Communities
Alturas | Big Valley | Canby | Cedarville | Davis Creek | Eagleville | Fort Bidwell
Lake City | Likely | Lookout | Newell | New Pine Creek | Surprise Valley | Willow Ranch

Chambers in Modoc County

 
Surprise Valley Chamber
of Commerce
P. O. Box 518
Cedarville, CA 96104
Big Valley Chamber of Commerce
P. O. Box 327
Adin, CA 96006

 

Bieber Chamber of Commerce
P. O. Box 452
Bieber, CA 96009

 

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Alturas - As the seat of Modoc County, Alturas lies in the broad valley of the Pit River, near the center of the county. Alturas was originally called Dorris Bridge, after the Dorris brothers who first settled here in 1870. 1871 was a booming settlement year, and by February 1873 there were between 150 and 200 residents in the Pit River valley. Dorris Bridge began to take on the aspects of a bona fide town in 1873. An important early development was the public meeting hall. It was also used as a dance hall, theater, courthouse and church, and it unquestionably increased the community's prestige.
 

In the year 1876, the community was renamed Alturas, which is Spanish for "Valley on Top of a Mountain." First the post office changed its name, then the school district officially became Alturas, followed by the entire town. A visiting correspondent of the Reno Journal declared that the "little mountain town [is] . . . about the liveliest camp in the country". Today, the city is located at the junction of Highways 395 and 299, which place it on a north-south line between the Pacific Northwest and California's large population centers of Sacramento and Los Angeles. Alturas Municipal Airport provides charter flights to and from the Alturas area. Click here to visit the City of Alturas website.

 

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Big Valley - Between high mountain peaks, in the South west corner of Modoc County and the Northwest corner of Lassen County, is one of the most picturesque and unspoiled areas remaining.

Big Valley consists of four small towns: Adin, Lookout, Bieber, and Nubieber. All of these towns border the Ash Creek Wildlife area which covers more then 14,100 acres. About 3,000 acres are natural wetlands that are fed by the flow of six of more seasonal streams. This provides an excellent habitat for various types of wildlife, thus being the heart of Big Valley.
 

One can view sandhill cranes gracefully walking thru grassy marshes. Bald Eagles preparing to sit atop a fence post. Also see other wildlife in the area including mule deer, antelope, raccoons, muskrats, coyote, hawks, quail, sage grouse, pheasant, a variety of ducks, owls, and geese. In fact it is said that one-half of the worlds population of Cackling Geese find refuge here during the cold winter months.

The beautiful views as well as the abundance of water has provide all of the elements needed to keep this area thriving. The Pit River Indians lived here long before the white man set foot in the USA. The first settlers came to the area in the mid 1800's and began farming logging and gold mining. However up until a few years ago agriculture and logging were the main source of employment for most people living in the area. Due to restrictions placed on logging and water rights, several of the towns businesses, including the several mills, had no choice other than to close down. A large portion of the residents had to move elsewhere to find work.

Many of the people who have remained in the area still carry the last names of some of the first settlers that came to the area. One can experience breath taking views of not only the wildlife, but also Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen can clearly be seen from here. These small communities contain two local stores, two gas stations, and two hotels. It does not feature any of the qualities that a city may have, but is a great place to find tranquility and meet some of the friendliest people one could ever hope to encounter. (Lacy Summers)

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Canby - This area was settled in 1869 by the Hess family followed by the Popeís in 1870. At that time it was called Warm Springs Valley, probably for the nearby hot springs. In 1874, the name was changed to Canby with the appointment of James Pope as the first postmaster. General E. R. S. Canby, for whom the town was named, was killed in 1873 during the Modoc Indian War at the Lava Beds.

This was and still is a ranching community, but in the middle 1930ís the timber industry played an important factor in the growth of the town, and it became more than just "a wide spot in the road." At one time there were two mills operating here, along with two logging camps, sixteen miles of rail logging and a gandy dancer crew, and Canby was on itís way. The population grew to nearly 700 and there were over 100 students enrolled in the Arlington School. There was a cook and boarding house for the workers, a hotel, two stores, a service station, two bars and a community hall.

