The town began as a sawmill town on the Pend Oreille River, northwest of Newport. In the early 1890s, Joe W. Cusick settled there and platted the town on May 24, 1902. He was a pioneer river captain who ran the steamer Volunteer and other early stern-wheelers on the river. The town took his name when platted.
The town once surrounded the former tall, aluminum-painted water tower and the black stacks of the Diamond Match Company’s plant. The streets of Cusick jog to conform to the line of the former fence around the mill yard.
The Kalispell Indian Reservation is in the valley on both sides of the Pend Oreille River at Cusick. On the west bank north of town, members of the tribe operated a business park, where they ran Case Line Products, and on the east bank the tribe managed a buffalo herd and bass hatchery.
The tour passes a succession of areas where there were lumberyards, and traverses a wide level valley rimmed by hills, where forested areas alternate with fenced pastures, and descends by a circuitous course to a lower benchland. Here are a few small orchards, fields of timothy and redtop, and a few dairy farms.