Lassen Lumber & Box was the first large scale lumber company established in Susanville in 1918. Forty-five years later, it was history. The economic depression of the 1930s took a toll on the company, and never truly recovered. In 1951, it began the liquidation process and its neighbor, Fruit Growers Supply Company, purchased it and when the last logs were milled, it shut down. Fruit Growers purchased it for the water rights, as they thought about converting their nearby sawmill into a paper/pulp plant. After all, in 1955 Fruit Grower’s co-operative members would switch entirely from wood to cardboard, except for picking boxes.
This added fuel to the debate that the area’s economy needed to diversify, for one day the sawmill industry would become a thing of the past. This opened the subject for debate about attracting a state prison to the area.