Tag Archives: Schools

Richmond Times

Richmond School
Richmond School, 1916. Courtesy of D.M. Durst

Just as the old time photographers left us a visual record, early day journalism left us with a written impression. For the late 1850s the Marysville Daily, Appeal, the Red Bluff Beacon and the Shasta Courier reported on the happenings in the Honey Lake Valley.

In April 1860 the Richmond Times made its debut. At the helm of this enterprise was Andrew Ramsey (a member of Dozier, Torrey families). Not much is known about the paper’s content, except it was a handwritten manuscript, which was not unusual for that era. The subscription price 200 pounds of potatoes when harvested.

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School Buses

Soldier Bridge School Bus at Litchfield.
Now, it is that time of year with schools back in session, here is an interesting tidbit I came across while doing some research for the cemetery tour. On July 15, 1933 the California Department of Education adopted that all school buses be painted a “distinctive chrome yellow.” This was done as a request by the California Highway Patrol.


Lassen High School Sites, 1968

Miller’s Construction getting ready for the demolition, June 1968.
Just a bit of trivia today. In the mid-1960s the trustees of Lassen Union High School gave consideration to locate the campus at the north end of Weatherlow Street. When the California Highway Department officials assured the trustees that there was going to be a highway bypass, it was decided to keep the original campus. This was in the same era when Lassen Community College had severed ties with the high school and was in search of a new home, and one of those locations is now Susanville Ranch Park. The college liked that property, but they did not like the purchase price.


A Cornerstone Story

W.H. Weeks rendering of the new high school.

With a lot of pomp and ceremony the local Masonic Lodge featured prominently in the laying of the cornerstone of the new Lassen County High School building on September 23, 1905. When the high school was formed it held its classes in the Susanville Grammar School, later renamed Washington. In 1904, the trustees purchased the Main Street campus for $2,000. The next step was to build the school. In July 1905, the Granite Rock Company was awarded to build the landmark building at a cost of $25,670. It was designed by W.H. Weeks of Watsonville, California.  Placed in the cornerstone were copies of Lassen Advocate, Lassen Weekly Mail, Big Valley Gazette, Programme of the Day, List of Town Trustees, Copy of Red Book, List of County Officers, and Rays from the Purple. Whether the cornerstone was saved when the school was torn down in 1968, is not known.


Janesville School Then & Now

Janesville School, circa 1911.

Janesville is one of the original school districts established when Lassen County was formed in 1864. On March 16, 1889, the voters approved the $1,500 bond measure to build a new school, which is featured above. In 1948, the voters were once again asked to approve a bond measure for a new school and it was approved, the old school replaced.

May 25, 2017


Lassen High Graduation 1917

Lassen High 08
Lassen High School, 1908 courtesy of Phil Hall

This evening will mark the 110th commencement exercises at Lassen Union High School. One hundred years ago on June 1, 1917, seven graduates received their diplomas:  Myrtle Doyle, Helen Woodward, Alma Frawley, Stella Glass, Pauline Ruf, Mildred Zimmerman and George Winchester.

It was a simple ceremony with a handful speeches, beginning with the invocation by Rev. R.N. Rowe. In between speeches were two different musical solos, one by Esther Gilman and the other by Dr. F.D. Walsh. The commencement address was delivered by Lassen County District Attorney, J.A. Pardee.


Paul Bunyan Days Revisited

Paul Bunyan Days at Willard Creek, April 1970. Featured is the log rolling contest-student still standing is Howard Hanns and the student falling is Marshall Benedict. Photograph courtesy of D.B. Martin


Lassen College’s forestry department began in 1938, though now its major emphasis is on fire science, than forestry. It was in this era of the late 1930s and early 1940s that the forestry students developed a small winter recreational area known as Willard Hill. For several decades it was a very popular spot for sledding, etc.

Paul Bunyan Days was a logging competition held not only at Lassen College, but other community colleges that had forestry programs.  Tom Gilfoy who graduated from Lassen in 1951, said it was Ralph Throop who was instrumental in starting Paul Bunyan Days. At that time it was held behind the high school, since the college was located on the same property. Tom stated they made an impromptu dam on the Susan River for log pond events.  Years later Paul Bunyan Days was moved to Willard Creek.  Mike Moyers who later taught at Lassen stated that around 1981 or 1982 was when the last Paul Bunyan Days was held. In 1984, the forestry program at the college was terminated due to lack of students.

If anyone has more information, I would like to hear from you.



Bird Flat School

This rural Honey Lake Valley school was located approximately halfway between Milford and Doyle. It was established on January 7, 1896. That summer the residents built the schoolhouse. The school opened in the fall with fourteen students, Tillie Downing was its first instructor. From 1934 through 1938 the school was closed for lack of students. It re-opened in 1939. In 1959, it closed for the last time and annexed to Long Valley.   The schoolhouse, situated along Highway 395, has had many uses since its closure, presently it has since been converted into a private residence.


Washington School Photographs

Washington School first grade 1941-42.

Many, many years ago I received a box of Louise West’s papers. The box was delivered to my mother’s house, and since resurfaced among other things.  Louise West taught first grade at Susanville’s Washington School on Cottage Street for three decades spanning the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. If anyone is interested in a particular year let me know, and I will do my best to scan and send along.  Please be patience, since I am assorting so many items at the moment.

The 1962 first grade class at Washington.