A Guide to the Records of
Collection No. 91-16
Jim Bryant began this collection because of an interest he had in the Fernley and Lassen Railroad, a branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad which ran from Fernley, Nevada, to the vicinity of Susanville, Lassen County, California. This research brought to his attention the lumber industry of northern California which was inextricably tied to the railroad.
Red River Lumber Company
Thomas Walker was the owner and founder of the Red River Lumber Company of Minnesota. By the end of the nineteenth century his company was closing down production in Minnesota and acquiring property in northeastern California where land was remote but cheap. Walker's Lassen County holdings were the first proposed for development, beginning with the "Big Mill" begun in 1912 in the new company town of Westwood. This mill was to be the most elaborate and modern mill anywhere in the country. By 1914 the "Big Mill" had cut its first log. Westwood soon became a total lumber manufacturing complex, with a box factory, lath mill, moulding and siding department, sash and door factory, and veneer plant. By 1921 Westwood had a population of 5,000.
The Great Depression of the 1930s hit the lumber industry hard, as use of lumber and wood products in the United States declined with the economy and stockpiles grew. In 1944 the mill, town, and about 100,000 acres of timber were sold to the Fruit Growers Supply Company.
Fernley and Lassen Railroad
As mentioned previously, the newly developing lumber area of northeast California was isolated, enabling Walker to purchase land cheaply. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company heard rumors of Walker's large scale plans for lumbering by 1907. Walker's need for rail transportation coincided with the S.P.'s plan to open up the northern area with a proposed line intended to connect Portland, Oregon, with San Diego, California, by way of Klammath Falls, Susanville, and stations in Nevada. Engineering crews spent four years surveying possible routes, and although the S.P.'s full plans were never realized, the Fernley and Lassen Railroad was built between 1912 and 1914 and served the transportation needs of the lumber industry in northeastern California.
The Fernley and Lassen Railroad extended from Fernley, Nevada, to Westwood, where by 1918 two passenger trains arrived daily, along with freight and logging trains. Between 1918 and 1934, both the Lassen Lumber and Box Company and the Fruit Growers Exchange Company had established branch lines from Westwood into their holdings. Then, local business slowed with the arrival of the Western Pacific Railroad lines to Westwood in 1931 and by 1934 passenger service to Westwood ended. Seasonal logging trains continued to run to Westwood until the end of 1952 when the Fruit Growers abandoned its logging railroad and camps. Local rail freighting ended in 1956 and in 1978 the Interstate Commerce Commission approved the S.P.'s petition of abandonment of the Fernley and Lassen Railroad.
Fruit Growers Supply Company
Although the Fruit Growers Supply Company (FGSC) was incorporated in 1921, its first purchase of timber land was in 1919, when the company acquired 40,090 acres from E.S. Collins. In 1920 the FGSC began building and operating a logging railroad from Westwood Junction into the Company's timber lands; this was the longest-lived railroad connected with the Fernley and Lassen Branch. The Company also built a large mill in Susanville across the railroad tracks from the Lassen Lumber and Box Company's mill. FGSC bought out the Red River Lumber Company holdings in Westwood in 1944, acquiring the mill, town, and timber. The company abandoned its logging railroad and camp in 1952 and sold its operations in 1963.
Lassen Lumber and Box Company
Lassen Lumber and Box Company (LLBC) was established in 1918 and built a large mill near the Susanville depot that same year. As with the Fruit Growers, LLBC had its own railroad spur from Westwood into its logging operations. The company sold its holdings to the Fruit Growers Supply Company in 1950.
"Bizz" Johnson Trail
The "Bizz" Johnson Trail, named for California Congressman Harold "Bizz" Johnson, who served in the U.S. Congress from 1958-1980, follows 24.5 miles of the old Fernley and Lassen Railroad right-of-way between Susanville and Mason Station, four miles north of Westwood. Much of the trail traverses the Susan River Canyon and is used as a hiking and equestrian trail in the summer and by cross-country skiers and snowmobilers during the winter. This was a Rails to Trails project, part of a national effort to transform old railroad rights-of-way into public use trails. Much volunteer labor went into construction of the trail; Mr. Bryant was a participant in that project which was completed in 1986.
