Just a short spat inland, Naselle frequently enjoys drier, sunnier weather than her Peninsula neighbors.
This small town traces its roots to Finnish families who settled there and made their living as loggers and fishermen. The community first flourished as a logging town, and logging remains the dominant private industry. Settled primarily by Finnish and Scandinavian immigrants, the community has maintained this cultural heritage despite a declining percentage of traditional family names.
You can learn about Naselle’s heritage at the Appelo Archives Center, which even has a cozy cafe for a bite to eat. They have a Finnish library, a genealogy corner, a local museum, and a Logging Heritage Room with an interesting collection.
Pioneer Naselle was the inspiration for Our Only May Amelia, a Newbury Honor book by Jennifer L. Holm, based on Holm family documents of life as a Finnish-American frontier family.
Past and present residents of note include Oscar Wirkkala, logger and inventor; Wilho Saari, kantele performer and teacher; and Rex Ziak, historian. Not bad for a town boasting a current population of just 2,000.
History lovers should visit the Knappton Cove Heritage Center as well. Check their seasonal hours or call ahead as this piece of history is kept alive by a handful of incredible people. Knappton Cove is the “Ellis Island of the West Coast” and has an impressive collection of artifacts. Their grounds also offer beautiful views of the Columbia River, and they partner with the Lewis & Clark Living Historians for an annual tribute to the Corps of Discovery.