The Government Land Office

Susanville's Knoch Building, 1900. For many years it housed the Government Land Office. Courtesy of Philip S. Hall
Susanville’s Knoch Building, 1900. For many years it housed the Government Land Office. Courtesy of Philip S. Hall

The United States Government Land Office played an important role in the development of region locally, as well as across the western United States. It was through the Government Land Office (GLO) is where a person went to file for a federal and, in certain instance a state, land claim, once the region was officially surveyed by the government.

For the residents of the region, the nearest GLO was at Marysville, California.  In the fall of 1870, Susanville resident John S. Ward took it upon himself to travel to Washington, D.C. to make a case for the establishment of a federal land office. In his proposal, he stated it would serve Lassen, Modoc and Plumas counties. Ward was not only successful when his plea was granted the following summer, he also earned himself a new job as the Receiver of the Susanville GLO.

The Susanville GLO office remained in operation until April 30, 1925. At that time, individuals were then required to travel to Sacramento to conduct business that concerned government lands.  When the Taylor Grazing Act came into existence in 1934, it would eventually transform the GLO into today’s Bureau of Land Management.

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