* Information for company histories was gathered from material found in the Jim Bryant Papers.
Scope and Content
The papers of Jim Bryant were donated to the Special Collections Department in April, 1991. They consist of 4.5 cubic feet of records, approximately 50 maps, and several thousand photographs; the inclusive dates of the collection are 1909-1989. There are no restrictions on use of the collection.
Included in the collection are partial records of logging and railroad companies of northeastern California, research notes about specific companies and the logging and railroad industries of northeastern California in general; and correspondence with individuals and archival repositories pertaining to those subjects. Following an adaptation of Mr. Bryant's original order, the collection has been arranged in alphabetically, principally by name of company. Printed materials such as books and pamphlets were removed from the collection and transferred to the Special Collections Department book stacks; xeroxes of the covers of these materials are included in the collection. Photographs were also removed and transferred to the Department's photo archives.
The bulk of the collection consists of files related to the "Bizz" Johnson Trail, Fernley and Lassen/Southern Pacific Railroads, Fruit Growers Supply Company, Lassen County government records pertaining to lumbering, Lassen Lumber and Box Company, and Red River Lumber Company. Papers found under these subjects consists of a combination of original documents and photocopies of originals, news clippings, and abstracts from researched sources. Some examples of specific documents include articles of incorporation and amendments to same, correspondence, petitions, Coroner's inquest transcriptions, court cases, maps of rail lines, Supervisors' resolutions, and articles from local newspapers and lumber magazines such as the Timberman, the Westwood Independent and Sugar Pine, and Lassen Mail and Advocate. Also included are research index cards, maps, and photographs. Maps which did not physically fit into file folders in the appropriate locations were flattened, placed in oversize map folders, and inventoried. The map inventory appears at the end of this guide.
Other companies or organizations represented in the collection include the Associated Lumber and Box Company; California State Railroad Commission and Board of Equalization; California, Shasta and Eastern Railroad; Great Northern Railway Company; Lassen Electric Company/Electric Supply Company; Lassen Logging Company; Northern California Railroad; Scott-Graff Lumber Company; Sierra Pine Products; Walker Investments, Inc.; Western Timber Treating Company; Westwood Auto Club; and Winn and Company. General subject files include logging, railroads, Long Valley, Sawmills, Susanville, and Westwood.
Processed by: Susan Searcy
Date: May 23, 1991
1/1 Associated Lumber and Box Company. Articles of Incorporation. 1940.
2/1-17 "Bizz" Johnson Trail.
2/1 Report to the U.S. Forest Service.
2/2 Susanville-Westwood Trail Recreation Area Management Plan. n.d. [ca 1983].
2/3 Susanville Depot.
2/4 Historic railroad and logging sites.
2/5 Trail maps and sketches.
2/7 Press package. 1987.
2/8 Southern Pacific structures.
2/9 History materials. Photocopies of S.P. Company's G.M.O.'s [General Manager's Orders?] for the Westwood Branchline Railroad.
2/10-16 History materials. Branch time tables. Sept. 10, 1914-April 28, 1957.
2/17 History materials. [Fernley & Lassen R.R.]. n.d. [ca 1909-1917].
3/1-3 California Railroad Commission. Opinions, Orders, etc. related to Susanville area railroads (in order by application number). #6806-21,486.
4/1 California State Board of Equalization. Statements to Lassen County Auditor regarding the length of railroad tracks in the state and in Lassen County and assessed value. 1922; 1923.
5/1 California, Shasta and Eastern Railroad. Certificates of Winding Up and Dissolution. 1946.
6/1-5 Fernley and Lassen Railroad. See also Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
6/1 Articles of Incorporation. 1909.
6/2 Right of way.
6/3 Abandonment. 1981; 1984.
6/4 Summary of survey and construction on rail line from Susanville to Westwood, Calif.
6/5 Research correspondence.
7/1-21 Fruit Growers Supply Company.
7/1-2 Articles of Incorporation, amendments. 1921-1968.
