Hackstaff – Lassen County

Courtesy of Dorothy Capezzoli
Courtesy of Dorothy Capezzoli

Known today as Herlong, and was the one-time junction of Nevada-California-Oregon (NCO) and Western Pacific (WP) railroads. In 1915, Stanley G. Rayl arrived on the scene. When Rayl petitioned to establish a post office, he proposed the name Rayl—the NCO opposed it. Charles Moran, President of the NCO, wanted the post office named Hackstaff—in honor of his mother-in-law, Clara Hackstaff Adams. After five months, the Postmaster General decided upon the name of Rayl, instead of Hackstaff. This delighted Robert M. Cook, editor and publisher of the Lassen Weekly Mail, Cook wrote: “ The NCO wanted a monument to an uncle of the wife of Moran, the New York capitalist behind the NCO. Hackstaff was never in Lassen County and no one here knows anything about him.” When Rayl left in 1921, he assigned the postmaster duties to Cyrus Helman. Those two men had a disagreement and fought that battle in court. In the end, the Rayl post office closed. On March 18, 1922, the Hackstaff Post Office was established with Helman as postmaster. It did not last long and the post office closed on December 30, 1922. In 1927, Hackstaff’s meager population was wiped out when the WP moved its section crew to Doyle. The location continued to be known as Hackstaff until the Sierra Army Ordinance Depot was established in 1942.

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