A couple weekends ago, I ventured out for a history-themed day ride, with the intent of visiting the WWII era U.S. internment camp for Japanese-Americans at Tulelake. Well, I never made it, as I got side-tracked in the history of Big Valley and western Lassen County, after making an impulse stop at the Big Valley Museum. Local history museums always have interesting artifacts from the local area and the staff are more than willing to share their knowledge of local history. The Big Valley Museum didn't disappoint - it was a slow day at the museum and the woman tending the store (I'll call her B - don't know if she'd want her real name plastered all over the internet) was very friendly and hadn't had anyone to chat with until my arrival. She pulled out all the stops (and parasols) for me, much to my delight!
But, before we get to fancy parasols and old carriages, we have to get to Bieber first. Leaving home, I hopped right on 299 and headed through Burney, then hung a right on 89, then left towards Cassel. The road to Cassel passed through green pastures on the one side, and parched pastures on the other.
I stayed on the backroads south of 299, skirting Fall River Mills and McArthur, passing through Pittville, and eventually returning to 299. At Bieber, I noticed the hand-made sign for the Big Valley Museum and made a quick turn to find it next to the library.
Lots of cool things, if you're into old stuff! Out back there are old wagons, some with the original brakes (a piece of a log!). Makes me appreciate the ABS on the GS!
They have the "insides" of the old Adin theater, including the chairs, film canister holders, and this old projector.
Inside the museum, there are the usual old bottle, photos, and knick knacks. These cool old hats and a parasol were in their excellent clothes collection. They were owned by Kate Gerig (b. 1896), and came from the big city of S.F. B remembered Kate as only wearing Levis, flannel shirts, and a cowboy hat, although her mother remembered Kate wearing the fancy hats. Reportedly, Kate's husband had a gambling problem, and when he spent money on gambling, she would spend money on hats (they eventually lost the farm).
After visiting at the museum for almost 2 hours, it was getting a bit late to continue on to Tulelake. Instead, I headed for Lookout, to view the blacksmith shop where the Lookout Lynching reportedly was planned. The Lookout lynching took place in 1901, and was the last "family" lynching in California.
Here's a synopsis, from a review of book about it;
The family was known as the "Hall Gang". The ring leader(?) was a one-time, US Army cavalry trooper named Calvin Hall (born in Ohio in 1829), his half-Pit River Native American son and step-sons, and a former drifter named Frank Yantis.
By May 1901, the local ranchers and townspeople were fed up with the antics of the Hall Gang. It had needlessly maimed and killed others' horses and cattle, stolen personal property, and even ransacked the Lookout school.... Isom Eades, a rancher, and J.W. Leventon, the Lookout blacksmith, pressed charges against the Halls and Yantis at the Modoc county seat in Alturas, and the accused were soon arrested for Burglary and Larceny. Faced with an inexperienced sheriff, a downgraded charge of the misdemeanor of Petty Larceny, and threats of revenge by the Hall Gang, the local citizenry took matters in their own hands. A lynch mob of forty people acquired new ropes, and then hung Calvin Hall, his three sons, and Yantis from two bridges in Lookout around 1 AM on May 31, 1901. Their bodies were left hanging until mid-morning.
Supposedly, the lynching was planned at the blacksmith shop in Lookout, where the ropes used for the hangings were hidden until the lynching. The blacksmith shop obviously is a tourist attraction (relatively speaking), as it has a fancy sign to identify it.
Although well preserved on the outside, the inside wasn't so tidy. It was better preserved than some other old buildings on the main drag, though. All that insulation is old cardboard boxes.
Upon leaving Lookout, I headed back south and east, to Adin, stopping at the Adin General Supply. It truly is a general supply - you can get just about anything here!
They make a mean roast beef sandwich, and there are picnic tables out back by the creek.
Lots of folks, with interesting vehicles, were coming and going.
After lunch, I continued south down 139, then took the loop around the western side of Eagle Lake, then back on 44/89. It was good to venture into the wild west and smell that high desert fragrance!