Westwood

Westwood, California is a community based in Lassen County. It is just 20 miles from Susanville and has an elevation of 5128 feet. The population has just over 1600 people and it is the mythical home of Paul Bunyon. Westwood was built upon lava flows that came from the Cascade Mountain Range volcanoes that lie to the north of Westwood while Keddie ridge lies at the northern end of the Sierra Mountain Range.

Westwood, California was built by T. B. Walker and was supposed to the operations center for Red River Lumber Company starting in 1913. During that same year, they put in their first post office. During this time, the Red River Lumber company was considered to be the worlds largest electrical saw mill and it also operated one of the first electrical railways in the state of California during 1927. This mill was equipped with the most modern equipment for that time period and the surrounding territory had crisscrossed forest railways that would bring logs to the mill. The shop there was home to the 2-8-2- #104 and the 2-8-0 #102 during the 1950s when the forest railway operations finally stopped. The other wood engines were scrapped in 1953.

During 1916, William Laughead who was an advertising copywriter who had originally worked within a lumber camp, took stories of an old lumberjack that he knew and turned them into a very modern character for the time. He then sold the stories about Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox to Red River Lumber Company and then published a pamphlet that introduced Mr. Paul Bunyon of Westwood, California. As well as other things, Laughead who named the blue ox Babe, come up with the idea that Babe and Paul Bunyon were huge in size and made the very first pictorial version of Paul Bunyon and his blue ox.

Red River Lumber Company used their electric mill there at Westwood to create some unique plywood boxes, windows, doors and venetian blinds that were then shipped all over the United States and then all over the globe. Then in 1942, the Westwood Mill would then be given a world record for sawing over 212 million boards.

Westwood High School would become the Lumberjacks and eventually they had a large indoor shopping mall that started in the 1930s, as well as a skating rink, large theater, and even a club for the Westwood mill workers. The town would eventually be sold to Fruit Growers Supply Company in 1944, which was a sister company to Sunkist Growers. Unfortunately, in 1956, the plant closed and the town was sold again but to developers and residents.

Another interesting thing about Westwood, California is that they actually had an early form of cable television. A local variety store owner provided television service to the community. During this time there were only 3 channels to be viewed in Westwood. Channel 12 CBS, Channel 3 NBC and Channel 7 ABC which came from various towns. Multiple antennas were mounted outside of town and a coax cable was then run up and down the various alleys. For just a small monthly fee, the home could have television without having to have 3 different antennas on their roof.