7/3 Minutes of Board of Directors (selected). Aug. 8, Nov. 5, and Nov. 26, 1919; and Aug. 21, 1963.
7/4 General correspondence.
7/5 Indenture and related correspondence. 1920; 1923.
7/6 Superior Court cases, Lassen County.
7/7 Roster of equipment sold to F.G.S. Co.
7/8 Oral interview with John "Red" Hart. 1980.
7/9 Notes on historic silent motion picture held by F.G.S. Co.
7/10 Rail crossing details, Susan River.
7/11 Map of F.G.S. Co. mill site at Susanville.
7/12 Photo copy of 1935 Forest Service map showing F.G.S. Co. rail lines.
7/13 Camp Bunyan logging line. Map.
7/14 Maps of Lassen operation rail lines.
7/15 Articles from the Lassen Advocate. 1932.
7/16 Articles from the Lassen Mail. 1922-1932.
7/17 Articles from the Sugar Pine Press. 1950.
7/18 Articles from the Timberman. 1922; 1924.
7/19 Articles from the Westwood Sugar Pine. 1932.
7/20 Research in the Tillotson Collection, Stanford University.
7/8/1 Great Northern Railway Company. Charter, Amendments to Articles of Incorporation. 1931-1952.
9/1-20 Lassen County.
9/1 Correspondence. 1913-1938.
9/2 Correspondence regarding the Lassen County exhibit in the California Building of the Panama Pacific International Exposition. 1915.
9/3-4 Railroad petitions, ordinances, Supervisors' resolutions. 1922-1934.
9/5 Report of Fact Finding Committee of the Chamber of Commerce [regarding economics of county government]. n.d. [ca 1932].
9/6 Great Register for Lassen County (voter registration). Westwood and Susanville, names of loggers and railroaders. 1938-1946; 1919-1924.
9/7 Superior Court. List of lumber industry related court cases.
9/8 Superior Court. List of Southern Pacific Railroad cases.
9/9-15 Coroner's Juries findings (lumber company related deaths). 1914-1934.
9/16 General information.
9/17 Background on Westwood and "color."
9/18 Maps of Lassen County and Lassen National Forest.
9/19 Lassen County history articles by Tim I. Purdy.
9/20 Lassen Ledger (Journal of the Lassen County Historical Society).
10/1 Lassen Electric Company/Electric Supply Company. Fictitious name statements and change of address statement. 1920; 1926.
11/1-2 Lassen Logging Company.
11/1 Articles of Incorporation. 1918.
12/1-14 Lassen Lumber and Box Company.
12/1 Articles of Incorporation, Amended Articles, Dissolution of Corporation. 1918-1952.
12/2 General correspondence. 1919; 1933; 1982.
12/3 Court cases.
12/4 Transcript, L.D. Armstrong Company vs Lassen Lumber and Box Company. 1925.
12/5 Map of rail lines.
12/8 Research notes, Fred Abby, source. 1981.
12/9 Articles in the Lassen Advocate. 1917.
12/10-11 Articles in the Lassen Weekly Mail. 1917; 1922-31.
12/12 Articles in the Timberman. 1917-18; 1924.
12/13 Articles in the Westwood Independent. 1917-1919.
12/14 Articles in the Westwood Sugar Pine. 1932.
13/1 Northern California Railroad. Articles of Incorporation and Certificates of Winding-Up and Dissolution. 1927-1946.
14/1-47 Red River Lumber Company.
14/1 Articles of Incorporation and Dissolution. 1910-1948.
14/2 Correspondence and legal documents. 1916-1939.
14/3 Resolutions from and applications to the Lassen County Board of Supervisors and the Railroad Commission of California. 1932-1935.
14/4 Agreements with Plumas County.
14/5 Grant deed to Fruit Growers Supply Company. 1944.
14/6 Time studies of the company by H. Frodsham. 1920-1922.
14/7 Safety book.
14/8 Rolling stock rosters, Red River Lumber Company, Fruit Growers Supply Company, and Lassen Lumber and Box Company.
14/9-10 Maps showing Red River Lumber Co. rail lines.
14/11 Research notes.
14/13 Articles in the Lassen Advocate. 1900-1935.
