Camp B – Fruit Growers

Camp B
Camp B

When Fruit Growers established their Lassen Operation they purchased two billion board feet of timber to the west of Eagle Lake. In 1921, Fruit Growers established its second logging camp, designated as Camp B. Many of their camps were portable in nature, in that once an area was logged, the cabins and other buildings could be conveniently be put on railroad cars and moved to the next location.

log train Camp B
Train load of logs leaving Camp B

Camp B was unique as it was a mixture of both portable and permanent buildings. It was one of their largest camps that could house over 300 men. While the camp closed by 1926, its concrete foundations for the commissary, along with other remnants can still be seen today. Fruit Growers had a reputation of taking good care of their employees. This was evident at Camp B whereby motion pictures were shown. In addition, the logging camps even had their own baseball teams. This is rather amazing since these men who worked ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week still had the energy left to play ball.


Highway 36

Highway 36 Fredonyer
The road over Fredonyer as it appeared in 1914.

In 1903, the first automobile traveled through Lassen County. Ten years later the car craze struck the region, as it did the rest of the state. These new car owners were anxious to travel, but the old wagons roads of yore, was not acceptable. In 1916, the voters of California passed an $18 million bond measure that led to the beginning of the state highway movement. Construction slowly began on Highway 36 and one of the momentous occasions occurred in 1923. It was the completion of the $45,000 concrete arch bridge over the Susan River at Devil’s Corral. In the summer of 1929, the last link of the highway between Red Bluff and Susanville was completed with a realignment of the roadway near Coppervale. The process to build the highway took nearly twelve years at a cost of a million dollars. The state initially designated as Highway No. 29 and in 1935 it was changed to Highway No. 36. Another important aspect when the highway was completed that state did snow removal to keep the highway open year around.

Devil's Corral Bridge
Devil’s Corral Bridge

Mill Creek Store

Mill Creek Store. Courtesy of Margaret A. Purdy
Located in neighboring Tehama County, it is better known as the Mill Creek Resort today. It was established some time in the 1930s, no doubt influenced with the various improvements at Lassen Volcanic National Park. I do not have much information, but at least I wanted to share the photograph. In addition, if any one has information about this place they would like to share, here is a perfect opportunity.


Where are we? The answer

Pine Creek, June 9, 2017
The responses were rather interesting with a near split between Pine and Willow Creek. Yes, it is Pine Creek, taken on June 9, 2017 at the bridge on County Road A-1. Prior to the Brockman Flat Law flow of some 125,000 years, Pine and Willow Creeks were one. A portion of this lava flow extends to the east side of the lake near Bly Tunnel. It created a natural dam, and thus Pine Creek began to flood the area known today as Eagle Lake.


Jackson Pollock

Diamond Mountain Inn
Diamond Mountain Inn as it appeared in the 1920s and was located next to the Masonic Hall. It was destroyed by a fire in 1931.

In January 1920, LeRoy Pollock purchased the Diamond Mountain Inn, a 22-room two story hotel, along with 140 acres at Janesville from J.B. and Katherine Rice for $6,000. The Inn, was originally just known as the Janesville Hotel and was built in 1872 by Dennis Tanner. While the transaction was noteworthy, one of residents would later become well-known in the art world, Jackson Pollock. Continue reading Jackson Pollock

Drakesbad & the Sifford Family

Drakesbad, circa 1930. Courtesy of the Sifford Collection
Drakesbad, circa 1930. Courtesy of the Sifford Collection

In February, I inaugurated  a book-of-the-month, that featured Sagebrush Reflections. After all proceeds from book sales not only help support operations, but help finance future publications, in this case the stories behind the brands of the Pioneer.

Sixty Years of Siffords at Drakesbad is Roy Sifford’s memoirs of the six decades the family operated the famed resort inside Lassen Volcanic National Park.  How the family acquired it in 1900, happened by accident. Roy’s father, Alexander Sifford was a school teacher by day, and a bank accountant by night  In June 1900, he was just worn out. Friends suggested that he should, “Go to Drakes to camp, drink those hot and soda waters and it will help you.” And he did. So impressed by his experience, he convinced the 70-year old E.R. Drake to sale the springs and the rustic lodge. On June 20, 1900 the Siffords took possession and would remain at the helm until 1959 when Lassen Park took over Drakesbad. Of course, a lot things transpired over the years, it was in 1914, it was officially named Drakesbad, and in 1938, the original lodge was destroyed by the heavy snows, and a new one built.

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The Purdy clan: Susan, Ronda, Tim and Gary.

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The original Drakesbad Lodge. It was destroyed in the winter of 1937-38.

For those that have never been there, this is a hidden gem inside Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was Susanville resident, Alexander Sifford (1861-1957) who was key figure into transforming the place into a resort. However, in 1874, Thomas Malgin first settled in the upper end of the Warner Valley, and built a bath house to take advantage of Hot Springs Creek. Malgin focused more on raising sheep, than operating a remote tourist attraction.

Malgin was succeeded by Edward Drake, who in 1890 built the first lodge. His operation was simply known as Drake’s Spring. In June 1900, Susanville school teacher Alex Sifford arrived with his family as friends suggested the springs might help his ailments. Sifford was so taken away, that he negotiated to buy the place from Drake for $6,000. In 1914, for marketing purposes, the name was changed to Drakesbad. The Sifford family continued with operations until the 1950s when the last of their holdings was sold to Lassen Volcanic National Park. You can learn more by reading Roy Sifford’s memoirs  Sixty Years of Siffords: Darkesbad directly from this site.

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Camp Harvey

Harvey Cookhouse
Camp Harvey Cookhouse, 1947

Camp Harvey was a railroad logging camp during the 1940s of the Red River Lumber Company and later Fruit Growers Supply Company and located approximately 20 miles east of Poison Lake.

The cookhouses in logging camps always operated at a loss. However, a cookhouse could make or a break a camp—poor food resulted in an exodus of loggers. In 1948, Fruit Growers raised the price of a meal to one dollar at Camps Harvey and Stanford, and the complaints were loud and clear. Fruit Growers instead of losing 36 cents per meal, they only lost 8 cents.

In 1949, Fruit Growers leased the cookhouses and commissaries at those two camps to H.S. Anderson Company for one dollar. Fruit Growers thought maybe an outside company could handle the operations for more efficiently. They would never find an answer.

By the end of May the cookhouse crews represented by Local 769 of the Bartenders and Culinary Workers Union walked off the job in a wage and hour dispute. Logging came to standstill. The two camps with a population of nearly 500 became ghost towns, with Robert Simons and Harry Beal remaining as caretakers. After the weeks went on and no end to the strike Fruit Growers closed down the camps permanently. In addition, they abandoned that railroad logging line.

Harvey Medic143

Tomorrow: A photo gallery of Camp Harvey

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