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Lake Cushman

A man-made lake some ten miles in length, furnishes a controlled and dependable supply of water for the Tacoma hydroelectric plant. Early in the 1920s the citizens of Tacoma, led by Homer T. Bone and other champions of public ownership of power, took the legal steps necessary as a preliminary to the construction of this municipally owned project.

Two dams, 275 and 240 feet in height respectively, were built across the North Fork of the Skokomish River, thus creating Lake Cushman; a large power plant was erected at the lower end of the lake and another near Hood Canal, at Potlatch State Park. Both Cushman powerhouses are listed in the National Register and are available for tours. Vehicular access is limited. Today Tacoma claims a lower average electricity rate than any other city in the United States.

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Cushman Hydroelectric Project

The Cushman Hydroelectric Project represents a significant achievement in power production for the city of Tacoma for the role it played in the development of hydroelectric generation engineering, and electric transmission technology and construction techniques during the growth of the city of Tacoma and the region. The neoclassical-revival style of the Cushman resources presents a cohesive and intact hydroelectric development. Historic District includes buildings and structures from at least three building campaigns. The first dates to the initial construction of the Cushman No. 1 Development, 1923-1925. The second, 1928-1935, includes construction of the Cushman No. 2 Development. The third construction campaign dates to 1953, when the third and final penstock, turbine, and generator were installed at Cushman No. 2.