Cusick Town Park Site History - Cusick, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 20.238 W 117° 17.610
11U E 478249 N 5353832
Quick Description: In the little town of Cusick, Washington is a park along the Pend Oreille River. In the park are two signs which relate some of its history. These tell us of the history of the site of the park in which the signs are found.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 4/10/2015 7:29:49 PM
Waymark Code: WMNNW5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member thebeav69
Views: 0

Long Description:
Site History - Mills & Pilings

When the Pend Oreille River transportation was a component part of sawmill operation the early day riverbank mills cut only rough lumber or timbers which were barged to Newport.

The mills used water borne logs which needed a system of Boom sticks and pilings to store them and to guide them to the "Bull Chain" which hoisted them to the mill's saw deck. Probably the first pilings at Cusick were driven to serve a small sawmill and shingle cutting mill soon after the turn of the century.

The M.A. Phelps Lumber Co. moved from Granite, Idaho in 1910 and made some additions to the log-holding facilities in the River. Phelps sold his interest to Burton Willis and Assoc. during the World War 1 years. But Willis accidentally drowned in Diamond Lake while fishing in 1920. The (Phelps) Willis mill and property passed to the control of Diamond Match Company. The old sawmill burned to the ground in May 1923 but not the planer and shipping facilities. It was immediately replaced by an enlarged and more efficient plant processing up to 100-120 M.B.F. daily on a two shift basis. Considering a large share of an entire year's supply of logs were delivered within a few weeks of high water in the spring, it was necessary to strengthen and enlarge the river facilities for sorting and confining a large volume of logs. It is probable most of our piles survivors were driven in the twenties. The log sorting procedure started with each piece carrying an I.D. card given at the source camp in the form of ax hacks in the bark and brands stamped into the saw cut at both ends.

Diamond Match began tapering off the Priest River supply to Cusick in 1947, keeping most of it at the Albeni Falls Plant. The Diamond Match Mill burned in 1923 and was rebuilt but closed for good on May 12th, 1960 when properties were gifted and transferred to Cusick School and Town of Cusick.

The employees of the industry were highly skilled, innovative, dedicated, river cowboys recognized as specialists. Pilings formed the support and anchor for floating parts of the system, each pile, like a link of chain, had to be the best stick obtainable within the investment budget. Specifications called for a sound close-grained, bark free, uniformly tapered stick of length that after the pile driver had pounded it several feet into the riverbed would top any anticipated flood level. The common, mature Western Larch tree was preferred although Douglas (Red) fir was satisfactory for sheltered slackwater locations.

1948 Flood at Cusick

The 1948 flood at Cusick was the record breaker. After breaching the dikes it inundated and isolated the town and mill-site along with many farmsteads in the Calispel Lake area. Many pilings were wracked out of their settings; a considerable volume of logs over and under the booms and lost in the turbulence of the mainstream currents. It must have meant an uneasy sleep for river cowboys. But the 1948 flood was the fitting climax, a sort of watershed moment in the history of the industry, during a long period of transition from an absolute exploiting of the forest resource to economic necessity for eliminating waste and total utilization of wood fiber available. Most of the lost piles and boomsticks were never replaced because they had no further use. The piling can be an intangible asset as a reminder that the Forest Products Industries have thrived on change, innovation and the challenging aspects of progress...

The Old Mill Site, Past & Present

The Cusick Park Plan was resurrected in 2004 with the help of the long standing Mayor, Paul Haas, Cusick Town Council and a Park Steering Committee. Local citizens modified the plan to meet new state requirements and included activities like the skatepark. The first grant obtained from WA Recreation and Conservation Office focused on this element. The Funds required a dollar for dollar match and the $189,000 was not enough to hire the chosen company "Dreamland" to construct the $250,000 skatepark. The Town Council hired experienced grant writer and town clerk Charlotte Yergens and she got to work writing grants working with as many as 10 funding sources at one time to get the park finished. Once the site had been cleared and graded, work began on installing the key elements of the park. Mayor Robert Spencer provided oversight of all construction done in phases from 2006 through 2011 which used hundreds of local volunteer hours and donated materials. This incredible project in this little town could not have been possible without the following donators. Pend Oreille County, Town of Cusick, Kalispel Tribe, Cusick School, Newport Equipment, USDA-Rural Development, USDA Forest Service, Pend Oreille PUD, WA State Recreation and Conservation Office, Dept. of Commerce Community Development Block Grant, Tony Hawk Foundation, Thrivent Financial - PO County Chapter, PO Valley Foundation and Inland Northwest Community Foundation.
From the Historical Marker

Photo goes Here

Marker Name: Site History - Mills & Pilings

Marker Type: City

Town name: Cusick

Placer: Town of Cusick

Date marker was placed: Not listed

Related website: Not listed

Visit Instructions:

A description of your visit, and more pictures would be great!

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