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HomeThis Day in HistoryThis Day in Susanville History - July 26th, 1899

This Day in Susanville History – July 26th, 1899

Looking south at Standish circa 1910, Neils mercantile on the left and the Reed Hotel on the right.

Lassen County Colony
Interview with W. E. Smythe, President of the Standish Colony.
July 26th, 1899

The recently founded colony near Amedee, Lassen county, according to the statement made to a JOURNAL reporter by the founder, W. E. Smythe, is in a flourishing condition and bids fair to prove a practical demonstration of the theory upon which he is working.

Thirty people, half the number from local districts and half from the thickly populated State of New York, are industriously cultivating farms on the colony tract of 7,000 acres. The settlers who came from the east were furnished transportation by the Associated Colony Company, and are developing their property on borrowed capital.

They are also furnished with the means to establish small industries, such as pork packing or creameries. They all work under an expert superintendent who is thoroughly familiar with all features of western farming.

A colony hall has been built, which is to serve for social purposes. A public library is to be installed in the fall. The eastern settlers are doing well and making good reports to the various colonial clubs of which they are members.

In speaking of the Standish colony, and its object, Mr. Smythe says, “We hope to make this colony the ground for an experiment in a social and economic way. There is room in the west for the surplus population of the east, and many would willingly come if they had the means. Aided by philanthropists in Boston and New York, a test is being made of a method of co-operative settlement similar to the method pursued by building and loan associations.”

“More than $60,000,000 has been utilized by building and loan associations for the purpose of enabling worthy and industrious people to build homes in the suburbs of eastern cities. In this way over 260,000 families have obtained homes with other people’s capital.”

“Our idea is that a twenty or forty acre irrigated farm in California or Nevada, with an industrious family on it, is better security for capital than a twenty-five foot lot and a little dwelling in the suburbs of Boston or New York. A man who borrows money from a co-operative fund merely to build a house in a town gets a shelter and that is all. The man who borrows to make a self sustaining home on irrigated land gets not only this, but a certain living. He works for himself, and when he is old his little farm is an old-age pension, and when he dies it sustains his family.”

“If we can show that there is security and current interest in such an investment we can command unlimited capital and so open the doors of the west to the surplus eastern population.”

We are always looking for new pictures to preserve and share in our historical photo collection and we would love to see yours.Your picture will be added to our digital archive for future use and we will make sure you receive credit whenever possible. Email your contribution along with your name and a short description of what you’ve sent to A digital copy of every submission will also be donated to the Lassen Historical Society for preservation in their files.


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Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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