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Susanville, California facts for kids

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City of Susanville
Historic Uptown Susanville
Historic Uptown Susanville
Nickname(s): 
The Hub of Northeastern California
Location in Lassen County and the state of California
Location in Lassen County and the state of California
Susanville, California is located in California
Susanville, California
Susanville, California
Location in California
Susanville, California is located in the United States
Susanville, California
Susanville, California
Location in the United States
Country United States
State California
County Lassen
Incorporated August 24, 1900
Named for Susan Roop
Area
 • Total 8.03 sq mi (20.80 km2)
 • Land 7.94 sq mi (20.58 km2)
 • Water 0.09 sq mi (0.22 km2)  1.07%
Elevation
4,186 ft (1,276 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 16,728
 • Density 2,106.80/sq mi (812.83/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
96127, 96130
Area code(s) 530 Exchanges: 251,252,257
FIPS code 06-77364
GNIS feature IDs 277619, 2412017
Downtown Susanville 2
Another view of Uptown Susanville

Susanville (formerly known as Rooptown) is a town in and the county seat of Lassen County, California, United States. Susanville is located on the Susan River in the southern part of the county, at an elevation of 4,186 feet (1,276 m). Its population is 16,728 as of the 2020 census, down from 17,947 from the 2010 census. Much of the population increase is due to new employees at two state prisons in the town.

Susanville, a former logging and mining town, is the site of two state prisons: the California Correctional Center, a minimum-medium security facility, which opened in 1963; and the High Desert State Prison, California (not to be confused with High Desert State Prison, Nevada), which opened in 1995. The Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong is nearby, having opened in 2001.

The prisons and their effects on the community, including the addition of local jobs, were explored in the documentary Prison Town, USA (2007), aired on PBS. Nearly half the adult population of Susanville works at the three prisons in the area, where 6,000 people are incarcerated.

Geography

Susanville is located at 40°24′59″N 120°39′11″W / 40.41639°N 120.65306°W / 40.41639; -120.65306. The elevation of Susanville is approximately 4,258 feet (1,298 m) above sea level. It is considered a gateway city to Reno on U.S. Route 395.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.8 km²), of which 7.9 square miles (20.5 km²) is land and 1.07% is water.

Eagle Lake is located 15 miles (24 km) north of the town.

Geology

Susanville is underlain by igneous rock, which provides the parent material for its well-drained brown stony to gravelly sandy loams or loams. On the western outskirts under forest cover, the soils are often reddish brown. The most common soil series in Susanville's urban area is Springmeyer gravelly fine sandy loam.

History

Susanville was named after Susan Roop, daughter of Isaac Roop, an early settler. It was first called Rooptown, and the present name was adopted in 1857. The Susanville US post office was established in 1860. Susanville was incorporated in 1900.

Formerly the center of farming, mining and the lumber industry, Susanville suffered from the loss of jobs as these industries changed or declined in the 20th century. Since the late 20th century, the only area of growth in the economy has been associated with the construction and operation of two state prisons in the city and one federal prison in the area. In 2007 half of the adult population of Susanville worked in the prisons: the California Correctional Center, a minimum-medium security facility, which opened in 1963; the High Desert State Prison, California (not to be confused with High Desert State Prison, Nevada), which opened in 1995; and the Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong, which opened in 2007.

Climate

Susanville has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dsb) with cold winters and very warm, mostly dry summers. Records have been kept at several stations since 1893, including Susanville Airport and Susanville 2 SW, southwest of the town centre, along with two other stations with shorter records. Using the 27 °F (−3 °C) isotherm for the coldest month instead, Susanville could also be classified as a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb).

Average January temperatures are a high of 40.4 °F (4.7 °C) and a low of 20.8 °F (−6.2 °C). Average July temperatures are a high of 88.4 °F (31.3 °C) and a low of 49.8 °F (9.9 °C). Temperatures reach 90 °F (32 °C) or higher on an average of 36.9 days annually, and drop to 32 °F (0 °C) or lower on an average of 164.6 days annually; freezing temperatures have been recorded in every month of the year and summer nighttime temperatures are usually cool, but extreme cold is rare and temperatures under 0 °F (−17.8 °C) are reached only on 2.9 days per winter. The highest recorded temperature in Susanville was 106 °F (41 °C) in July 1931, and the lowest recorded temperature was −23 °F (−31 °C) on February 1, 1956.