14/14-15 Articles in the Lassen Mail. 1913-1931.
14/16-21 Articles in the Timberman. 1913-1922.
14/22-39 Articles in the Timberman. 1923-1949.
14/40-41 Articles in the Westwood Independent. 1917-1919.
14/42-43 Articles in the Westwood Sugar Pine. 1921-1932.
14/44 Research notes: Vick Rinehart, Robert Stanford, Cliff Rusk.
14/45 Research notes: Niel Merrill, Bob Rea, John Webb, and A. "Red" Le Comti.
14/46 Edition of "Paul Bunyan and His Blue Ox" and newspaper clippings.
14/47 Notes. See box 6.
15/1 Scott-Graff Lumber Company. Articles of Incorporation. 1903.
16/1 Sierra Pine Products Company. Certificate of Co-Partnership. May 1925.
17/1-20 Southern Pacific Railroad Company. See also "Bizz" Johnson Trail and the Fernley and Lassen Railroad files.
17/1 Misc. copies of documents.
17/2 Contracts. 1916.
17/3-8 Newspaper notes. Pre-1912 to 1922.
17/9 General notes. Cal. Val. Sec. 14.
17/10 General notes. Stations and spurs. Stacy MP 345.2.
17/11 Stations and spurs. Wendel MP 358.7.
17/12 Stations and spurs. Susanyard MP 380.6; Susanville MP 381.9; Smith Spur MP 385.7; Spur MP 386.0.
17/13 Stations and spurs. Fredonia MP 388.9; Bunnel MP 390.1.
17/14 Stations and spurs. Salal MP 393.3; Goumaz MP 394.8.
17/15 Stations and spurs. Wheaton MP 397.3. See also Western Timber Treating Company.
17/16 Stations and spurs. Blair MP 399.4.
17/17 Stations and spurs. Westwood Junction MP 400.1; Lasco MP 402.3; Facht MP 406.6.
17/18 Stations and spurs. Mason MP 407.2; Fir MP 407.7; Clover MP 408.6; Conman MP 410.1; Westwood MP 411.3.
17/19 Notes of interview with C.W. Worden, S.P. Engineer; Alton Wright, S.P. Engineer; and Paul Oby, S.P. Conductor.
17/20 Notes of interview with Vernon L. Foster, S.P. Engineer; Tony Sever, S.P. Telegrapher at Westwood; and roger Rio, S.P. Section Foreman.
18/1 Walker Investments, Inc. Certificate of Winding-Up and Dissolution. 1938.
19/1-2 Western Pacific Railroad Company.
19/1 Statement of Opposition to their Northern California Extension. 1929.
19/2 Station rosters and correspondence with Henry E. Bender, Jr.
20/1 Western Timber Treating Company. See also "Southern Pacific stations and spurs, Wheaton."
21/1 Westwood Auto Club. Correspondence and petition to Lassen County Supervisors. 1921-1923.
22/1 Winn and Company. Statement of Partnership. 1922.
23/1-7 General research notes.
23/1 Forest data. "Lumber Production in California and Nevada, 1952-1957" by Richard H. May. "Lassen County. Selected Socio-Economic Data" by the University of California, Davis Cooperative Extension. .
23/2 Logging and railroads.
23/3 Long Valley.
23/4 Railroad history, northern California and western Nevada.
24/1-19 Research correspondence with individuals and manuscript repositories.
24/1 Correspondence to Bryant from Julian "Bud" Lesser. 1982.
24/2 Correspondence to Bryant from Dana Supernowicz. 1982.
24/3 Correspondence with Jim Cooper. 1982.
24/4 Correspondence with David Myrick. 1981-1982.
24/5 Correspondence with Ray B. Chipman (T.R.L. Co.).
24/6-7 Correspondence with Ray Piltz (McCloud R.R. Co.). 1981-1987.
24/8 Correspondence with Doug S. Richter (roster information). 1981-1989.
24/9 Correspondence of Tim Purdy on behalf of Jim Bryant. 1981-1982.
24/10 Correspondence with Tim Purdy.
24/11 Correspondence John E. Evans. Logging car information. 1986.
