The riverfront town of Red Bluff, now a magnet for most of the population of Tehama County, was once the lonely campsite of rancher Peter Lassen, who ventured here from his Mexican land grant while chasing horse thieves in 1843. A few years later, masses of humanity and tons of material floated past those red banks that rise high above the Sacramento River, the state's earliest highway, supplying the Sierra gold fields. Red Bluff, first known as Duncan Heights, had a busy port and nearby logging operations generating enough wealth to fund rows of substantial brick, two-story commercial buildings and neighborhoods of ornate Italianate and Queen Anne homes, many of which still stand.
About the Author
Author William Shelton, a sixth-generation logger and collector of Tehama, Butte, and Lassen County history, has chronicled this region for over 40 years in such publications as Diggins, Tales of Paradise Ridge, and Nataqua News. Related to no less than 20 pioneer families, he conducted hundreds of oral interviews of its longtime residents. He has chosen images from his massive photographic archive, gathered since high school, to carry the reader over 153 years of Red Bluff history-from rare portraits of Yahi and Maidu Indian families to the modern town of today.