Tag Archives: Susanville

Lassen County Militia

Militia Card
Tro Emerson’s Militia Card

Twice in Lassen County’s history there have local militia units of the California National Guard. The last time was during World War II. Initially, there was to be one large unit for Lassen and Modoc counties. That plan was neither feasible or practical and was dropped.

A new strategy was drafted. Inside each county, especially in large rural counties like Lassen, several local militia units would be formed. There duties were to protect the area in case of enemy invasion. Their involvement was confined to the boundaries of the county. Uniforms, guns and ammunition would be provided to each unit. They would also be trained in guerilla warfare. In Lassen County it fell upon the Farm Advisor (T.S. Brown) to organize these units.

On May 20 1942, the first organization meeting was held in Susanville. Local units were created for Susanville, Bieber, Doyle, Janesville and Standish. By the first of June, the Susanville Militia had 70 members. It became known as Thomas Tucker Militia—named after Thomas Tucker the first casualty from Susanville in World War I. Fortunately, this volunteer force never had to be activated. At the conclusion of the war, each individual’s enrollment in the militia was automatically cancelled.

Militoa card

Note: If you were not aware, you can click on the image to see a larger version.

Don’t forget to look at the Subscribe feature.

Atlas Fredonyer

Fredonyer Summit
Ira and James Purdy posing at Fredonyer Summit, Christmas Eve, 1930

A lot has been written about Atlas Fredonyer early activities in the region. Among other things he filed a land claim in what would later become Susanville, since that town’s founder neglected to do so.

In 1862, Fredonyer was found guilty and sent to prison of a sexual assault charge involving his fifteen year old step-daughter, Sally. Many were of the opinion that Fredonyer did not commit a crime. A petition was circulated and California Governor Stanford pardoned Fredonyer the following year.

After his pardon, Fredonyer seemed to have disappeared, as he never returned back to this region. A few years ago, I finally found out what became of him. He surfaced in a most unusual way in 1880 in San Francisco. Fredonyer it should be noted used the title of “Doctor” to what extent of medical training he had, is not clear.  At this time he was suffering from bowel blockage. He attempted perform his own colonoscopy, which a bottle, which got lodged in the colon.  The heavy set Fredonyer was finally taken to St. Mary’s hospital. A colostomy was performed to remove the bottle.  He did not recover from the procedure and died in San Francisco on August 10, 1880.

Don’t forget to look at the Subscribe feature.


The Drought

Fire Antelope
Antelope Mountain Fire, 1926

As we enter our fourth year of drought, let us hope it does not last as long the 1917-1937 drought. The most severe was the winter of 1923-24. Susanville received less than five inches of precipitation this year. It was so dry that winter that in the middle of March, a one-inch snow fall at Susanville caused great excitement. There was even a greater commotion when eighteen inches of snow fell. It disappeared in a matter of hours. That was the extent of precipitation for the winter. Continue reading The Drought

Susanville’s First Deli

The Big Store
Susanville’s The Big Store as it appeared in 1916. Photograph courtesy of the Worley family

In 1866, David Knoch purchased a lot on Main Street for $1,400. This  address would later become known as 722 Main Street, the current home of Margie’s Book Nook since 1995. For the next 76 years three generations of the Knoch family operated the store. The current building was constructed in 1893, though it did received substantial damage from the 1900 fire.

In 1912, Fehr & Worley took over the helm of the general merchandise store, which they renamed the Big Store. Times were rapidly changing with the arrival of the railroad and lumber mills.  In 1919, Fehr & Worley did the first remodel of the building changing its exterior and interior. They also opened a new department inside the store, and a first for Susanville—a delicatessen.

Easter Sunday

Methodist Church, 1905
Susanville’s Methodist Church, 1905

It being Easter Sunday, I thought it would only be appropriate to provide some of the history of religion in our region. The Methodist Church had a profound influence on the Honey Lake Valley. In 1860, this church held their first service in Susanville. By 1905, there were Methodist Churches in Janesville, Johnstonville, Standish and, of course, Susanville, more than any other denomination.  Continue reading Easter Sunday

Hat Creek Power

Hat Creek No. 1
Hat Creek Powerhouse No. 1, 1921. Courtesy of Lola L. Tanner

The Red River Lumber Company operated many enterprises and it still as an influence concerning electricity to many residents of the region. From time to time when the Susanville area has a power outage, many times there will be a reference to the Hat Creek line. So you may ponder how did Hat Creek come to be? Continue reading Hat Creek Power

Potter’s Maternity Plaque

Potter's Maternity Home
Pottter’s Maternity Home

As many may be aware, Rite Aid plans a 17,400 square foot building on the 1600 block of Susanville. All the buildings on that block are scheduled to a be demolished. I do not have any problem with this, in fact I am favor of the project. My only concern is the bronze plaque at the bank be saved and incorporated in the new enterprise. Anyone who is concerned needs to contact Craig Sanders at the City of Susanville to express your concern. The details of the project can be found here.



North Street, Susanville

Did you ever notice that North Street runs in an east-west direction? It does not make sense, until you go way back when Susanville was first surveyed. There you find the answer to this perplexing issue. You see, North Street was most northern street in the town. The same thing happened in the 1920s with an adjoining subdivision to the south, in which South Street became the most southern street.

North Street, Susanville
Looking east on North Street from Weatherlow during the 1938 flood. Courtesy of Betty Barry Deal

In addition, when North Street was laid out, it ended at Weatherlow Street. It was not until 1910 when it was extended to connect with Halltown to the east.

Roosevelt Pool

Roosevelt Pool
Remnants of Roosevelt Pool, February 21, 2015

It is only fitting to begin the daily post with some current and past history combined. In mid-February saw the demolition of one of Susanville’s notable landmarks, the Roosevelt Pool. It is part of the effort to build a new swimming pool adjacent to it. The pool it should be noted had set idle for nearly a decade when it was condemned in December 2004.

How the pool came to be is an interesting one. In 1912, the Lassen Weekly Mail announced that Lassen County had purchased some property near the proposed railroad depot site for a new hospital and cemetery. However, that was not the case. Yet, the county realized it had to seek a new location for its hospital and cemetery.

Continue reading Roosevelt Pool