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Shelton Mason County Journal
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May 28, 2015     Shelton Mason County Journal
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May 28, 2015

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Page A-10 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, May 28, 2015 O/F THE SHELF ) This week, I would like to uncover a mystery. Do you have any idea what the process is of get- ting your items to the Shelton Library? For example, you By PATTY hear about a book AYALA ROSS from your cousin, or People magazine or the Oprah hot list, you look in our catalog and place your hold. Then what happens? Our computer system puts you on a waiting list. Then you come to a fork in our procedural road--either the book is on the shelf at one of our libraries (lucky you) or a copy of that title is soon to be returned to any of the 35 different locations across the 7,000 miles of our five-county system, making it avail- able for you. Either way, the computer triggers the hold and tells the staff of whichever location to place that book into a box to be transported back to our service center in Tumwater for sorting. This happens every day to hundreds of items in hundreds of boxes gathered up across our vast district. And who picks these boxes up you might be wondering? That is where our couriers come in. Timberland Re- gional Library employs seven couriers whose jobs it is to drive. That's right. Drive--all over our five counties (Ma- son, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacffic and Lewis) every day. Between the seven of them, they cover about 800 miles daily to get your book to you in as timely a manner as possible. They are just a few of the unsung heroes who work for the library system be- hind the scenes. But back to your book...once it ar- rives at our Service Center in Turn- water, it is sorted again and prepared for delivery to Shelton. Depending on whether or not the book was on the shelf when the computer first caught the hold, it can take a few days or a few weeks. You might be at the mercy of waiting for someone else to return it which can take longer. Between January and April of 2015, Shelton patrons placed 23,471 holds which were delivered to this library. That is 237 items each day that we were open during that snapshot of time. Of those holds placed, only 1,045 were not picked up within the 10-day period we allow before we send them on their way. That means those holds really meant something to their re- cipients and that we are fostering the important relationship between a book and its reader thousands of times each year. Many people who get their first li- brary card, or even their 10th for that matter, do not realize that the collec- tion at Timberland is shared. That means, materials are always moving between all of the branches every day. What you see on one day will definitely be different the next day de- pending on what people return, order in and check out. It's an active, living, breathing thing. And that's the way a popular library collection should be. So go ahead, place a hold. Just like all other library services, there is no fee attached and we would be honored to introduce you to your next great read. Patty Ayala Ross can be reached at pross@trl.org LOOKING BACK Lake Cushman was first discovered in 1852 while explorer B.F. Shaw was exploring the eastern parts of the Olympic Mountain range. He named the lake after his friend, Maine log- ger Orrington Cushman who was better known as "Devil Cush." Two years later, the first settler on the lake was Alfred A. Rose, who claimed 150 acres of the farm-rich soil. After a year, Rose lost his ambition of becoming a farmer and decided to be a hunter and a trapper. He honed his skills quickly and soon be- came known as one of the best shots in the Hood Canal area. Rose, his wife, and their four children lived on the lake un- til 1889 when he contracted smallpox while on a trip to Seattle and passed away. Not wanting to have the disease spread into Lilliwaup and other areas in Mason County, the county government paid his family $1,500 for the land, kicked them out, and burned all of their possessions along with the house. From the time that Rose lived at the lake until 1890, the only way into Lake Cush- man was a 5-mile hiking trail that started in Lilliwaup. That changed when the county decided there were enough people living at the lake to construct a road from Hoodsport to the lake's south- ern tip. This 8-mile dirt road through dense old growth forest cost the county $1,600 to construct. With Lake Cush- man being more accessible, a few individuals felt the lake would be an ideal place for a summer resort. The first of these resorts was begun in 1890 when Rufus Putnam started to build cabins for hunters and fishermen. Later he also constructed a hotel that he called the Cushman House. This place would not only serve as lodging for people who wanted to get away for awhile, but also as a base camp for the military and other people who wanted to explore the Olympic Moun- tains. One problem, however, was that the Cushman House was on the eastern shore of the lake and the road stopped at the south shore. With the old-growth timber it was almost impossible to walk around the lake so Oscar Ahl, from Hoodsport, started a ferry service to take people to the different resorts. Sidney Finch also took advantage of visitors to the lake when he purchased a fancy Studebaker coach and two snow white horses named Sam and Muns. He would transport people up the eight mile road for $1.50 a trip. This business proved quite profitable until the road was improved for car travel and on June 25, 1908, the first car reached the lake. Photo courtesy of the Mason County Historical Society ABOVE: President Theodore Roosevelt rides aboard Oscar Ahl's Lake Cushman Ferry. LEFT: An undated picture of the Cushman house. Over the years, more re- sorts were built on the east side of the lake including the infamous Antlers Hotel in 1899. Because snow and floods made traveling in and out of the lake almost impossible during the winter months, the resorts operated only in the summer, generally from May to the end of September. Lake Cushman and the Skokomish River often flooded when rains were heavy or the snow began to melt. The worst flood re- corded was in January 1909, when the lake rose 22 feet in just two days, wiping out many of the homes and guest cottages along the water and putting the Cushman House almost completely under wa- ter. Around 1910, the Skokom- ish River was identified as an ideal hydroelectric dam site, which eventually would make Cushman the reservoir that it is today. In 1912, a gentleman named Wickstrom applied for a power franchise from Mason County and immedi- ately sold his rights to Seattle for $640,000, making a nice profit. That same year, Seattle passed a bond in its general election to pay for a dam on the Cushman site; however, those plans were later aban- doned because the cost to lay transmission lines from Hood- sport down to Olympia and then north to Seattle proved to be astronomical. In 1920, the City of Tacoma filed for and was awarded a lease from Mason County to build a dam at the same site. Phoenix Logging Co. was awarded a six-year contract to cut as many logs as they could before the reservoir sub- merged the forest surrounding the lake. The City of Tacoma also spent three years buying out all of the property and land owners around the lake. The constant-angle arch dam was 50 feet thick at the base, tapering to just 8 feet at the top. It stretched 770 feet across and created the second largest reservoir in the west- ern part of the United States behind only Lake Mead. The dam cost $881,000 to build, with a total investment of $4,255,658 for the whole proj- ect. Two men died during the construction, and one 19-year- old named George Fenney fell 300 feet and survived. During his three-month recovery in Tacoma General Hospital he fell in love with the nurse that attended to him. They eventu- ally married after he made a full recovery. The dam finally opened in May 1926, when President Calvin Coolidge pushed a button in Washington, D.C. that had been made by stu- dents of Lincoln High School in Tacoma and started the powerhouse outside of Pot- latch. Justin Cowling can be reached at cowlingjustin@hotmail.com.