New book highlights Susanville history
Descriptive photo captions accompany each photo, bringing Susanville’s history to life. Even though some of the photos are more than a century old, the places are still recognizable, such as Main Street Susanville in 1862 with the Elks Lodge in the far background, the old courthouse built in 1867 and the old Methodist Church.
Even though the photo shows Purity Grocery Store, people would recognize the building its in located on the corner of North Gay and Main streets. The photo caption said the building was often called the Home Hotel because it also had rooms, a lobby and an office. It moved to Shasta and Cottage streets and later became Food Lane.
Another familiar building is the Roseberry House located on the North and Lassen streets. Thomas and Viola Roseberry built the house in 1902. In the book, McCormack said, Thomas Roseberry died in 1915, “while hiking Mt. Lassen after its eruption.”
After his death and the loss of the Emerson Hotel, Viola Roseberry remodeled the home and opened it for room and board.
In 1915, the Emerson Hotel burned down in a fire, which destroyed the entire block of Lassen Street and the old Methodist Church.
McCormack said after the fire, the current Methodist church was rebuilt with bricks.
Other familiar facilities include the old fire station located near City Hall on North Lassen Street and people swimming in Roosevelt Pool before a building was constructed around it.
The book also features photos of prominent people whose names are still recognized today. There is a photo of Susan Roop Arnold, daughter of Susanville founder Isaac Roop and for whom Susanville was named after.
The book features a picture of Kate Haley and Stephen Bass, who married and ran a large ranch and farm between Johnstonville and Janesville. They also supplied fruit and vegetables to local mercantiles and markets.
There is also a photo of Leslie Mastolier, owner of Leslie’s Jewelry Store. In addition, a man identified as Mr. Murin is also in the photo. According to the photo caption, Murin ran a laundromat in the back of the store. A photo of Helen Sargent, owner of the Grand Cafe, pouring a cup of coffee is also featured in the book.
According to McCormack the Grand Café was first opened in 1909 by Kwan Wong. In 1921, Steve Sargent and Sam Vucanovich took over the business. Sergeant married Helen in 1928 and McCormack said, “She became a familiar face in the restaurant for more than 50 years.”
A photo of Frank P. Cady, who served two terms as Lassen County’s sheriff from 1889 to 1892, is also in the book.
The book also captures the days when the lumber industry made up a big portion of Susanville’s economy. The book features photos of the mill, built by the Lassen Lumber and Box Company, located at the end of Modoc Street. One photo shows oxen hauling a load of lumber past the Methodist Church. McCormack said other mills used horses and wagons to make deliveries.
According to the book, the lumber industry grew due to the help of the railroad. Pictures of the active Susanville Railroad Depot are also included along with a train running after a big snowstorm.
The educational history in Susanville is also captured in the book with photos of Washington School formerly named Susanville Grammar School.
According to McCormack, in the grammar schools expanded to include a high school in 1903. There is a photo of the students who attended the first high school. The photo captions explains that before high school classes were offered, many students went to San Francisco to complete high school, and often boarded together.
In 1906, a new Lassen High School facility was constructed.
There are several photos of LHS students in the classroom or walking along Main Street in addition to photos of the sport teams. There is also a photo of students playing basketball on a dirt court behind the high school.
McCormack said, “As the high school thrived, sports became a source of entertainment and competition.”
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