Native American attacks were common in the Gold Rush era and beyond as population into California increased and the Native Americans were pushed out of territories they had occupied for thousands of years. The Battle of Pyramid Lake, also referred to as “The Ormsby Massacre,” prompted the construction of Fort Janesville in 1860 as protection from settlers from another prospective Indian attack.
The fort was named after Jane Bankhead, the wife of an early settler. The Native Americans never attacked the Fort Janesville and closed a few years after it was built. The post office was open between 1861 and 1864. Janesville has also been called “Gas Light” and “Lassen.” Janesville today features a view on what life was like during the 1860s: a life punctuated with determination to survive in a remote area.
Susanville is the Lassen County seat, winning the title over Janesville by a single vote.
The historical marker is located on Main Street in Janesville, one-tenth of a mile north of the Janesville Elementary School.
High in the northeastern Sierra is Lassen County, where volcanic activity has shaped the landscape captured in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Peter Lassen, a Danish immigrant, came to Oregon in 1839 and later settled in the northern Sacramento Valley. He returned to Missouri and led a 12-wagon emigrant train along “Lassen Emigrant Trail” in 1848 into California.