February marked the 80th year of public service for Mason County PUD No. 1. While Homer T. Bone is often cited as the “father of public power”, one very influential public power supporter in our state was Morrison F. Pixley.
Pixley was a land developer and the nephew of Frank M. Pixley, the celebrated founder of The Argonaut, one of the most influential publications in California in the late 1800s. After the great San Francisco earthquake in 1906, Pixley purchased land along Hood Canal from lumberman John McReavy, with the hopes of creating an artist colony called “Yacht Haven”, what would later become Union City. In 1916, Pixley moved his family from California to their new estate just west of where Alderbrook Resort now sits, and became fast friends with another local artist named Orre Nobles.
In addition to his dedication to create his artist colony, Mr. Pixley also became very involved in local politics and improvements for the quality of life for Hood Canal residents. In 1934, he founded the Hood Canal Telephone Company. This was two years after he began working relentlessly to create a public utility district for the Hood Canal. In fact, Pixley helped organize the deal that would allow PUD 1 to acquire the assets from the Hood Canal Mutual Company, which was managed at the time by his son Clark Morrison Pixley. When the acquisition was finalized, Clark Morrison Pixley became the PUD’s first manager.
Mr. Pixley continued to have a voice in local happenings well into the mid-century. When he died in 1959, at the age of 94, the Shelton Journal noted, “Among the many men who have contributed to the development of Hood Canal, none played a more colorful role and few a more important part” than had Pixley.
This year we celebrate Morrison F. Pixley’s vision and drive, along with the tradition of service and success during PUD 1’s 80th anniversary. The District plans to hold an anniversary celebration with our customers and industry counterparts this fall in conjunction with our customer appreciation event and public power week celebration.
We will keep you informed of the upcoming celebration of our 80th anniversary as Washington State’s first Public Utility District serving the owners/customers along the beautiful Hood Canal.
Jack Janda, Commissioner