On Sunday, June 25th, historian and author Jo Ann Beresford Perkins presented a slide show about the town of Mineral to members and guests of the Shingletown Historical Society at the Van Stellman Hall. She began her presentation by thanking the Salvation Army in Red Bluff, who helped her write her memoirs, which became her book, Population 85, The Story of a Small Town in Northern California.
Her Nebraska-raised grandfather came to Northern California and, together with Mr. Warren Woodson, the founder of Corning, purchased 480 acres for a high-mountain settlement, and named it after the nearby Mineral Springs. The name of the settlement eventually became Mineral. Jo Ann was told that the first white citizen of this settlement was Ina Morgan in 1864.
The US Forest Service made its headquarters in Mineral Springs in 1905.
In the early 1930s, downhill skiing became popular. An early ski run was constructed by Jo Ann’s father, near the present location of the south entrance to Lassen National Park, and a lift carried people up the mountain. Jo Ann showed a 1948 photo of a skier, a participant in the Lassen Inferno Ski Race, who had come down the south face, jumping over the road! This guy looked like he was flying in a death-defying jump! Jo Ann was an avid skier until 2001, when she broke her hip skiing at the age of 70.
In 1935, a lodge was built (rebuilt after a fire in 1949), with a restaurant, bar, grocery store, and twenty housekeeping cabins for the numerous tourists making their way to the cooler elevations.
The lodge was owned and managed by Joanne's parents.
The town of Mineral boasted a one-room schoolhouse, about eight miles from what is now the southern park entrance, where the local children were provided a comprehensive education - so much so that Joanne, after graduating from Red Bluff High School, went on to the University of California at Berkeley, where she received a degree in Sociology. But Joanne had many interests and, instead, became an airline stewardess. She eventually married and returned to Mineral to manage the continually-improved lodge until 1980.
Attendees seemed interested in going to see Mineral in-person. “You could visit, but you might be disappointed,” was Jo Ann’s reply, with a grin.
Joanne's book, Population 85, gives an in-depth look at the town of Mineral, the chronology of the growth of the resort, and the development of the south entrance of Lassen National Park. Copies are available at the Shingletown Historical Society Museum.
Wanted: People with a lively curiosity & an interest in local history. No experience necessary. Training provided. Call Beverly 1-530-474-5110