In 1930, the City of Susanville acquired Inspiration Point to become its first municipal park. However, with the nation’s financial crisis, city did not have any spare funds to make improvements. Some relief would come the federal government’s various relief programs, such as the Civil Works Administration. In an effort to put people to work, a project required that sixty-five percent of it be devoted to labor. Under the guidance of B.R. Zimmerman was in charge of crew funded by the C.W.A. to make improvements to Inspiration. This included graveling the road, clearing debris and constructing a retaining with seating arrangements.
In all honesty, there is no 601 Cottage Street anymore, because it is now a parking lot of LMUD, though the house that was originally there was moved a short distance to 607 Cottage Street in 1939. Built in 1901, it was the Koken residence for many years. In 1939, Safeway began construction of a new grocery store on Roop Street. They had the residence to moved to its current location and it was J.R. Packwood who added the second story.
It only seems fitting to provide a photograph of the demolition of Bank of America’s first building. After all there is no doubt that the Susanville branch changed the character to Susanville’s uptown business district.
Today, the Susanville branch of Bank of America closes. The nearest branches are now in Red Bluff and Reno. It was in the summer of 1928 when the bank began negotiations with the Lassen Industrial Bank to take over that troubled institution, which you will note that it was before the 1929 stock market crash. The Lassen Industrial Bank was noted for its liberal loan policies, but that was not the entire problem. Leon Bly’s failed Eagle Lake project took a major toll on the agricultural community and numerous farmers and ranchers defaulted on their loans. The bottom line, on December 1, 1928, Bank of America took over the Lassen Industrial Bank and its iconic two-story brick building on the corner of Main and Gay Streets.
This is just a pet-peeve of mine. What really galls me is it origins are the Lassen County Historical Society, of all institutions. It seems as there is an individual(s) who refer to the Susanville Cemetery as the Pioneer Cemetery and from time to time it gets picked up by the local media using that reference It is not, nor will it ever be the Pioneer Cemetery, nor is there a cemetery in all of Lassen County that has that distinction. Furthermore, if you use Asa Fairfield’s definition of pioneer, he refers that the pioneer era for the region ended in 1870. Thus, more than ninety percent of those interred there are not from the pioneer era.
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.
For nearly the first fifteen years of Susanville’s existence it could said it was somewhat a scene of the old wild west, plenty of saloons, but no houses of worship. It was in the mid-1870s when two churches—the Congregation and Methodist—that the community started to become more civilized.
The construction of the Methodist Church at the corner of Lassen and Cottage Streets began in 1875. In 1877, with church nearing completion a bell was installed. The Lassen Advocate of June 23, 1877 reported: “The bell is already hung in the tower of the new M.E. Church. It is really a tony bell, its reverberations are heard for miles around. Our town is gradually taking on city airs.”
The bell it should be noted served a dual function for not only calling the faithful to worship, but it was the town’s fire alarm system for nearly three decades. However, it was no match for June 1900 fire that destroyed the church and three city blocks from Roop to Union. The bell survived that fire and when a new brick church replaced the old wooden one it was re-installed. The church was destroyed in the August 1915 fire and this time the bell did not survive.
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.
Located on the 900 block of North Street once stood the residence of Thomas N. Long. It was built in the mid-1870s and demolished a century later. The residence had two owners, Long and Bundy & Winifred French. It was torn down in October 1977 and plans were for an apartment complex on the site that that never materialized.
In 1900-01, Reno building contractor, C.E. Clough kept busy in Susanville with the construction of four major brick buildings—Emerson Hotel, Methodist Church, Oakes & Philbrook and the Susanville Grammar School. Only two remain, the Methodist Church and Oakes & Philbrook, though the Susanville Grammar School was reincarnated, more about that later.
The brick was produced locally, though I am not sure where. In 1878, Robert M. Bean had a brick kiln along Piute Creek, a quarter mile north of town. That would place it around Marmo meadows.