Wednesday – Saturday 9:00 – 5:00pm
Summer Hours: June – October
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 – 5:00pm
The existing historic Susanvillle Railroad Depot was built by Southern Pacific Railroad in 1927 and is a wonderful historical landmark. It is located on a 1.3-acre property acquired from Southern Pacific Transportation Company in November 1988 for $35,000. SPTC had given the building to the City of Susanville for firefighting practice. The City of Susanville chose to give the building to Lassen Land & Trails Trust which owns it at this time.
Total square footage of the existing building is approximately 2,050 square feet. The original depot was converted to a freight shed which burned in 1989. The existing structure was built in 1927.
The U.S. Forest Service has awarded two separate Challenge Cost Share Grants for renovation of the interior and exterior of the building totaling $88,584. Renovation work was conducted under a contract with Lon Fitton Design. The Grand Re-Opening of the Depot was June 4, 1994 as part of the National Trails Day celebration.
A State Habitat Conservation Fund grant for $54,000 was awarded for landscape improvements. The U.S. Forest Service provided grants totaling $23,300 for matching funds while the Trust allocated an additional $5,000 award towards the renovation project. Work has been completed with sidewalks installed, utilities under grounded, a fence and sign constructed, outdoor lighting, a paved parking lot and landscaping. The T.B. Walker Family Foundation was also integral in adding informational exhibits to the Depot.
Lassen Land & Trails Trust manages the facility under a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Lassen County Chamber of Commerce, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service. The western 3/4 of the building is used as a visitor center and museum. The facility also serves as the office and headquarters for Lassen Land & Trails Trust.
Timeline: Fernley and Lassen Line, Lumber Companies, and Susanville Railroad Depot
1912 T.B. Walker signs a contract with the Southern Pacific to build the Fernley and Lassen Line to the site of his new mill and company town, later known as Westwood. Susanville is disappointed not to be chosen as the location of Walker’s mill.
1913 Southern Pacific builds the Susanville Depot on the Fernley and Lassen Branch Line, bringing an end to the multi-team horse-drawn freight wagons and stage coaches that serviced the area for nearly 60 years.
1918 Lassen Lumber and Box opens near the Susanville Depot
1921 Fruit Growers Supply Company is completed and put into operation across the tracks from Lassen Lumber and Box. Fruit Growers Supply Company hires 1,200 employees for its mill.
1927 Depot expands to better accommodate rail pass.
1932 Forty-eight percent of all lumber produce in the nation went into box shook for fruit and vegetable boxes.
1933 Railroad passenger service in Susanville ends.
1944 Fruit Growers Supply Company purchases Red River Lumber Company’s Westwood mill, company town, and timber tracts.
1952 Fruit Growers Supply Company purchases Lassen Lumber and Box for its water rights to the Susan River. Fruit Growers Supply Company is considering conversion of the mill to a paper pulp mill to produce cardboard and would need additional water for the conversion.
1955 December floods damage Fernley and Lassen Branch Line between Susanville and Westwood, Southern Pacific decides not to repair that section of the line due to lack of freight from Westwood mill.
1956 Citrus growers completely switch from using wooden boxes to cardboard boxes.
1978 Southern Pacific legally abandons Susanville to Westwood segment of the Fernley and Lassen Branch Line. In 1979 freight service ends, Southern Pacific continues to use building as a warehouse for truck shipping until 1981.
1987 Southern Pacific proposes that Susanville Fire Department burn the Depot as a training exercise. Local citizens Lon Fitton and Jim Saake appeal to the City Counsel to stop the burn. Lassen Land and Trails Trust forms to protect and purchase the structure.
1989 A fire of unknown origin damages the 1927 Depot and destroys the 1913 freight shed.
1993-1994 Susanville Railroad Depot is restored.
Present The Depot serves as visitor center, museum, trailhead for the Bizz Johnson Trail, and home of Lassen Land and Trails Trust.