A BRIEF HISTORY OF LAKE CUSHMAN
In 1852 an explorer and adventurer, B.F. Shaw, pushed his way through the dense forest west of Hood Canal and discovered a long narrow lake at an elevation of 500 feet. Shaw named the body of water Lake Cushman in honor of his friend Orrington Cushman, a picturesque Maine logger known as "Devil Cush."
The lake remained relatively untouched and unsettled, except for a few hunters, until 1888. It was not until 1890 that an eight-mile road was constructed between Hoodsport and Lake Cushman. Pioneers felt the contractor had merely crumpled the salal brush for the road. Gradually the road was improved, and in 1908 the first automobile made the trip from Hoodsport to Lake Cushman.
In 1888, iron deposits were discovered which caused a great deal of excitement. The mountains surrounding Lake Cushman swarmed with prospectors looking for a way to strike it rich. It soon became apparent the strikes were not as rich as first rumored and the majority of the miners faded out of existence.
In 1899, a hotel called the Antlers Hotel was constructed and many famous people of that time were guests. Many came to Lake Cushman to enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting or just to enjoy the beauty of the area. Steamers from Seattle and Tacoma arrived at Hoodsport and from there, guests would be taken by stage to the lake and the hotel.
In early 1912, a man named Wickstrom applied for a power franchise lease from Mason County. Seattle was looking at several dam sites to increase the amount of available electricity for the city. After much debate, Seattle engineers decided to go ahead on the Cushman Dam and it was put to a vote of the Seattle citizens in March 1912. It passed; however, in 1913 Seattle abandoned its plans.
In 1920 Tacoma filed for a lease for the same site and the lease was granted. Logging began in 1920, followed by dam construction. When the dam was completed in 1926, it formed the largest reservoir in the west except for Roosevelt Dam in Arizona. At time of completion, Cushman Dam was 275 feet higher than the tallest building in Tacoma. Two men died during construction. In May 1926, President Calvin Coolidge in Washington, D.C. pushed a button that started the generating machinery.
In 1966 the Lake Cushman Corporation obtained a 99-year lease from Tacoma Public Utilities and the Lake Cushman Development came into existence. There are approximately 53 miles of road; five parks with water access; a 9-hole golf course; its own water system; a volunteer fire department and a security patrol all in support of approximately 3000 lots or parcels, sub-leased by approximately 2500 families. There are about 800 permanent residents and many who spend vacations and weekends enjoying the area.
In 1992 the sub-lessees decided to become a self-governed body.
There are nine Directors, three elected from each of three districts to administer the Lake Cushman Maintenance Company. Each Director has one vote on all items coming before the Board. Each Director is elected for a staggered 3-year term unless there is a vacancy being filled for a partial term. The Board elects four (4) officers – President, Vice President, Secretary. and Treasurer.
The Board is the elected policy-making body of the lot owners. It prepares the budget and submits it to the members, communicates with the members and reports on the affairs of the corporation, and directs the General Manager in the ongoing conduct of the corporate business. The General Manager directs the department managers.
Ballots for voting for Directors go out to voters by March 15th and must be returned no later than April 30th. When there is only one person running for a position, there is no election required. The results are announced in the LCMC Spring Newsletter, and at the Annual Public Meeting in June. New Directors take office at the Annual Public Meeting of the Corporation that is held the 3rd Saturday in June
Candidates for the office of director must be lessees whose accounts are in good standing with LCMC. A candidate may run for office only in the district in which they have property. Declarations of candidacy may be submitted in the month of December each year.
The LCMC Board appoints a Finance Committee, with the Chairman being the Board Treasurer. The Finance Committee, with the help of the General Manager, Finance Administrator and department managers is responsible for the development, tracking, and management of the LCMC budget and finances. Each year in early fall, the Finance Committee begins a review of the current budget and development of the next year’s budget. Once the committee has prepared a proposed budget, it is reviewed and voted on by the Board of Directors. Within thirty days after adoption of the budget by the board, the board schedules a membership voting meeting and mails the proposed budget to the membership. The voting meeting must take place not less than 14, or more than 60 days after the mailing. Unless a majority of the membership reject the budget, it is considered ratified. Voters who are unable to attend the meeting may submit a proxy form prior to the meeting, indicating their decision (yes or no) on ratification, and the name of the member who will be placing their vote.
For a complete description of the responsibilities of the LCMC and the Board of Directors, please refer to the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.