History Day (3rd Grade)


The Eastman Collection

During the major part of the 1900s, Mr. Jervie H. Eastman photographed many beautiful scenes and people of Northern California. And, during his life time he was able to gather old photographs from other professional photographers in the area, which he added to his collection.

When studying Lassen County History, it would be an oversight to forget this man's photographic work. So much of our history is reflected in his pictures.

His business focused on printing and developing photo postal cards. He is credited with developing a machine in 1907 that would increase the number of finished postals to 200 per hour.

Jervie died in 1969 in Susanville at the age of 88.

As one of his portrait customers said, "His relaxed manner and winning smile made it easy to feel comfortable as one sat before this man's camera and had your picture taken."

Mr. Eastman is the subject of one of the historic murals in Susanville. He is pictured with a bi-plane and his company car stuck in the mud. The old timers tell me that Jervie did not fly the plane and that most of the aerial photos were made by his younger partner--Merle Simmons.

If you have the time, please look over what the University of California at Davis has put on their Eastman Collection web-site.

Click to learn more....

Post Office

Isaac Roop was Susanville's first Postmaster. Stories have been told about how he served in this position when he ran Roop's Trading Post in 1854. He knew the importance of folks being in contact with family and friends back in the "States." Some say that he was very dedicated to delivering that "long awaited letter" to the members of the community.

President James Buchanan officially appointed him Postmaster in 1859. He served in that position for 10 years and was Susanville's Postmaster when he died in 1869.

Susan Roop Arnold, Isaac's daughter, will greet the students in or around Roop's Fort. She will tell stories about her father and the importance that he played in the development of the city of Susanville and the Honey Lake Valley. Being Postmaster was, and still is, an important responsibility.

Peter Lassen will also be at Roop's Fort this year to talk with students and tell a few of his stories as well.

In past years the Lassen County Historical Society and the Susanville Postmaster have worked together to make a commemorative cancellation stamp. Local artist Cende Hill designed a stamp. During Isaac Roop's Birthday celebration, the students and the public have had the opportunity to send letters that were officially stamped and cancelled from Roop's Fort Station - just as they were in the early pioneer days!

When you visit Roop's Fort be sure to ask Susan about the delicious peaches that are on the table.

Enjoy your visit to the oldest building in Lassen County!

3rd Grade History Day Letter

Janet Corey
Past President of the Lassen County Historical Society


Isaac Roop founded the town of Susanville in 1854. He started with a trading post, which was located on the Nobles' Emigrant trail. Before resuming their trip to California, the early pioneers actually circled their wagons and spent the night in, our local Memorial Park.

Several years ago the Lassen County Historical Society combined with interested Lassen County Third Grade Teachers to present local history to the local students with a living history program. One of the important criteria, cited in the beginning plan, was to aim for a program where the students would be actively involved and not just entertained.

Our educational plan also recommended that the students study Lassen County History in their classrooms, read and listen to the stories, make hand crafted items to trade and barter in the park that day, make and assemble pioneer costumes and "poke sacks" and then, on the second Friday in March of each year, they gather in Susanville to celebrate Lassen County's history. It is important to note that Isaac Roop's birthday is March 13.

This special day includes an uptown walking tour along which students will visit stations where they will learn about and experience Lassen County's past.

On one of the stops, the students will take a cemetery tour. At the cemetery they will learn about some of our former community folks. They also learn that cemeteries are a respectful place and are not as spooky as the movies and cartoons tell us. Cemeteries are where families come together.

Next, the students will visit the courthouse square. They will witness a living history presentation. On the courthouse steps they will learn that Isaac Roop donated this piece of property, as well as the cemetery, for his new town. They are reminded that Isaac Roop not only founded the City of Susanville, but that he was the first Provisional Territorial Governor of the State of Nevada. In recognition of Isaac Roop serving as the first Provisional Territorial Governor of the State of Nevada, our community sponsored an Isaac Roop portrait. Artist Ben Barker painted the portrait. The frame was designed and made by craftsman Austin Meinert. The framed portrait was presented to the State of Nevada and is on display in the Governor's Gallery in the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City. Be sure to take a look when you are visiting that area and remember to sign the guest book!

