This is what the L.M. McKinney Lassen County directory had to say about Susanville in 1885:
The county seat of Lassen county, is situated about one hundred and fifty miles northeast from Sacramento, and ninety- five miles northwest from Reno, Nevada. The location itself is a peculiarly attractive one, lying as it does just at the base of the Sierra Nevadas, where the mountains give way abruptly to a comparatively level plateau and an unobstructed view over thirty miles is obtained, including almost the entire expanse of the Susan River Valley. The river itself rises in the mountains west of the town, flows past on the south side, thence in a southeasterly direction to its mouth, some twenty-five miles distant where it empties into Honey Lake. For about half of this distance (that part adjacent to Susanville) the land is thickly settled; small farms, well built and attractive residences, and large and commodious barns and outbuildings being the rule. The remaining portion of the valley will, with irrigation, unquestionably develop as well. The United States Land Office, located at this place, shows a record of 1694 cash, 1279 final homestead and 73 final desert entries, and there still remains within the limits of this district much valuable timber lands open to claimants, as well as so rated desert land which only needs irrigation to bring it up to a standard in fertility which will compare favorably with any land of the State. Susanville has one newspaper, The Lassen Advocate, weekly, which is the official county paper. It is ably conducted by Messrs, McKinsey & Hayden, proprietors. The school facilities of the town are fully up to the times; the Methodists and Congregationalists have fine and commodious church buildings, and the organizations are well sustained. Its hotel accommodations are amply provided for in two hotels, the Johnston House, a well conducted establishment, kept by Messrs, Dowling & Myers, being worthy of special mention, and among its business interests may be specially noted the Lassen Mills, with a capacity of forty-five barrels of flour per day, which is kept constantly running. Outside communications are had by daily stage line to Reno, twenty miles of this route on the end next to Reno being by rail. Two other lines are run during seven months of the year, one to a connection with the California and Northern Railroad to Oroville, and the other to Chico, connecting at that point with rail to all parts of the State. It has a money order post office, and Wells, Fargo & Co’s Express.