Naselle: a rich Finnish history

Naselle: a rich Finnish history

Naselle is a large unincorporated community including various historic sites ranging from Knappton Cove and the old Knappton sawmill to the south, north to the award winning Naselle School, then east to the winding Salmon Creek Road toward the Wahkiakum County line. It has a rich history of Finnish immigrants who came to the area as fishermen, loggers, and farmers. Nasel, a Chinook chief, was the first owner of much of the land in the area. White settlers began settling there around 1871, buying land from Chief Nasel. The settlers later named the river, the town, and the post office in his honor.

Naselle is a growing bedroom community of approximately 1,200 residents, many retired, as well as those who work in Astoria and commute the short distance over the Astoria Bridge each day. Roads and properties wander throughout the beautiful wooded, farm areas of the Naselle River and Salmon Creek areas.

The bank and grocery store are located near the Post Office. Various shops are east on State Route 4 in the Appelo Center area where the Appelo Archives and Museum are located upstairs. A small hardware store and real estate agency are there as well as a small museum and Finnish library in the Archives located on the second floor of the shopping center. A deli, flower shop, and a gift shop are on the first floor of the Appelo building as well. Logging companies, farming, the local medical clinic, and the Naselle Youth Camp provide jobs and income. The Naselle School District has become a top award winner in both state and national competitions.

The Finnish American Folk Festival in Naselle began in 1982 to recognize the rich Finnish heritage of the area. The next festival will be held in 2012 on July 27-29. The festival, held on even numbered years, encourages attendees to celebrate the rich heritage of the Finnish-Americans and to learn more about Finnish culture and history. Performers, lecturers, food demonstrations, wife carrying competition, exhibits, dancing, and authentic Finnish food are only a few of the offerings. It is always well attended with visitors from across the nation and Finland, as well.

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