In what might be biggest irony in the history of the Red River Lumber Company was its Susanville mill. Before the site of Westwood had been selected, there was a heated debate inside the company about locating at Susanville.
The Red River owned tremendous timber adjacent to Susanville. In 1917, they conducted a preliminary survey for a railroad logging line from Westwood Junction, running along Worley (Roop) Mountain and entering Susanville via Piute Creek Canyon. It would be a decade later before actual construction began.
In a strange turn of events, in September 1922, Red River purchased 260 acres of the Milwood Tract east of Susanville proper. Fletcher Walker, Red River’s Westwood manager, stated the company had no intentions to build, but that with Susanville’s rapid growth it was a wise investment.
In 1933, Red River aggressively advertised this property as a mill, as part of its restructuring campaign. Their incentive for a propose mill owner, is they would provide all the logs, and thus the mill operator would be spared a major expense in logging equipment, etc. In 1935, Red River came up with an alternative plan, the would build a mill and then lease it. The Springfield Cedar Company accepted and the new mill, located east of the Fruit Growers Supply Company, and now the site of Wal Mart, etc was placed into operation on May 22, 1936. Originally, it was known as the Cedar Mill, but in time it evolved into the Paul Bunyan Lumber Company.
More about this company in future posts.