The school district was established on February 3, 1879 from the eastern portions of Janesville and Lake School Districts. Shortly thereafter, the residents built a schoolhouse without a bond measure. On May 31, 1884, Leonard Hicks donated the land for the school. On December 17, 1909, voters approved a $1,500 bond measure to construct a larger school. During the early 1950s, voters throughout the County were routinely asked for consolidation of school districts. In 1954, Missouri Bend merged with Janesville. This schoolhouse remains, and for awhile it was used as a private school, but now sits empty.
On July 2, 1914, Janesville was renamed Lassen. A group of local developers petitioned the United States Postal Service to change the name from Janesville to Lassen. They were successful. It was their goal to rid the region of towns that ended with the suffix of “ville.” They felt the suffix carried a stigma of a small village, or worse yet, brought about the connotation of Hicksville.
Many of residents were not pleased with the new name. In December 1914, over 100 residents signed a petition to restore the post office’s name back to Janesville. The Postmaster General denied it. The area suffered an identity crisis, a place with two names—Janesville and Lassen. In 1918, the Lassen Mail wrote: “Janesville or Lassen, which shall it be? It isn’t a question of which it shall be but which it is. The post office is Lassen and the rest of the town is Janesville and it would require a special act of the California Legislature to make it anything else.” The editor did exaggerate a bit on the procedure. In 1923, the town’s residents petitioned the Postal Service and requested the name of Janesville be restored and this time the request was granted on September 22, 1923.
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In the fall of 1856, Levi Breed set up a trading post on the Nobles Emigrant Trail where it crosses Willow Creek, just north where the current Lassen County road A-27 crosses Willow Creek. It was second one for the Honey Lake Valley. The following year he located to Janesville and became that community’s largest merchant for a number of years.
It was the military that came along next to locate on Breed’s abandoned post. In 1859, a military station, under the leadership of First Lt Milton T. Carr, A 1 Dragoons, was established at the Willow Creek crossing. Its main purpose was to protect the travelers on the Nobles Emigrant Road. “Dragoon” is the name for a mounted soldier or cavalryman.The following year, it was replaced by Soldier’s Bridge which was located further to the east and along the Susan River.
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Built in 1877, the second story was used as a hall for the Independent Order of Good Templars. In 1935, Francis Wilbur, a local carpenter, was hired to remove the second story from the school. In 1971, the school closed and annexed to Janesville. In 1975, the Janesville District declared the Lake School as surplus property and it was deeded to George and Jane Bailey. The schoolhouse has since been converted into a private residence.
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The first hotel in Janesville was built in 1857 by Malcolm Bankhead, which was a two-story structure made of logs. In 1872, Dennis Tanner purchased it, and torn it down. He replaced it with a much substantial larger, two-story wooden frame building, that contained 22-rooms. The hotel had numerous owners over the years. In 1913, B.R. Holmes acquired it, made numerous upgrades and changed the name to the Diamond Mountain Inn. One of its most interesting owners were the Pollocks, as in the famed artist Jackson Pollock. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1931.
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When Dr. John A. Slater died on July 24, 1863 at Janesville, there was no cemetery. He was buried at the foot of pine tree on the Sloss Ranch, known in later years as the Jim Peterson place.
In 1865, Slater’s two sons, Henry Hunt, age 11 and John Allen age 7, died a day apart from each, respectively on May 5 and May 6. They were buried next to their father.
There was a lot of speculation as to the cause of their deaths, some attributed to it spotted fever and others said it was poison from eating wild parsnips. What was later revealed the boys had played around the house all day and never ventured away from home. Henry was taken ill with a pain in his heal in the afternoon, and died that night. On the same evening, John was reported to have a pain in his next week and died the following morning.
In the summer of 1915, John S. Partridge, a grandson of Dr. Slater, contacted local historian Granville Pullen to move the graves to the Janesville Cemetery, which Pullen obliged.
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In December 1856, Manly Thompson located near the base of this mountain and built one of the first cabins in the region. Like so many of the original settlers of the Honey Lake Valley he moved onto he did remain in the region and moved on. On October 27, 1875, Thompson sold his 276-acre ranch to James P. Sharp for $6,000 and moved to Elko, Nevada. His lasting legacy of the region is his name applied to this prominent peak.
Recently, I had accidentally stumble upon this most interesting website concerning Thompson Peak. It is worth the gander. For me it brought back some interesting memories when my brother, Gary and others, including yours truly, gave serious consideration of climbing its rock face back in the mid-1970s.
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In the spring of 1882, Hiram Dakin and Hiram McCellan proprietors of the Milford Flour Mill began making plans to build a new mill. After all, the Milford one was constructed in 1861, and it had outlived its purpose.
The first order of business was where to build the new mill—Buntingville or Janesville. Buntingville was just beginning to flourish, it being a popular stop for travelers heading north to Modoc County. After careful consideration Janesville emerged as victor.
On June 8, 1882, construction of the three-story structure began on Main Street, a just a little north of the prominent large oak tree that still remains. When the mill was placed into operation in September, the residents knew it—at seven a.m. every morning the steam whistle blew. In 1886, J.K. Gehring purchased the enterprise known as Honey Lake Mills for $6,000. In 1918, Gehring closed the mill, he being 81 years old, and with the new Honey Lake mill in Susanville, no buyers were interested. In the early 1920s, the mill was dismantled and James H. McClelland purchased the lumber to use on his ranch.
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It is only fitting to note that today’s marks the 100th anniversary when Leon Bly embarked on sounding Eagle Lake to determine the feasibility of an Eagle Lake irrigation project. Since the 1870s, there had been numerous failed attempts. No one knew the true depth of the lake, though many presumed it had depths ranging from 300 to 1,000 feet. Bly spent the summer sounding the lake in Oscar Rankin’s The Pelican and determined the lake’s deepest point at 105 feet, but felt the lake had potential as an adequate water supply for an irrigation project.
Of note, up until the 1980s, this boat was undergoing restoration at Janesville, but since it is not known what became of the project.
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Names of places changed quickly when the gold seekers rushed into Honey Lake Valley. This stream was a prime example. It was first called Commanche Creek, then Irishman’s Creek, and, in 1860, became known as Lakes Creek. Sometime in the early 1860s, it finally became Baxter Creek named for John Baxter (1812-1880), a native of Dundee, Scotland, who came to California in 1849 and to Honey Lake Valley in 1857. Baxter located along the lower end of the creek, about a mile east of Buntingville. On May 27, 1867, Baxter, with his partner, Edward Bartlett, sold this property to Robert C. Hayden for $3,750. This sale led to a fatal mistake for both Hayden and Bartlett.