In 1966, the mill, then owned by Loveness Brothers, was destroyed by fire and Canbyís heyday was over. Families moved away in search of employment, but to those old timers who still live here, they have their memories of those days gone by. (Velma McCrary, 1997)

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Cedarville - Originally called Deep Creek, Cedarville was a camping place for wagon trains. Settled about 1864, William Cressler and John Bonner were running the trading post by 1867. This trading post can be seen at Cedarville Park. These men were instrumental in developing the town. They also built the first road over Cedar Pass. By 1880 Cedarville's population was 220 and it was the largest town in the valley. Historic buildings still line Main Street, housing many interesting businesses. Less than a mile south of Cedarville is access to the South Warner Wilderness Area via Deep Creek Road at Pepperdine Station. Aside from agriculture, major employers in the town are the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the schools and the hospital. Local merchants and businesses also provide employment. The town has both doctor and dentist, drug store with full-time pharmacist, a senior citizens center, grocery stores, auto parts outlets, lumber mill, service station, auto repair shops, gift boutiques, several eating establishments, a bed and breakfast inn, two motels, recreational vehicle parks, trailer court, and laundromat. Centrally located, Cedarville is the hub of the Valley. Cedarville is also home to the Modoc District Fairgrounds, where the refurbished collection of historic buildings called Louieville can be seen. Each year the fair is host to the Warner Mountains Roundup Rodeo in June, the District Fair every August, and the Frontier Christmas Fair in November. The fairground is available as an event center throughout the year and has one hundred recreational vehicle hook-ups, tennis courts, stables, showers, livestock facilities, kitchen and BBQ area, grandstand arena, meeting rooms and more.

Visit the Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce Website.

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Davis Creek - Supposedly founded by a early settler named Davis who was killed by Indians in 1868. The town was founded by Ramer and McKinley who founded a store here. In 1909 it had two general merchandise stores, George S Ramer and Watson & Hotchkiss. The Hotchkiss store was established in 1899 and had a ballroom upstairs. There were also two blacksmith shops and McGiltons Hotel. Note: The Hotchkiss store is still there, but the "Ballroom" has been removed from the top of the building. The Ramer House was torn down several years ago, and the land is now owned by Doug & Connie Dollarhide. The Cemetery was donated by Martin Henderson and is on a small rise behind the town....Mr. Henderson also had donated the Church which was moved to it's present location before the turn of the century and is presently restored and used for special occasions. (John Lewis)

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Eagleville - Tome Bare, believed to be the first homesteader in Surprise Valley, settled near Eagleville. The bald eagles that gave the town its name can still be seen each spring roosting high in the cottonwood trees. Once an important stage stop on the road north from Reno, Eagleville is now home to a store-deli, a pool hall, and a community center that was once the general store. The area is dotted with hot springs. Excellent fishing is found at East Creek, Sworinger Reservoir and Bare Creek.

Visit the Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce Website.

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Fort Bidwell - was founded as a military post in 1865 and named in honor of an early pioneer, General Bidwell. The fort encouraged businesses such as sawmills, stores, and hotels. About 1905 gold was discovered in the northern Warner Mountains. A mining town called High Grade sprung up in a canyon above Ft. Bidwell and a short-lived rush was on. The fort closed in 1892 and was used by the Department of Interior as an Indian School. The Fort Bidwell Native American community hosts an annual Cultural Gathering Pow Wow. Many historic sights remain in Fort Bidwell - Fort Bidwell church, was erected circa 1885 and still holds regular services - Fort Bidwell General Store was built in 1874 of stone from Bidwell Canyon, a virtual fireproof fortress, and remains one of the longest continuously operating stores in the state - Fort Bidwell Hotel and Restaurant opened in the early 1900s and operates today as both hotel and dinner house. At the north end of Main Street is a stone schoolhouse erected in 1917. Students now attend school in Cedarville. Remnants of the bank vault, established in 1907 are seen on Main Street next to Kober's Dry Goods Store. Fort Bidwell is the gateway to the North Warner Mountains. Four miles south of Fort Bidwell is Fandango Pass Road, following the emigrant trail over the Warners to Goose Lake. Surprise Valley views are spectacular. Northwest from Fort Bidwell is County Road 2, winding through the historic Highgrade mining area, past recreation areas of Cave and Lily Lakes and west to New Pine Creek. Also accessible from Fort Bidwell are Lake Annie and Fee Reservior, which offer fine fishing. It is a scenic drive from Fort Bidwell to Adel, Oregon, with abundant trout streams along the way.

Visit the Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce Website.