Annual precipitation averaged 13.44 inches (341 mm) from 1971 to 2000, with an average of 66 days with measurable precipitation. Susanville Airport has averaged a somewhat higher 15.04 inches (382.0 mm) between 1893 and 2012. At the airport the wettest calendar year has been 1907 with 33.51 inches (851.2 mm) and the driest 1976 with 5.33 inches (135.4 mm), though the wettest "rain year" was from July 1937 to June 1938 with 33.01 inches (838.5 mm) as against 32.42 inches (823.5 mm) between July 1906 and June 1907 and 4.36 inches (110.7 mm) in the driest rain year from July 1975 to June 1976. The most precipitation in one month was 12.30 inches (312.4 mm) in March 1907, and the most in 24 hours 5.04 inches (128.0 mm) on January 31, 1897.

Annual snowfall averages 18.7 inches (47.5 cm) at Susanville 2 SW and 32.8 inches (83 cm) at the airport, though the median at Susanville 2 SW is only 6.5 inches (16.5 cm). The most snowfall in one year was 89 inches (226.1 cm) in 1937, with the most in one month 65.5 inches (166 cm) in January 1895.

Climate data for Susanville 2 SW, California (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
(19.4)
69
(20.6)
81
(27.2)
90
(32.2)
96
(35.6)
102
(38.9)
106
(41.1)
105
(40.6)
101
(38.3)
90
(32.2)
83
(28.3)
65
(18.3)
106
(41.1)
Average high °F (°C) 40.4
(4.67)
45.9
(7.72)
53.3
(11.83)
61.3
(16.28)
70.3
(21.28)
79.6
(26.44)
88.7
(31.5)
87
(30.6)
78.4
(25.78)
66.4
(19.11)
51.9
(11.06)
41.8
(5.44)
63.8
(17.67)
Average low °F (°C) 20.9
(-6.17)
24.3
(-4.28)
28.8
(-1.78)
33.1
(0.61)
39.3
(4.06)
45.6
(7.56)
50.8
(10.44)
48.8
(9.33)
42.4
(5.78)
35.1
(1.72)
27.9
(-2.28)
22.3
(-5.39)
34.9
(1.61)
Record low °F (°C) −22
(-30)
−23
(-30.6)
−4
(-20)
13
(-10.6)
20
(-6.7)
25
(-3.9)
8
(-13.3)
31
(-0.6)
18
(-7.8)
14
(-10)
−1
(-18.3)
−22
(-30)
−23
(-30.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.36
(59.9)
2.06
(52.3)
1.53
(38.9)
0.57
(14.5)
0.88
(22.4)
0.45
(11.4)
0.28
(7.1)
0.19
(4.8)
0.49
(12.4)
1.00
(25.4)
1.65
(41.9)
1.98
(50.3)
13.44
(341.4)
Snowfall inches (cm) 7.3
(18.5)
1.8
(4.6)
2.6
(6.6)
0.4
(1)
0.1
(0.3)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
0.2
(0.5)
1.3
(3.3)
4.9
(12.4)
18.7
(47.5)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 8.3 8.6 8.2 6.0 5.1 3.5 2.0 1.8 3.1 4.5 7.2 7.5 65.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 2.8 1.1 1.0 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.7 1.7 7.8
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 882
1910 688
1920 918 33.4%
1930 1,358 47.9%
1940 1,575 16.0%
1950 5,338 238.9%
1960 5,598 4.9%
1970 6,608 18.0%
1980 6,520 −1.3%
1990 7,279 11.6%
2000 13,541 86.0%
2010 17,947 32.5%
2020 16,728 −6.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

At the 2010 census Susanville had a population of 17,947. The population density was 2,238.7 people per square mile (864.4/km2). The racial makeup of Susanville was 11,269 (62.8%) White, 2,249 (12.5%) African American, 212 (1.2%) Native American, 198 (1.1%) Asian, 111 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 2,928 (16.3%) from other races, and 580 (3.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4,259 persons (23.7%).

