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Lassen County is a county located in the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of Californiamarker. As of 2000 the population was 33,828. The county seat is Susanvillemarker, the only incorporated city in the county.


Lassen County was formed on April 1, 1864 from parts of Plumasmarker and Shastamarker Counties following the two-day conflict known as the "Sagebrush War", also called the Roop County War, that started on February 15, 1863. 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.

The county was named after Peter Lassen, along with Mount Lassenmarker, which is actually in neighboring Shasta County. 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 Desertmarker in 1859, and his murder was never solved.

By the 1880's small towns began to spring up all over Lassen County. Bieber was at the north end of the county, in rich farm land. Hayden Hill was where a gold discovery happened, and a small town sprang up to support the miners. Hayden Hill no longer exists: as the mining stopped, the town's people 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, Californiamarker, this community to this day has about 50 people living in and around the town. A narrow gauge railroad ran through Lassen County from 1880 to 1927, and was called the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway. The N.C.O.R. was the longest small gauge of the century. It was meant to connect Reno, Nevadamarker to the Columbia River, but only of track were laid, from Reno to Lakeview, Oregonmarker.

In 1913 the Fernley & Lassen Railroad was built and would tap the large timber supplies of Lassen County. Along with this railroad being built, along came the Red River Lumber Company, who built the town of Westwood, Californiamarker to support their massive logging operation. Two other lumber mills followed the Red River Lumber Co. They built their mills in Susanville, Californiamarker. The Lassen Lumber & Box Company and the Fruit Growers Company both operated mills in Susanville for several decades.

In May 2007, Sierra Pacific Industries, based in Redding, Californiamarker, closed the last lumber mill in Susanville, due to the lack of large timber for the mill. The mill was structured as a large timber mill, and it would have taken several million dollars to convert it to cut small timber. Sierra Pacific was not willing to put that amount of money into the mill, so they decided to close it for good.


According to the U.S. 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 Parkmarker extends onto a western corner of the county.

Cities and towns

Hog Flat Reservoir covered in snow during Early April

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Transportation Infrastructure

Major highways

Public Transportation

Lassen Rural Bus (LRB) runs a local service in Susanville, and longer distance routes to Westwood and Doyle.


Susanville Municipal Airportmarker, Herlong Airportmarker and Westwood Airport are all general aviation airports.


As of the census 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 80.81% White, 8.84% Black or African American, 3.26% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.43% Pacific Islander, 3.23% from other races, and 2.69% from two or more races. 13.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.8% were of German, 12.1% Irish, 10.5% English, 8.7% Americanmarker 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. 24.5% of all households 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.


Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2008 65.8% 7,337 31.2% 3,545 2.4% 274
2004 71.0% 8,126 27.6% 3,158 1.4% 166
2000 66.9% 7,080 28.2% 2,982 4.9% 524
1996 52.6% 5,194 33.6% 3,318 13.8% 1,363
1992 37.0% 3,836 32.7% 3,388 30.3% 3,138
1988 58.6% 5,157 39.1% 3,446 2.3% 199
1984 61.1% 5,352 37.1% 3,254 1.8% 155
1980 54.4% 4,464 35.9% 2,941 9.7% 793
1976 43.0% 3,007 54.3% 3,801 2.7% 190
1972 50.8% 3,618 44.0% 3,134 5.2% 370
1968 41.1% 2,553 47.1% 2,930 11.8% 735
1964 34.3% 2,124 65.7% 4,072 0.1% 5
1960 40.2% 2,365 59.1% 3,472 0.7% 40

Lassen is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Lassen is part of California's California's 4th congressional district, which is held by Republican Tom McClintock. In the state legislature, Lassen is part of the 3rd Assembly district, which is held by Republican Dan Logue, and the 4th Senate district, which is held by Republican Dan Cox.

On Nov. 4, 2008 Lassen County voted 71.3 % for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.


  1. The Roop County War
  2. [ Lassen’s Past]
  3. [ Lassen’s Past]
  4. [ SPI Closes Lumber Mill]

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