24/12 Correspondence with Gage McKinney (E.S. Collins, F.G.S. Co.). 1982-1983.
24/13 Research notes, Tillotson Collection, Stanford University.
24/14 Research notes, Forest History Society. 1982.
24/15 Research notes, Minnesota Historical Society.
24/16 Research notes, California State Railroad Museum Library.
24/17 Research notes, Bancroft Library.
24/18 Research notes, California State Archives. 1982-1989.
24/19 Xeroxes of title pages of publications not retained with the manuscript collection.
Research note cards:
91-16/7/22 Fruit Growers Supply Co. Personnel and resource index.
91-16/7/23 Fruit Growers Supply Co. Map index.
91-16/7/24 Fruit Growers Supply Co. Equipment roster for F.G.S. Co., Lassen Lumber and Box Co., and Red River Lumber Co.
91-16/7/25 Fruit Growers Supply Co. Notes.
91-16/12/15 Lassen Lumber and Box Company. Notes.
Research note cards:
91-16/14/47 Red River Lumber Company. Notes.
A number of maps accompanied the Bryant collection. Those which were small enough to fit into a file folder were left in their original locations. Maps too large for legal size file folders were removed from their original location (a separation sheet was inserted in the file folder describing the new location), flattened, inventoried, and placed in a manuscript map case drawer. All maps the collection pertain to Lassen and Shasta County logging and lumber companies and date from 1909 to 1979.
25/1-32 Logging camp and cutover maps. ca 1923-1945.
25/33 Grazing Leases, Lassen National Forrest. 1952 and 1953 on a 1938 base map.
25/34 Burney Mountain-Hat Creek area, Shasta County, Calif. Topographic map. Jan. 23, 1945.
25/35 Lasco Timber Sale. Railroad Grade Map with colored pencil annotations. 1979.
25/36 Camp Bunyan Logging Line, Fruit Growers' Supply Co. Manuscript map, blue and red ink. n.d.
25/37 U.S.G.S. topographic map, compiled of maps of 3 quads in Lassen County. Annotated in red ink to show rail line of Bunyan Logging Line.
25/38-46 Southern Pacific Company. Plans of railroad buildings at Wendel and Susanville, Calif. Aug. 1923-Oct. 1930.
25/47 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bogard District, Lassen National Forest. Annotated to show Camp Bunyan Logging Line. 1952.
25/48 Map of Lassen County showing Western Pacific's routes of proposed highway relocation. 1930 on base map of 1918.
25/49 Exhibit "A," the W.P.R.R. Little Valley. Proposed county road change and grade. May 1933. Blueprint with colored pencil.
25/50a&b U.S.G.S. map compiled of 4 quads, with annotations showing rail lines and logging camp sites, Lassen County. ca 1955 base maps.
25/51 U.S.G.S. map compiled of 2 quads showing rail lines in Lassen County. 1956 and 1957 base maps.
25/52 U.S.G.S. map, Little Valley, Calif. quad (lower 1/2 of map only). 1957.
25/53 U.S.G.S. map, Antelope Mountain, Calif. 1956.
25/54a&b Architectural drawing, Western Pacific RR. Passenger Depot Type No. 11 (for Wendover, Nevada). Base drawing 1909. Blueprint and black print.
25/55 Squaw Valley timber sale map. Lassen National Forest. n.d.
25/56 South Clover timber sale map, railroad Grade map. n.d.
25/57-61 Overlay maps of mylar and colored ink [showing timber sales, logging camps]. Moonlight/Greenville, Westwood; Lasco; Clover Butte; Susanville-McCoy Flat; and Squaw Valley. n.d.
25/62 Collins Almanor Forest. Red River Lumber Company railroad lines. n.d.
Several hundred photographs were donated with the Jim Bryant Collection. They include copy prints and original images depicting logging camps, lumber railroads, lumber company mill sites, and Fernley and Lassen Railroad rolling stock. The main companies documented are the Red River Lumber Company, Fruit Growers' Supply Company, Lassen Lumber and Box Company, and the Fernley and Lassen Railroad. These images have been transferred to the photo archives of the Department.