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California Counties

The state of California is divided into fifty-eight counties. On January 4, 1850, the California constitutional committee recommended the formation of 18 counties. They were Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mount Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Sutter. The last California county to have been established is Imperial County in 1907.

Lassen County, California

Lassen County Education, Geography, and History

Lassen County, Califronia Courthouse

Lassen County is a county located in the northeastern portion of the state of California. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 34,895. The county seat and only incorporated city is Susanville. Lassen county was created April 1, 1864. The county name is from Mount Lassen which was named for Peter Lassen, one of General Fremont's guides and a famous trapper, frontiersman and Indian fighter.

Lassen County comprises the Susanville, California micropolitan statistical area.

Etymology - Origin of Lassen County Name

Lassen county is named from Mount Lassen, which was named for Peter Lassen, one of General Fremont's guides and a famous trapper, frontiersman and Indian fighter. He was killed by the Paiutes at the base of the mountain in 1859.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Lassen County History

Lassen County was formed in 1864 from parts of Plumas and Shasta Counties. Due to uncertainties over the California border, what is now Lassen County was part of the unofficial Nataqua Territory and Roop County, Nevada during the late 1850s and early 1860s.

In the 1840's, John C. Fremont and his army followed the trails left behind by fur trappers exploring the area in the 1830's to prepare for the Bear Flag revolt, which led to the creation of California.

With the Gold Rush of 1849 and emigrants following established trail routes through the area, it was not until 1854 that the area began to take shape, as a trading post was established on the west end of Honey Lake Valley. A small gold rush just south of the trading post two years later caused the permanent settlement of Honey Lake Valley and Lassen County.

Due to a growing dispute over land boundaries and taxes, in 1863 the Sagebrush War resulted. After a victorious end for the residents in the area, Lassen County was created.

By 1880, many settlements had developed in the area, and the railroad industry had begun to grow interests in the area. The Nevada-California-Oregon Railway (NCO), which operated from 1880 to 1927, was the longest narrow gauge line in the nation in this century, traversing the eastern side of the County and assisted in the development of the high desert region of eastern Lassen. The Fernley & Lassen Railroad, built in 1913, tapped into western Lassen's timber resources.

Also shaping the area at that time was the lumber industry, particularly the Red River Lumber Company of Westwood, the world's largest electrical sawmill of that time, and two other large mills which developed in the Susanville area.

Other towns in the area, (Herlong, Janesville, Doyle, Standish, Bieber Hayden Hill and Wendel) all had their place in developing County of Lassen during this time as well.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,720 square miles (12,226 km2), of which, 4,557 square miles (11,803 km2) of it is land and 163 square miles (422 km2) of it (3.46%) is water. Part of Lassen Volcanic National Park extends onto a western corner of the county.

Lassen County is an outdoor dream, where the striking Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains meet the desert of the Great Basin.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Modoc County
  • East: Washoe County, Nev.
  • South: Sierra County
  • Southwest: Plumas County
  • West: Shasta County


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