The census reported that 9,439 people (52.6% of the population) lived in households, 108 (0.6%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 8,400 (46.8%) were institutionalized.

There were 3,833 households, 1,357 (35.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,645 (42.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 499 (13.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 233 (6.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 327 (8.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 16 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,161 households (30.3%) were one person and 405 (10.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.46. There were 2,377 families (62.0% of households); the average family size was 3.05.

The age distribution was 2,559 people (14.3%) under the age of 18, 2,547 people (14.2%) aged 18 to 24, 7,633 people (42.5%) aged 25 to 44, 4,024 people (22.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,184 people (6.6%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 33.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 273.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 327.3 males.

There were 4,256 housing units at an average density of 530.9 per square mile, of the occupied units 1,974 (51.5%) were owner-occupied and 1,859 (48.5%) were rented. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.7%. 5,039 people (28.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 4,400 people (24.5%) lived in rental housing units.

2000

As of the census of 2000, there were 13,541 people in 3,516 households, including 2,250 families, in the city. The population density was 2,294.8 people per square mile (886.1/km2). There were 3,882 housing units at an average density of 657.9 per square mile (254.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.0% White, 12.5% African American, 3.2% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 3.5% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.6% of the population.

Of the 3,516 households 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 29.9% of households were one person and 10.7% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.10.

The age distribution was 20.0% under the age of 18, 13.6% from 18 to 24, 41.5% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% 65 or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 198.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 231.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,675, and the median family income was $45,216. Males had a median income of $29,973 versus $27,044 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,238. About 11.0% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.

Economy

Two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities, High Desert State Prison and California Correctional Center, are in Susanville.

Top employers

According to Susanville's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 High Desert State Prison 1,250
2 California Correctional Center 1,000
3 Lassen County 441
4 Susanville Indian Rancheria 295
5 Lassen College 267
6 Banner Lassen Medical Center 197
7 Diamond Mountain Casino 179
8 Walmart 150
9 Susanville School District 101
10 Lassen Nursing & Rehabilitation Center 101
11 Lassen Union High School District 85
12 Northeastern Rural Health 81
13 Safeway 80
14 City of Susanville 62
15 Susanville Supermarket IGA 48

Transportation

Susanville Railroad Depot
Susanville Railroad Depot, on the National Register of Historic Places, in 2013

Susanville lies at the junction of California State Routes 36 and 139. Highway 139 heads north to the Oregon border as a direct route to Klamath Falls. Highway 36 runs west to Red Bluff, then east to where it terminates with U.S. Route 395 just outside Susanville's city limits. U.S. 395 connects Alturas to the north and Reno to the south.

Susanville Municipal Airport, 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Susanville, serves as a public, general aviation airport. Lassen Rural Bus, operated by the Lassen County Transportation Commission, provided bus service within the city. Sage Stage, operated by Modoc County, connects Alturas, Susanville, and Reno, Nevada, with connections to Redding, California and Klamath Falls, Oregon.

The Quincy Railroad no longer serves Susanville on the former Southern Pacific Railroad line since 2004. A Union Pacific Railroad caboose has been placed on an intact section of track next to the rail depot.

Notable people

  • Dugan Aguilar (1947–2018), Maidu/Achomawi/Northern Paiute photographer
  • Hardin Barry, baseball player and lawyer, returned to practice law after a one-season career in professional baseball
  • Frank Cady, actor (Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies).
  • Aaron Duran, writer, media producer grew up in Susanville.
  • Jack Ellena, former Los Angeles Rams player, born and raised in Susanville and ran a summer camp near town
  • Mike Leach, Mississippi State's head football coach was born in Susanville.
  • Mitch Lively, former player for the San Francisco Giants, was born in Susanville
  • Kevin Mangold, professional jockey, stunt double, actor, author
  • Freddy Nagel, bandleader
  • Ryan O'Callaghan, NFL player (Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots).
  • Frank Shamrock, mixed martial artist
  • Ken Shamrock, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler
  • Mike Skinner, NASCAR driver
  • Benjamin "Coach" Wade, reality television contestant
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