On the Trail of Peter Lassen

I am working on a picture book biography of Peter Lassen, the old Danish pioneer whose name is all over Northern California. I have written about his mysterious death previously on this blog.

Today I went to Susanville to find out more about Lassen. It was a beautiful day for a drive up into the mountains, where it was nice and cool compared to the Sacramento Valley.


Susanville has a fine historical museum, where all the artifacts are neatly arranged and well labeled. It is open Tuesdays through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday 10-1.


There is a nice section on Peter Lassen and Isaac Roop, the founder of Susanville. The lovely young lady next to handsome Mr. Roop in the painting is his daughter Susan, for whom the town and the Susan River are named.


The display includes Lassen’s Danish Meerschaum pipe. It was fun to see that, a genuine item linked to Lassen. The docent at the museum was also kind enough to let me look through their files on Peter Lassen.


Behind the museum is Roop’s Fort, a log building that was once Isaac Roop’s trading post, but during the Sagebrush War of 1863 it became a stockade with the rather grandiose name of Fort Defiance. One of these days I will tell you more about the Sagebrush War.


After a visit to Lassen’s grave (more about that next time) we had lunch at the Pioneer Cafe and visited Margie’s Book Nook next door. I never could resist a bookstore, especially one with piles of used books.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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