Lassen County (/ˈlæsən/ (listen)) is a county in the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 34,895.[2] The county seat and only incorporated city is Susanville.[3] Lassen County comprises the Susanville, California, micropolitan statistical area. A former farming, mining and lumber area, its economy now depends on employment at one federal and two state prisons; the former in Herlong and the latter two in Susanville. In 2007, half the adults in Susanville worked in one of the facilities.[4]

History

Lassen County was formed on April 1, 1864, from parts of Plumas and Shasta counties following the two-day conflict known as the Sagebrush War, also called the Roop County War,[5] that started on February 15, 1863. Due to uncertainties over the California border, the area that is now Lassen County was part of the unofficial Nataqua Territory and Roop County, Nevada, during the late 1850s and early 1860s.

The county was named by California after Peter Lassen,[6] along with Lassen Peak, which is in adjoining Shasta County.[7] Lassen was one of General John C. Fremont's guides, and a famous trapper, frontiersman, and Indian fighter. He was murdered under mysterious circumstances near the Black Rock Desert in 1859, and his murder was never solved.

By the 1880s small towns began to spring up all over Lassen County. Bieber developed at the north end of the county, in rich farm land. Gold was discovered at Hayden Hill, and the small town developed to support the miners. Hayden Hill no longer exists: when the mining stopped, the townspeople left for other communities. Madeline was formed at the north end of another rich farming valley, and along the railroad tracks heading north to Alturas, California. This community still has about 50 people living in and around the town. In the 1890s many immigrant family groups arrived in the county, primarily coming from Lincolnshire and Herefordshire, England as well as the towns of Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac in Serbia.[8][9] Several "Yankee" settlers arrived from Waldo County, Maine and Lincoln County, Maine as well.[10]

During World War I, the area was heavily in favor of American entry into the war, and a disproportionate amount of volunteers from Lassen County signed up to take part in the war effort. A pro-German newspaper editor from San Francisco noted that "the inhabitants of Lassen County" were "sympathetic to Britain, hostile to Germany, and indifferent to France."[11][12][8][13]

A narrow gauge railroad, the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway, ran through Lassen County from 1880 to 1927. The NCOR was the longest small gauge of the century. It was intended to connect Reno, Nevada, to the Columbia River, but only 238 miles (383 km) of track were laid, from Reno to Lakeview, Oregon.

In 1913, the Fernley & Lassen Railroad was built and it was used to export timber from the large forests of Lassen County. As this railroad was completed, the Red River Lumber Company set up shop,[6] building the town of Westwood, California, to support its massive logging operation. Two other lumber mills followed the Red River Lumber Co. They built their mills in the county seat of Susanville. The Lassen Lumber and Box Company and the Fruit Growers Company both operated mills in Susanville for several decades.

In 2003, Anderson-based Sierra Pacific Industries announced plans to relocate or lay off 150 workers as they closed the last lumber mill in Susanville due to the lack of large timber for the mill.[14] Sierra Pacific chose to close the mill permanently rather than spend the several million dollars required to convert the mill from large to small timber.

Since the late 20th century, three prisons have been opened in and near Susanville: California Correctional Center (minimum security, 1963) and High Desert State Prison (California) (maximum security, 1995), both in the city; and the nearby Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong (opened 2007). In 2007, half the adults in Susanville worked in one of the three prisons.[4] In "job-starved rural America, ... residents see them [prisons] as the last and only chance for employment after work at the lumber mill or the dairy dries up."[4]

Geography

Hog Flat Reservoir covered in snow during early April

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,720 square miles (12,200 km2), of which 4,541 square miles (11,760 km2) is land and 179 square miles (460 km2) (3.8%) is water.[15] Part of Lassen Volcanic National Park extends onto a western corner of the county.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

