Historical Background

Scope and Content

Restrictions on Access

Acquisition Info

Processing Info

Inventory

Subject Terms


Guide to the Cushman Dam Photograph Collection



PH Collection No.: 637
Title: Cushman Dam Photograph Collection
Date Span: 1924-1926
Quantity: 25 photographic prints (1 box)
Location: K0187
Languages: Collection materials are in English.
Cushman Dam construction, ca.1925. Special Collections, UW Libraries, UW 23499z

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.



Historical Background

Tacoma Public Utilities established its municipally owned electricity service in 1893, when it purchased the privately owned Tacoma Light and Power Co. By the beginning of the 20th century, the utilities district had begun looking to build new sources of power generation. Tacoma Power, a division of Tacoma Public Utilities, completed construction of its first dam, the LaGrande Powerhouse on the Nisqually River, in 1912. The Cushman project began in1919 in response to the demand for more power that followed the economic and housing expansion after WWI. Under the direction of Ira S. Davisson (commissioner, 1918-1940), Tacoma Power built Cushman Dam No. 1 to provide hydroelectric power to the city of Tacoma. Construction began in 1924 near Potlatch on the North Fork of the Skokomish River, Washington. At times the construction project employeed as many as five hundred men.

Using a "concrete arch" and "gravity and embankment" design, the structure consists of ninety thousand cubic yards of concrete, with a top width of eight feet and a base width of 50 feet, at 275 feet high and 1,111 feet long. Lake Cushman sits behind the dam, with 23 miles of shoreline. The design diverts water through a pipe connecting the reservoir to a powerhouse on Hood Canal. Hydroelectric power travels on a forty-mile transmission line, which includes a suspension across the Tacoma Narrows strait in Puget Sound, spanning 6,244 feet of water.

Cushman Dam No. 1 was activated on March 23, 1926, with the push of a button by President Calvin Coolidge in a ceremony at the White House. A second, smaller dam, Cushman Dam No. 2, was completed by December 1930.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of documentation of the Cushman Dam and Cushman Power Plant construction project, including land excavation, sluicing, construction of tunnels, and concrete pouring.

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open to the public.

Acquisition Info

Source: Fairlook Antiques, 2003.

Processing Info

Processed by Lew Guenther and Sarah Nelson, 2004.


Inventory

 
Folder Item Date
11Construction of wooden structure along embankmentJuly 7, 1924
 
2Men in partly constructed tunnel with pheumatic concrete placer used in construction   View imageAug. 4, 1924
 
3Workers in partially constructed tunnel Aug. 13, 1924
 
4Construction pit with crane and workers behind scaffolded wall of damSept. 1, 1924
 
5Flood of construction siteOct. 25, 1924
 
26Workers sluicing spillway site among uprooted treesJan. 30, 1925
 
7Man standing on log over trench Mar. 5, 1925
 
8Metal cylinders within dam structure ("draft tube and pit liner")Aug. 1, 1925
 
9Men standing in partially constructed tunnel, indicating forms and reinforcements in construction processAug. 7, 1925
 
10Men overlooking plate steel scroll case at Cushman powerhouse   View imageAug. 18, 1925
 
311 Cushman Dam construction site with cables, wood planks, and concrete pouring equipment   View imageSept. 3, 1925
 
12Gravel plant on Lake Cushman ReservoirSept. 3, 1925
 
13Nearly completed dam and gravel plant   View imageSept. 3, 1925
 
14 Cushman powerhouse substation construction and excavation site   View imageSept. 3, 1925
 
15Framing of core wall trench through hillside at Cushman Dam siteSept. 4, 1925
 
416Man in front of six-ft. butterfly valve in diversion tunnel of Cushman DamNov. 14, 1925
 
17Workers in sluice gate tunnels of power intake at Cushman Dam siteNov. 14, 1925
 
18Construction of entrance of power intake tunnel behind wall of Cushman DamNov. 20, 1925
 
19Scaffolding and wall of Cushman Dam, nearly completed   View imageDec. 6, 1925
 
20Turbines from above, prior to crown plate placement, at Cushman Dam powerhouse   View imageDec. 11, 1925
 
21Level view of turbine during crown plate placement, Cushman Dam powerhouseDec. 11, 1925
 
522Scaffolding, construction of metal structure at Cushman Dam site
 
23Partially constructedCushman Dam, releasing water from two gateways   View image
 
24Concrete pouring in Cushman Dam construction
 
25Full reservoir at Cushman Dam   View imageFeb. 12, 1926

Subject Terms

Geographic Names:
Cushman Dam (Wash.)--Photographs.
Cushman Lake (Wash.)--Photographs.
Subjects:
Building sites--Washington (State)--Cushman Dam Region--Photographs.
Concrete construction--Washington (State)--Cushman Dam Region--Photographs.
Construction workers--Washington (State)--Cushman Dam Region--Photographs.
Dam construction--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Dams--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Last modified: September 24, 2010
Contact Us