Established in 1887, it was originally located at the Bonham Ranch in the Smoke Creek Desert. The school closed in 1919 for lack of students. In 1929, it was resurrected at Flanigan in the Honey Lake Valley. It closed on June 20, 1969 and at that time it was the only remaining one-room school in Washoe County. Standish resident Ed Bass purchased the school and moved to his property.
Susanville’s Roosevelt School building located at 720 Richmond Road has been used for offices by Lassen County. It was built in 1925 at a cost of $44,816 and closed as a school in 1967. As the county no longer has a need for the building, it is currently examining the various ways to dispose of it.
Yesterday marked the 1,000th post that started on February 12, 2015. One of those posts concerned Johnstonville School. It was one of the original Lassen County school districts established in 1864, but was originally named Susan River School District. In February 1878, the name was changed to Johnstonville. On January 20, 1961, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to build a new school to replace the old one. School board members, Harry Reuck, Mary Barr and Leroy Cramer, broke the ground for a new four-room schoolhouse which would cost the district $134,518. When completed the old school house located on an adjoining parcel was sold and converted into a private residence.
While many residents of the Honey Lake Valley were familiar with Washington School in Susanville, there was another Washington School in Big Valley that was established in March 1872. On Wednesday, November 12, 1887, the first school was destroyed by fire. The roof caught on fire from a defective flue while school was in session. The fire was not discovered until burning embers started to fall through the ceiling. Fortunately, no one was injured during the evacuation. In addition, everything was saved except for five desks, and, of course, the wood stove. After the fire, classes were temporarily held in John Finley’s house. A new schoolhouse was completed in September 1888, though it wasn’t until October 1889 that the voters approved a $550 bond measure to pay for it. The school closed in 1938 for lack of students and the following year it was annexed to Bieber. In July 1939, A. Jack purchased the abandoned schoolhouse for $35.
Built in 1900-01 it was originally known as the Susanville Grammar School. During the boom era of the early 1920s when three more elementary schools were built in Susanville, brought about the need of school names, all named after presidents—Washington, McKinley, Lincoln and Roosevelt—and the grammar school became Washington. When the Washington School was condemned and torn down in 1948, it did find a bit of reincarnation nearby. The bricks were recycled and used to construct the residence at 709 Mill Street.
I scanned this and a few others last spring from the Louise West papers who taught Kindergarten and First Grade in Susanville from the 1940s to the early 1970s. At that time, I had mentally prepared a post about this topic, it has since been lost to one of those deep recesses of my mind. Many will find the names quite familiar and these youngsters became a part of Lassen High’s Class of 1959.
In the 1880s, Big Valley saw a major increase in population, thus more schools were needed. It did not take much to create a school district then. The residents needed to be more than five miles from the nearest school house and have ten school age children in a proposed district. The Pine Grove School was established in February 1888, from sections of the Cedar Run and Pioneer School Districts. On March 17, 1888, an election was held at the residence of J.M. Bassett to approve both a bond measure for $500 and a site for a new school. The voters, all eight, approved the bond measure, though the records do not indicate anything about the school site proposal. On August 3, 1925, the Board of Supervisors approved Pine Grove’s petition to consolidate with Bieber. The residents requested that the abandoned school not be sold, torn down or removed from its site. What became of it, I do not know.
While sorting through all kinds of materials from my Mother’ Estate, I found a 1941-1942 Student’s Handbook for Lassen Union High School. It is pocket size and an interesting read. In his closing statement to the students Principal N.H. McCollom wrote:
“The citizen you will be in 1951 is determined by the kind of citizen you are in 1941. Today you are building character, formulating attitudes, developing habits which will characterize you, henceforth. Build substantially, build nobly, build beautifully. Practice courtesy, courage, comradeship and cooperation.”
For those who have traveled the east side of Honey Lake Valley, it may seem to difficult to fathom the number homes and schools that once existed. On January 6, 1915, the residents of Calneva, the Western Pacific Station on the stateline north of Doyle, petitioned for the establishment of the school citing that the proposed district had nineteen scholars. The request was granted on February 2, 1915. The school was located in a small one-room building on the Harry Hill homestead. It was later moved to the Aldrich House, a larger building, located in the center of the district. In the summer of 1918, the school was on the verge of being suspended, as enrollment declined to four. The trustees persuaded County Superintendent of Schools, Julia A. Norwood, to keep the school open, as they promised an additional four students would attend in September. The request was granted. The school’s existence was brief and it was closed in 1924. In 1926, the furniture from the school was purchased by the Janesville School District. But, like the proverbial phoenix, the name was resurrected in November 1986. The voters of the Herlong and Long Valley School Districts approved the consolidation of the two schools and the new district was named the Fort Sage Unified School District.
Lassen County covers 4,690 square miles and that is a lot of territory. Not only that, is the diversity of terrain. With that in mind here is a little bit of trivia. The highest point in Lassen County is that of Hat Mountain in the northeast corner of the county at an elevation of 8,737 feet. The lowest point which is in the northwest portion of the county is Pittville on the Lassen-Shasta County line at an elevation of 3,270 feet.