2011

Places by population, race, and income

2010

Historical population
Census Pop.
18701,327
18803,340151.7%
18904,23926.9%
19004,5116.4%
19104,8026.5%
19208,50777.2%
193012,58948.0%
194014,47915.0%
195018,47427.6%
196013,597−26.4%
197014,96010.0%
198021,66144.8%
199027,59827.4%
200033,82822.6%
201034,8953.2%
202032,730−6.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[24]
1790–1960[25] 1900–1990[26]
1990–2000[27] 2010–2015[2]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Lassen County had a population of 34,895. The racial makeup of Lassen County was 25,532 (73.2%) White, 2,834 (8.1%) African American, 1,234 (3.5%) Native American, 356 (1.0%) Asian, 165 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 3,562 (10.2%) from other races, and 1,212 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6,117 persons (17.5%).[28]

2000

As of the census[29] of 2000, there were 33,828 people, 9,625 households, and 6,776 families residing in the county. The population density was 7 people per square mile (3/km2). There were 12,000 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 80.8% White, 8.8% Black or African American, 3.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 13.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.8% were of German, 12.1% Irish, 10.5% English, 8.7% American and 5.0% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 88.2% spoke English and 10.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 9,625 households, out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% were non-families. Of all households, 24.5% were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.8% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 36.9% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 168.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 192.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,310, and the median income for a family was $43,398. Males had a median income of $37,333 versus $26,561 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,749. About 11.1% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

Voter registration

Cities by population and voter registration

Overview

From 1932 through 1976, Lassen was powerfully Democratic, voting for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election save 1972, when it voted for Nixon over McGovern by just 6.8%. From 1980 on, however, it has been overwhelmingly Republican in presidential and congressional elections; Jimmy Carter (in 1976) remains the last Democrat to have carried the county. In both 2016 and 2020, Lassen stood as Donald Trump's best county in the state, giving him a 50% or greater margin over overwhelming statewide winners Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

United States presidential election results for Lassen County, California[31]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 8,970 74.47% 2,799 23.24% 276 2.29%
2016 7,574 70.79% 2,224 20.79% 901 8.42%
2012 7,296 68.03% 3,053 28.47% 376 3.51%
2008 7,483 65.45% 3,586 31.37% 364 3.18%
2004 8,126 70.97% 3,158 27.58% 166 1.45%
2000 7,080 66.88% 2,982 28.17% 524 4.95%
1996 5,194 52.60% 3,318 33.60% 1,363 13.80%
1992 3,836 37.02% 3,388 32.70% 3,138 30.28%
1988 5,157 58.59% 3,446 39.15% 199 2.26%
1984 5,352 61.09% 3,254 37.14% 155 1.77%
1980 4,464 54.45% 2,941 35.87% 793 9.67%
1976 3,007 42.97% 3,801 54.32% 190 2.72%
1972 3,618 50.80% 3,134 44.00% 370 5.20%
1968 2,553 41.06% 2,930 47.12% 735 11.82%
1964 2,124 34.25% 4,072 65.67% 5 0.08%
1960 2,365 40.24% 3,472 59.08% 40 0.68%
1956 2,533 42.48% 3,412 57.22% 18 0.30%
1952 3,313 43.66% 4,237 55.83% 39 0.51%
1948 1,960 33.95% 3,632 62.91% 181 3.14%
1944 1,896 33.92% 3,678 65.81% 15 0.27%
1940 1,902 30.13% 4,367 69.17% 44 0.70%
1936 1,035 19.62% 4,193 79.47% 48 0.91%
1932 1,167 26.89% 3,056 70.41% 117 2.70%
1928 2,111 56.73% 1,597 42.92% 13 0.35%
1924 1,072 40.78% 356 13.54% 1,201 45.68%
1920 1,582 66.22% 643 26.92% 164 6.86%
1916 877 36.96% 1,323 55.75% 173 7.29%
1912 27 1.91% 644 45.61% 741 52.48%
1908 551 54.61% 361 35.78% 97 9.61%
1904 573 62.69% 301 32.93% 40 4.38%
1900 549 58.10% 326 34.50% 70 7.41%
1896 420 43.66% 528 54.89% 14 1.46%
1892 540 48.09% 524 46.66% 59 5.25%


Lassen County is in California's 1st congressional district, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa.[32] is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Ted Gaines,[33] and the 1st Assembly District, represented by Republican Megan Dahle.[34]

Crime

The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates

Infrastructure

Airports

Susanville Municipal Airport, Herlong Airport and Westwood Airport are general aviation airports in the county.

