By Donna Gatens-Klint and The Appelo Archives. Naselle-Grays River Valley is located in western Wahkiakum County and southern Pacific County, with the mighty Columbia River running the full length of the region. The Chinook Indians made the valley their home long before Lewis and Clark came down the Columbia on their expedition to find the Pacific Ocean. The first white settlers came in the mid-1800s, establishing the communities of Naselle, Grays River, Deep River, Brookfield, Pillar Rock, Dahlia, Knappton, and Altoona. In 1866, William Hume built the first salmon cannery on the Columbia, and local economies flourished with 35 canneries in operation at one time. When the Ocean Beach Highway replaced the river as the major thoroughfare in 1924, growth shifted elsewhere. Naselle, one of the smaller communities in the late 1800s, is today the largest and only surviving town, thanks to the many Finnish families that homesteaded the area.
Naselle/Grays River Valley