FIND THE APPELO ARCHIVES CENTER
The Appelo Archives Center is nestled in the small town of Naselle, WA at 1056 State Route 4. Naselle first flourished as a logging community, then was home to many farmers and fishermen.
Established before there were modern roads in the area, the rivers were the highways. The Naselle River, was named after an Indian Chief of the Chinook tribe, Nacil by name, who used to fish in the river. Old timers claim his name was pronounced “Nay-cil, with accent on the Nay.” Pacific County maps made before or around 1912 have the river, and the Post Office marked Nasel. But local residents did not like the nasal twang that was applied to their pretty poetic name by outsiders.The result was a petition to the U.S. Post Office Department: “Please Mr. Postal Service can’t we be spelled N a s e l l e, so that we escape an unlovely pronunciation. To us, it smells.” The Post Office Department gave it’s okay for the change.
The Naselle River is located in Pacific County of southwest Washington State. The river's headwaters are in the Willapa Hills (46°28′8″N 123°33′14″W) and flows generally west into the southern part of Willapa Bay (46°27′54″N 123°56′24″W ). The broad tidal mouth of the Naselle River is known as Chetlo Harbor.
Settled primarily by Finnish and Scandinavian immigrants, the community has maintained this cultural heritage despite a declining percentage of traditional family names. Since 1982, Naselle has hosted a "Finnish-American Folk Festival" every other year, and in 2006 co-hosted, with the nearby city of Astoria, OR, the national festival FinnFest USA.
Jennifer L. Holm's Newbery Honor-winning novel Our Only May Amelia is set in pioneer Naselle, then spelled "Nasel", and is 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, Bryan Penttila, logger and author, and teacher and historian Rex Ziak.