Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Dispatches from the Lucky Land of Lassen

Wednesday morning in uptown Susanville

By Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff Publisher and Editor

Hello friends and neighbors! Happy Friday!

The Gift Thats Worth 1,000 Words

I love it when people bring me old pictures of Susanville and the surrounding area. Every once in a while, someone will show up here at the office, manilla envelope in hand, filled with a little trove of Susanville historical goodness. And I am always excited to see what pictures they bring!

I have been gifted with so many neat images from people like George Sargent who find these treasures tucked away in their collection and know how much I love to see them.

It also serves a useful constructive purpose too, because each photo gets scanned and after I have finished playing with them, I put a copy in the files at the museum to help preserve our local history. I’ve had people bring by old posters, scrapbooks, photo albums – all sorts of cool stuff they have found or collected over the years.

This week’s manilla envelope full of historical fun came from Susanville City Councilwoman Mendy Schuster. Mendy’s brother Steve Jackson was a bona fide financial legend in Susanville and northern Nevada. He worked in the banking and finance industry his entire life and he also had a keen interest in the history of the region.

A lot of you may remember Steve from his morning stock and financial reports on KSUE radio, something he did for many years.

In the early 1990’s he was the Vice President of First Interstate Bank, which had formerly been United California Bank. UCB had been built in 1966 and it was located at the corner of Main and Park Streets where RiteAid is now.

It is notable that UCB was built on the site of Potter’s Maternity Home, which was moved over to South Street near the community pool, to accommodate construction. Potter’s was the birthplace of literally hundreds of Susanville residents during the middle part of the 20th century.

The bank also later expanded and added a parking lot next door. Several old homes were literally picked up and moved to other parts of town to make way for UCB.

Mendy thinks that her brother was given these photos during the time he worked there, and there are some cool ones in the collection dating all the way back to the mid 1960’s.

Here are some of the neatest photos with a few notes of explanation. I don’t know a lot about these images and would love to hear from you guys if you recognize folks or have recollections of the bank. None of the pictures had dates or descriptions with them.

This is a photo of the groundbreaking for the bank. The bank opened in 1966 and this looks like summertime. Maybe 1964 or 65? Look! Miss Lassen and one of her royal counterparts is here at the groundbreaking. This looks exactly like a Susanville Ribbon cutting would look today. I do not know if the house in the background is Mrs. Potter’s Maternity Home, but I think it might be.

Here is what I think is the grand opening of the United California Bank, which I think took place in early 1966. But I can find no record in the newspapers specifically dating the grand opening. Do you recognize any of these local dignitaries and bank employees?

Here is a photo looking out the big glass windows on the Main Street side of the bank. You can see the old Safeway store, now the Grocery Outlet and the laundromat next door. A lovely, snowy Diamond Mountain in the background.

Here is the interior of the bank. You’ll notice from the sign out front that this party is to celebrate Bud Powers’ birthday. I don’t know who Bud Powers was, but he seems to have had a lot of friends.

I remember my parents taking my sister and I here in 1976, buying us commemorative bicentennial coin sets and then putting them in a safe deposit box over in the little vault you can see at the far end of the room.

The smell of the bank is a strong recollection for me from when I was a kid. And it always seemed so, incredibly quiet when we were in there.

And finally, a fun one of the UCB bowling team at the Sierra Lanes. The bank played a big part in this town. It started as United California Bank, then became First Interstate Bank and finally Tri-Counties Bank was in the building until it was torn down around 2018 to make way for the new drug store.

Thanks to Mendy for the neat trip down memory lane.

My Sister
On August 23rd, my younger sister Sarah, for reasons we still don’t know, fell unconscious while working in her front yard and spent several hours in the hot afternoon sun before she was found unresponsive by her neighbors.

She has been in the ICU at Renown for three weeks now, is slowly making progress, but is still unable to speak or move. Doctors are optimistic though and she is fighting hard to make a recovery.

Despite her paralysis, which doctors think is temporary, she is able to understand and rudimentarily communicate by blinking and smiling. It’s slow progress, but it is progress. For that we are grateful.

Thank you to all of you who have sent thoughts and prayers for Sarah. It means a lot to the family as we go through an incredibly stressful time.

This all happened about the same time as the big head-on collision out on Bass Hill and all of the ambulances in town were tied up, so we had to transport Sarah to Banner ourselves. I want to say a huge thank you to Leon Myers and his crew from the Susanville Fire Department, and the nice guys from Cal-FIRE Engine 2261 who showed up to help us get my sister safely into the car and to the hospital.

SusanvilleStuff turns 20 years old this month!
Amazingly, SusanvilleStuff.com will turn twenty years old this month. The domain was registered on September 21st, 2003 and has served as the internet home of all things Susanville for two decades.

We have lots of fun stuff planned over the next few weeks, including a whole bunch of new features and some cool 20th anniversary giveaways, trips back through the archives and lots of fun stuff to celebrate our twentieth birthday.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you here again next week!

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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