Major highways

Public transportation

Lassen Rural Bus (LRB), operated by the Lassen Transit Service Agency, runs a local service in Susanville, and longer distance routes to Westwood and Doyle.

Utilities

The Lassen Municipal Utility District (LMUD) is the primary electric utility in the county, and was created in 1986 by purchasing transmission facilities from CP National (now Pacificorp) at a cost of $19 million.[37][38] In 2019 it had 42 employees, and the General Manager was Doug C. Smith.[39] It is powered in part by the Honey Lake biomass power plant, which runs on wood waste from the nearby Lassen National Forest.[40] The Whaleback Fire caused a significant outage in 2018.[41]

Communities

City

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2020 census of Lassen County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2020 Census)
1 Susanville City 16,728
2 Janesville CDP 2,461
3 Westwood CDP 1,541
4 Johnstonville CDP 973
5 Patton Village CDP 632
6 Susanville Indian Rancheria[42] AIAN 570
7 Doyle CDP 536
8 Bieber CDP 266
9 Herlong CDP 237
10 Spaulding CDP 206
11 Clear Creek CDP 175
12 Litchfield CDP 160
13 Milford CDP 147
14 Stones Landing CDP 86
15 Little Valley CDP 84
15 Madeline CDP 21
16 Nubieber CDP 19

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  2. ^ Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
  3. ^ a b Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.
  4. ^ Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.

References

  1. ^ "Hat Mountain". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Taylor, Robert. "'Prison Town' a view from outside," Contra Costa Times, 28 July 2007; hosted at Mercury News.
  5. ^ The Roop County War Archived 2008-07-18 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b Lassen County History, Lassen County, California Genweb Project, 2006, accessed January 14, 2014
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 182.
  8. ^ a b Serbian Studies, Volumes 4-5 - North American Society for Serbian Studies, 1986
  9. ^ Henderson, George; Olasiji, Thompson Dele (1995). Migrants, Immigrants, and Slaves: Racial and Ethnic Groups in America. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-9738-6.
  10. ^ Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 355
  11. ^ The Projection of Britain British Overseas Publicity and Propaganda 1919-1939 by Philip M. Taylor, Taylor Philip M. Taylor · 1981
  12. ^ Serb World. 5–6. Neven Publishing Corporation. 1988. p. 40.
  13. ^ California at War The State and the People During World War I By Diane M. T. North · 2018
  14. ^ "Town's Last Mill to Be Shut Down", Los Angeles Times, 18 December 2003
  15. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  17. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  18. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  19. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  20. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  21. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  22. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  23. ^ Data unavailable
  24. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  25. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  26. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  27. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  28. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau.
  29. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration Archived July 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  31. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  32. ^ "California's 1st Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  33. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  34. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009 Archived 2013-12-02 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  36. ^ a b c United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2012, Table 8 (California). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  37. ^ "About | Lassen Municipal Utility District". www.lmud.org. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  38. ^ Commission, United States Federal Energy Regulatory (1988). Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Reports. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  39. ^ "SMUD chief made nearly $580,000 last year – among highest in California". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on September 14, 2019. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  40. ^ "Wood Waste Helps Keep the Lights on in Rural Communities". www.usda.gov. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  41. ^ "Whaleback Fire Near Spalding Fully Contained At 18,703 Acres". www.ktvn.com. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  42. ^ Staff, Website Services & Coordination. "US Census Bureau 2020 Census". www.census.gov. Retrieved January 21, 2022.

External links