The students then visit the local women's club (The Monticola Club House) where they will meet a pioneer woman. She shares her story of crossing the country in a covered wagon. The destination was Susanville and the Honey Lake Valley. At the end of her talk, she introduces the students to a string and button game that entertained her on her travels in the covered wagon. It was the perfect toy for the trip as it was small and fitted nicely into her apron pocket (and it didn't require batteries!) Each student receives a button toy as they leave the building.

Another stop on the tour is a visit to the Lassen County Arts Council. Here the students will be able to see their own exhibit of Lassen County History. Students will also meet representatives from local Native American tribes who will share their stories and traditions.

The next presentation will be at the local power company office, Lassen Municipal Utility Department. There they will find Mrs. Carol Fontanna. Here the students will sing and clap and learn about the music and songs that were enjoyed by the emigrants on the pioneer trails. If they are lucky enough, perhaps Mrs. Fontanna will play a tune for them on her fiddle!

At the next stop, students will visit the historic Campfire Cabin where they will participate in a living history presentation of Dr. Moody. Dr. Moody arrived in Lassen County in 1861 and was a colorful local character famous for his Sage Brush Liniment.

The students then continue their walking tour and head for the Susanville Memorial Park. Here they will find Roop's Fort. Roop's Fort started out as a trading post, known as the Roop House. It also served as the areas first post office. In 1865, this is the place where the local folks met and formed their own "State of Nataqua". The building is also the site of the famous "Sage Brush War". This "war" was a short skirmish between the good folks of Plumas County and the good folks of Susanville and the Honey Lake Valley. The site is registered as an Historic Landmark.

At Roop's Fort the students may meet Susan Roop Arnold. Susan will tell the students about the importance of mail to connect local folks with family back in the "States". Be sure to ask Susan about the peaches that are found on the table inside the fort.

The students will also have the opportunity to mail a postcard or letter at Roop's Fort and have it stamped with the special cancellation stamp made to commemorate the day.

The students then cross Paiute Creek and eat lunch in the park. They can meet a quilter and an old-fashioned schoolteacher. They can encounter a camp of cowboys. They can take a try at shaving, toss a cowchip, and try to rope a cow.

The students are usually thirsty by this time and are ready to barter with the ladies from Nataqua Parlor, Native Daughters of the Golden West, for some apple cider.

A large map of the pioneer trails will be hung between two of the trees in the park. Students wanting to know more about the trails can study the map and talk to the people there.

In about the middle of the park the students will find bales of straw set up and ready for bartering. Volunteers arrive in the park and the folks begin to barter for goodies and items of interest that have been made by the students.

In the gazebo in the park, a group of musicians, Hunter Crossing, will be performing. They enjoy music and we are privileged to have them join us this year. Please take a few minutes to stop and listen to what they are playing and "name the tune".

We expect over 300 students again this year to attend Isaac Roop Day. This number does not include parents, teachers or bus drivers!

It has been a very successful adventure for all the people that have been privileged to attend and participate over the years.

In the past the Susanville City Council has proclaimed the week "Isaac Roop Week" in honor of their founding Father.

Also in the past the local Rotary Club has placed American Flags along Main Street Susanville in honor of Isaac Roop's Birthday (if it isn't raining!). These folks also have to get up early to place these flags and then take them down again after work. We are very appreciative of their effort!

The Lassen High School marquee usually has mention of the day's celebration.

We hope that those who have experienced Isaac Roop Day will look back and remember the good times that we had.

Please join us to make this a meaningful and historic step back into the time that Isaac Roop walked our streets.

Let us tell the story right and share it with all our 3rd Grade Students.

Thank you for taking the time and interest to read this long cover letter.

Mrs. Janet Corey, Past President, Lassen County Historical Society 

History Day Reference Books