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LMUD Presents: This Day in Susanville History – January 23rd, 1950

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Susanville from Inspiration Point in the early 1950’s. From an Eastman Studios Postcard.

Susanville Prepares Celebration of Golden Anniversary as ‘City”
January 23, 1950

There are new years and new years, but this New Year brings a double significance to Susanville because it marks not only the middle of a century, but also the town’s 50th birthday year.

Susanville will be 50 years old as an incorporated city in 1950 and the Chamber of Commerce is already starting plans for a celebration on the exact day of incorporation.

The fifty years have brought many drastic changes in this city and county. The town’s population jumped from an approximate 688 in 1900 to 5,358 now, according to the 1948 special census. The Lassen county population increased from 4,511 at the turn of the century to an estimated 20,500 today.

Peculiar to Lassen county, some of the changes are: Because farmers were spread out more through farming areas, and because children could not go great distances to school, there were far more school districts and rural schools in 1900 than there are today.

The county did not have a high school until 1902 when Lassen Union High School was organized.

The Courthouse was a two-story frame building, and there was a stone hall of records.

The one bank was the Bank of Lassen county. Main street was composed of frame structures, homes and empty lots with trees growing on them. On upper Main street where a garage now stands was a livery stable.

One of the town’s most prominent landmarks today was standing in 1900; the handsome old structure the B.P.O. Elks Lodge at the head of Main street, which at the turn of the century was the home of Dr. Leonard, a local dentist.

A blacksmith shop stood on Main Street where the J.C. Penney store now stands. Also on Main Street was a brewery, and there were livery stables at the present site of the Sierra Jewelry and the St. Francis Hotel.

Main Street was still a dirt road lined with board side-walks and without lighting. Although there was a city water system, owned and operated by Frank P, Cady, there was not yet a sanitary district.

The 1900 semi-annual statement of the condition of the Bank of Lassen county showed that there was a total of $202,499.02 in resources, of which $89,975.72 was in loans and discounts; $107,742.43 was due from banks and in money on hand. $1,100 was in furniture and fixtures; and 53,680.87 was in expenses and taxes paid. Liabilities consisted of $10,000 for capital stock; $2,823.98 for profit and loss; and $189,675.04 in deposits.

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