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Lake City - founded in 1864, was the first organized community in the area, and had the first saw mill, the first grist mill, the first school and the first wedding in the county. The flouring mill, constructed in 1867 still stands. The "49er" emigrant trail passed near Lake City and wagon tracks remain in some places. Geothermal activity is present around Lake City and offers a potential source of clean power. In 1951 there was an eruption spewing debris thousands of feet up from the mud volcanoes in the area. There is access to the Warner Mountains via Lake City Canyon Road along the scenic creek.

Visit the Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce Website.

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Likely - In 1878 when the residents of Likely petitioned for a post office they submitted the name of South Fork, for the branch of the Pit River and it was granted. The post office was short lived and it closed four years later. In 1886 the residents again petitioned for a post office and submitted the former name of South Fork. That was rejected since there was a South Fork Post Office in Humboldt County. After three more name submissions were rejected, the residents came up with the name of Likely, as in "the most likely name to be accepted" and it was. Today it is a small farming community just north of the Lassen-Modoc County lines on Highway 365.

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Lookout - Site of the Infamous Lookout Lynching, one of the most publicized cases ever tried in the west, when five men were hung in the spring of 1901. Over 25 men from the Lookout area were charged with the murder of the five men. In November 1901, one man was chosen to be indicated by the Grand Jury as a test case. His trial lasted over 90 days, and brought much unfavorable publicity to Modoc County. A "not Guilty" verdict was rendered, after some extenuating circumstances were pointed out. All other indictments were dismissed after the one trial.

 

 

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Newell - Site of the Tule Lake Relocation Center in Newell illuminates a dark time in U.S. history when during WWII nearly 19,000 Japanese-Americans were forced to live there between 1942-1946.

>> Visit: Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites

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New Pine Creek - The post office of New Pine Creek was established Dec. 8, 1876. Mr. Solomon Hammersley said there were 30 inhabitants and they expected to serve 75 people. Today, a small farming community just south of the Oregon boarder.

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Surprise Valley Surprise Valley lies in the northeastern most corner of California, adjacent to both Nevada and Oregon. The valley is bounded on the west by the Warner Mountains and by the Hayes Range on the east. Once covered by prehistoric Lake Surprise, this area of the Great Basin is rich in geological history. Rockhounds and sightseers will delight at impressive rock formations, such as the Bear and the Honey Pot, and may discover obsidian deposits, fossils, or petrified wood as you explore. Active geothermal areas and hot springs dot the valley as well.

Long the home of the Paiutes, the valley was first settled as a result of drought in the Sacramento Valley in 1863. The emigrant trail to California and Oregon passed through the valley and it is estimated that over 300,000 settlers used this route. Surprise Valley is now home of approximately 1,500 residents, many of whom are fourth and fifth generation valleyites. Agriculture has been the mainstay of the four valley communities. Cattle ranching and alfalfa hay production are still the leading enterprises. Cattle drives still take place across open terrain and along valley byways.

At an average elevation of 4,700 feet, the valley is approximately 70 miles long and averages 10 miles wide. Average precipitation ranges from 12 to 16 inches, with average accumulated snow depth of 18 inches or less in the winter. Mean temperatures range from 30 degrees Fahrenheit in winter to 71 degrees in summer. The growing season is 100 to 130 days and most vegetable thrive in this climate. Cattle, sheep and horses are common livestock, with llamas and yaks at the other end of the spectrum. The valley has its own school district, with both elementary and high schools; and a hospital district, with clinic, and acute and long term hospital care available. The is also an airport, Modoc District Fairgrounds, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management offices, Cedarville Park, many churches (some historic), and much more.

Visit the Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce Website.

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Willow Ranch - was originally called "Sniderville" named after the ranch owned by Charles and Andrew Snider. It in turn received it's name from the willow bordered creek which flowed through it...Old Willow Ranch was located about three miles from it's present site on Willow Creek. It was first a stage stop, and later became a trading post for the area's ranchers for miles around because there was no Lakeview or New Pine Creek. Actually a very old settlement, having been settled before 1869 by Andrew Snider. In the 1940's and 1950 it was home to a large sawmill and a sizable population, however not much remains there now, one old sawmill burner and remnants of the old Grammar School. It was serviced by the NCO Railroad and later the Southern Pacific....Today this Railroad is owned by the City of Lakeview and is still in operation. (John Lewis)