Tag Archives: Religion

Westwood LDS Church

Church of the Latter Day Saints, Westwood, June 14, 1943
Church of the Latter Day Saints, Westwood, June 14, 1943

On March 9, 1940 the Church of the Latter Day Saints held groundbreaking ceremonies on corner of Ash and Fifth Streets, in Westwood. This was the last house of worship to be constructed under Red River Lumber Company’s tenure at Westwood.

The church  was designed Caldwell and Richards, Los Angeles architects. After World War I, the LDS Church began to implement standardized plans. This particular church was the first to use this particular layout. The $9,000 church was built by volunteer labor and completed in four months.

In 1986, its congregation had grown, wherein they bought property in nearby Clear Creek and built a new church. In 1991, their old our church was acquired by Our Lady of Snows Catholic Church which they converted into a parish hall. However, with their new Lake Almanor church, it will be just a matter of time when this is placed on the market, and only time will dictate its fate.

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Sacred Heart’s Rectory

An early day photograph of the rectory. Courtesy of Sacred Heart Church

When the Sacred Heart Parish was established in 1912, it had a church, but it did not provide housing for a priest. When Father O’Reilly arrived to take care of the pastoral duties, he boarded initially at the Emerson Hotel. When that hotel was destroyed by fire, he purchased a small cottage.

In October 1922, Father Patrick J. McCarthy became O’Reilly’s successor. McCarthy spent his first three weeks sleeping in the organ loft of the church.  It turned out to be unseasonably cold, and as many an old time parishioner recalled  that church was cold and drafty. As a result McCarthy came down with pneumonia, and required hospitalization. Once discharged from the hospital efforts were underway to build a rectory next to the church. Within in a month’s time it was completed with lumber donated by Fruit Growers and Lassen Lumber and parishioners volunteered to construct it.

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Book of the Month – Sacred Heart Church

The original altar at Sacred Heart, circa 1910. Courtesy of Milton Mallery
The original altar at Sacred Heart, circa 1910. Courtesy of Milton Mallery

Last month I inaugurated  a book-of-the-month, that featured Sagebrush Reflections. After all proceeds from book sales not only help support operations, but help finance future publications.

As Easter Sunday falls on March 27, I thought it is only fitting to feature my history of Susanville’s Sacred Heart Church.  While the work examines the church’s humble beginnings with the first Mass held in 1869, to when the parish was established in 1912. Yet interspersed along the way are many tidbits, how the church grew with the community. Take for instance the year the parish was formed, the growth was so rampant in Susanville that more commercial and residential buildings were constructed that year,  that in all the combined previous 15 years! Did you know that the church’s St. Patrick’s dinner is the oldest continuous event in the history of Susanville and 2016 marks its 99th!  All of this and more at a bargain price of $10.00. Order here.

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Sacred Heart Parish Established

Parish Register front page with writings by Father P.J. O'Rielly
Parish Register front page with writings by Father P.J. O’Reilly

In the fall of 1911 the Sacramento Diocese created a new parish from the Truckee Parish to be known as Sacred Heart. It would encompass two counties—Lassen and Modoc—a region comprising some 8,500 square miles (equivalent to size of the State of Maryland).

Father Philip J. O’Reilly was the first priest assigned arriving from Marysville. Father O’Reilly first established residence at Alturas, were a parish briefly existed in the 1880s. On December 17, 1911, Father O’Reilly held his first Mass in Susanville, and brought welcomed news that Mass would be held in Susanville on the last Sunday of each month. It should be noted that prior to this, Mass was held maybe once or twice a year, with Father Thomas Horgan riding circuit over a five county area making a 600 mile round trip.

On January 2, 1912, Father O’Reilly chose the date to open the Parish of Sacred Heart. He marked the event when he inscribed it by writing in front of the Baptismal, Marriage and Death Registers. He would later write in each one, that on December 2, 1915, Modoc County became a separate parish, except for Likely, which was added to Modoc exactly a year later.

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Sergi-Sacco Wedding

Sergi Cake
The Sergi-Sacco wedding cake. Courtesy of C. Derek Anderson

One just never knows how pieces of history make it to the surface. The above photograph is just one example. When the  bar from Marion’s on Weatherlow Street was being moved to a new home in Chester, some interesting material somehow managed to get lodged behind the bar. There was an assortment of about a dozen Red River Lumber Company photographs and this wedding cake picture.

On 10:00 a.m. Sunday, November 15, 1936 at Sacred Heart Church, Rose Agnes Sergi and James Sacco were married. The bridesmaids were Louise Saffores, Concha Larrea and Camilla Alosi. The best man was Marion Larrea. After the ceremony a wedding breakfast was held at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall, with 500 guests. The centerpiece at the bride’s table was a magnificent five-foot tall wedding cake, weighing 250 pounds.

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Halloween Tour

According to one person, Belfast, was going to be a city paved in gold. That prediction was made in 1881.

While it is nearly a month away, mark your calendar for a brief, but exhilarating early afternoon tour to get you into the spirit of things.

You will be introduced to some of Lassen’s eccentric permanent residents. Of course, one has to pay a pilgrimage to the one and only “Count” who died in 1662. That is not a typo and the marker was placed by unknown parties back in the 1930s.

Stay tuned for the details.

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Sacred Heart Church

Sacred Heart Church
Sacred Heart Church, 1905. Courtesy of Sacred Heart Church

On August 1, 1869 the first Mass to be held in Lassen County was at the home of Ned Mulroney near Susanville, with the 27-year-old Father Charles Lynch officiating. Since a circuit priest had to cover a large territory in Northeastern California and Nevada, Mass in many instances was only held once a year when the priest made his rounds.

In the 1880s with a larger Catholic population, and the Diocese territory smaller, Mass was be held in the Lassen County area twice year. There was also a movement to have their own house of worship instead of the courtroom in the Lassen County Courthouse or the hall in the Steward House Hotel.

This changed in the spring of 1892, when William Cain, a non-Catholic, donated a parcel land across the Susan River on Richmond Road, the current site of Poulsen’s Welding. In May construction began, the labor from church volunteers. As Father Thomas Horgan later recalled the driving force for the church came from three families—Bantley, Neuhaus, and Mulroney.

The new church had a seating capacity of 120, quite ample for their being about 100 parishioners. On June 26, 1898 Bishop Thomas Grace dedicated the Susanville church as the Church of the Sacred Heart.

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Susanville – Richmond Road

Richmond Road
Richmond Road, 1906

Prior to the Fernley & Lassen Railroad’s arrival in 1912, Richmond Road, just across the Susan River was a bucolic dirt road. It consisted primarily the homes of the Cains and Winchesters, with their apple orchards. Though during the 1890s, along the Susan River was the town’s first Catholic Church, its Chinatown and of course the iconic landmark Arnold Planing Mill. Continue reading Susanville – Richmond Road