustees.

On Tuesday, May 12, my dear Auntie Irene nee Bengoa Purdy Trout passed away at the age of 90. As a nurse her entire life, it was only fitting she went to heaven on the same date when Florence Nightingale was born.

Irene was involved in the Susanville community throughout her entire life, and leaves a great legacy. For me, and this many do not realize is in her own way contributed to my documenting the region’s history. When I was twelve-years-old, she gave me my first camera, which she told me, “You will be a teenager soon, and you need to record your life.” Did I ever and my surroundings as well. Little did I know then her gift would be history in the making. Of course, the first photograph I ever took was Auntie at her home on View Drive, which I will cherish forever.

A Quiz


Hanson ad

Have you ever wondered who has had the most impact on Lassen County? One hears Peter Lassen and Isaac Roop’s names bandied about all the time. Their influence was rather minor in the scheme of things. Captain C.A. Merrill’s Lassen County Desert Land Act of 1875, which was revised to the Desert Land Act of 1877 had a huge impact on the Western United States and the current groundwater export from the Nevada side of the Honey Lake Valley is a result of that. In addition, it was Merrill that opened the door that led to Leon Bly’s tapping of Eagle Lake, but his work, still pales into comparison. Then there is A.J. Mathews who came to Susanville in 1910 and built the telephone system we know today. Mathews had major political clout in Sacramento and the only Lassen County resident to serve as the Speaker of the California State Assembly. We should be thankful for Mathews’ endeavors, yet he is not the influential person I am thinking of.

A month from today, I will reveal the identity. In the meantime, I will work on an appropriate prize for the correct answer. Only a subscriber can win the prize.

Don’t forget to look at the Subscribe feature.

Leavitt City


Stock corrals at Leavitt, circa 1922.
Stock corrals at Leavitt, circa 1922.

In the fall of 1912, Benjamin H. Leavitt proposed the town on his original ranch. Leavitt wrote to his granddaughter, Edith Elledge, of his intentions: “I am going to cut the old ranch up into small tracts and sell it off in ten and twenty acre tracts . . . I am also building a road down from Rice’s Canyon, you know that is directly north of the town of Leavitt, to connect with all the northern trade clear out to Big Valley. The R.R. Co. have agreed to put their stock yards there. I have given them the land for the stock yards. I am also going to extend the road through the ranch to intercept the Janesville Road near Billey Indian. All the merchants of Janesville have agreed to order their good shipped to Leavitt which will make it one of the largest shipping points on the Fernley & Lassen.”

In addition, Leavitt offered railroad officials land if they would construct their roundhouse there. That proposition did not occur as Susanville’s business community convinced the railroad to locate that operation in their town. “The City” consisted of only the store, a few dwellings, and several large corrals that held livestock for shipment on the railroad.

Yet, years later, one could say a city of sorts of was built just north of Leavitt, the home of the California Conservation Center and High Desert State prisons.

Don’t forget to examine the Subscribe feature.

The tale of two Susans

Susan Arnold and Anna Hall
Susan Roop Arnold and Anna Hall at Constantia

While it is fairly common knowledge that the City of Susanville was named for the town founder’s daughter, Susan Roop, who later married Alexander T. Arnold. Many assume that the Susan River that flows through the community would also be named after Susan Roop.  However, that is not the case, because the river was so named, prior to Isaac Roop’s arrival on the scene.

Susan River, February 1972

During the years 1851-1852, William H. Nobles located a new emigrant road from Shasta, California to Lassen’s Meadows, Nevada. This road passed through the Honey Lake Valley. Nobles named the Susan River for his wife, Susan Parker Nobles.  While we know a lot about Susan Roop Arnold, very little is known about Susan Parker Nobles. She resided in Minnesota for the majority of her married life, moving to California when her husband, Nobles, died in 1876.

Breaking News

Riverside Hospital
Riverside Hospital, Susanville, where I was born. More about this facility in a future post.

I had an accident yesterday, that has left me a bit incapacitated. This morning, it required a trip to the hospital via an ambulance—my first such ride and hopefully the last. The final result, a damaged knee, nothing broken, very sore and some bruised ribs, which with  the aid of a  knee brace and  a walker, I can at least get around at home, but not venturing anywhere else. There should not be any interruption with the daily posts, as they were done in advance, they are scheduled to appear in their designation dates.

Brand Project Update

Tanner Ranch Brand
Tanner Ranch Brand, 1887. In 1927, Lola Murrer married Honey Lake Valley native, John Tanner. John’s father, William, had settled at Soldier Bridge in 1870 and later that decade registered his brand as the 20. That brand would be modified to the 30.

The project is moving slowly, but surely. I am still seeking information on the following. If you can provide any information contact me at Thanks. Continue reading Brand Project Update

Useful Information

Hello Lassen History Enthusiasts,

You now have the option to buy books right here online using Paypal*.  Just click on the “Add to Cart”  you will find by each book in the Books section and you see it appear in Your Shopping Cart in the left sidebar (tablet users will find it at the bottom of the page) To purchase the contents of your cart,  click on the Paypal button.

Of course, you can still get a desired book the old fashioned way, by emailing me from “CONTACT” in the top menu.

I welcome your feedback, questions, and comments, particularity if you wish to share a bit of Lassen County history.



* You do not need a Paypal account to pay with a credit card. When you click on the Paypal button in the cart you will have a choice of signing in to your Paypal account, or, if you do not have an account with Paypal, paying with a credit card.