The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


November 21, 2019

Darrell Alexander

Grays River bridge.

Wahkiakum County and Pacific County in the past were mainly connected by the waterways. It would not be until the late 1930s that Longview would be connected to the coast. River life would slowly disintegrate to the present state that the only craft going up these creeks and rivers are small boats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, and homemade rafts. The waterways are no longer dredged for commercial service to the community.

Trucks for the most part do all the necessary deliveries to the community as they pass over these old waterway routes on bridges. It may have been very difficult for those living in the area at that time in adapting to a new way of traveling. Mail would definitely get to your home quicker, and the dairy farmers would likely benefit the most by the rapid ease of travel to get their milk products to market.

The Polygonal Warren Through truss bridge over Grays River on State Route 4 was built in 1938. This is the same type of bridge that passes over the Elochoman River; however, the Elochoman Bridge was not built until 1955. The Grays River Bridge has a total span of 283.2 feet with a deck width of 24 feet and the vertical deck clearance of 15.4 feet. Truss bridges were common types of bridges built from the 1870s through the 1930s. Many of these bridges remain across the country, but their numbers are dropping because they are changed with new structures. As iron began to replace timber, wrought iron bridges started being built on a large scale in the 1870s. Bowstring truss bridges were a common truss design during this time, but the design fell out of favor due to its lack of strength and gave way to the stronger Pratt truss design. Bridge companies marketed their designs with the Wrought Iron Bridge Company in the lead. During 1880s and 1890s steel began to replace wrought iron as the preferred material. During the 1920s and 1930s certain states continued to build steel truss bridges for longer spans. This bridge in Grays River was first built when logging companies had to clear a path for the railroad to come in. In this case it was the Saldern Logging Company that would finish clearing the area and move everything including the camp housing up the KM Mountain. A good portion of the highway today on the KM was formerly logging roads and train tracks. After the area was cleared, much of the property was sold by the Saldern Logging Company as homesteads such as the Klint homestead in the late 1880s. The bridges have bonded us together in this community in a new way compelling us to adapt to new changes happening on a daily basis.

Thanksgiving in Cathlamet

For people who don't have anywhere to go to eat on Thanksgiving Day, the Hope Center on 3rd and Maple streets in Cathlamet will host their annual Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner on Nov. 28 from 1-4 pm. RSVP Jean Beerbower 360 849-4360 and leave a message. Donations and volunteers are greatly appreciated.

Westend News

Those of you who are new to the area may like to know that there is a place to get rid of your trash. The KM Transfer Station is located at the top of the KM Mountain and run by Lori Smith who took over the job a few months ago. Rates are reasonable.

The Grays River-Naselle Senior Lunch Club will serve their Thanksgiving potluck lunch on Wednesday at Valley Bible Church. The Senior Lunch Club will provide turkey and ham. There will be no lunch gathering on Nov. 27. All lunches will be served at 12 noon. Volunteers are needed so please contact the Naselle/Grays River Valley Seniors' president Diane Hollenbeck at or phone her at 1(360) 465-2991.

Today (Thursday), the menu at the Rosburg Hall will consist of roast turkey, baked yams, stuffing, peas and cauliflower, ambrosia salad, and apple crisp. On Nov. 28, they will be closed, so have a happy Thanksgiving. Anyone interested in renting the Rosburg Hall is encouraged to contact Sonja Kruse at 465-2251 or Frieda Footh (465-2574). Thursday luncheon at noon at the Rosburg Hall is sponsored by the Community Action Program (CAP) out of Kelso/Longview. Any questions, contact Denise Rae at (360) 425-3430 extension 259.

If you are in need of food, then come to the West End Food Pantry every Thursday from 1-5 p.m. The food is free. Johnson Park is looking for board members to help coordinate the facility. If anyone is interested in volunteering please contact either Shonda Ware at 360-465-2722 or Toni Fest at360-465-2393.

Deep River Pioneer Church Concert

and Tour of Homes

Set your calendars for the Dec. 8, 1:30 p.m., concert at the Deep River Pioneer Church sponsored by the Finnish-American Folk Festival. This is their annual Christmas concert and Tour of Homes. Tickets are $5 per person. Tickets and maps available at Mike Swanson Realty and Hair Villa in Naselle and Finn Ware in Astoria. The event will be followed by a delicious soup supper at the Naselle Community Center, 14 Parpala Road.

Naselle-Grays River Valley High School

Knowledge Bowl Winners

Three Naselle-Grays River Valley High School knowledge bowl teams competed in an Educational Service District (ESD) 113 knowledge bowl meet at Grays Harbor Community College in Aberdeen on Nov. 15. The NHS teams competed against 39 other teams from Elma, Montesano, Hoquiam, North Beach, North River, Wishkah, Raymond, South Bend, Valley and Ocosta. Forty-two teams competed in all and 10 of these teams were from Class 1B schools. The Naselle team as well as Monte and the Pythons finished third overall and first among the 1B teams. Perennial state contenders Montesano and Ocosta finished in first and second places.

Monte and the Pythons were comprised of Monte Schell, Travis Popkin, John D'Agostino, and Cooper Miller. The Naselle Goop Squad finished 22nd overall and fifth among 1B teams. The Goop Squad consisted of Brayden Colombo, Owen Matthews, Grace Hunt, Nasir Harris and Malcolm Schell. The Naselle team Scott's Tots finished 25th overall and sixth among 1B teams. Scott's Tots consisted of Josh Chadwick, Theron Frame, Riley Thorsen, Ryan Waltemate, Jack D'Agostino and George Wilson.

The NHS knowledge bowl teams will next compete on Dec. 7 and Jan. 10 at GHC. The highest placing team will compete at an ESD 113 regional meet in Tumwater on Feb.7 for a chance to compete at the state meet during March.

The Appelo Archives Center is dedicated to encouraging the study of region-wide history by preserving historical collections, sponsoring cultural activities, facilitating genealogical research, and fostering Scandinavian studies, with an emphasis on Finnish American culture. Your support is much appreciated! They are kicking off their 2020 Archives membership: Individuals $20, Families $30 and seniors $15.

Other Archives updates and events: Dec. 7 - Santa Lucia Celebration at 2 p.m. and pictures with Santa at 1 p.m .; Christmas tree sales in December; creating a 2020 historic barns calendar to sell as a fundraiser; and with the Pacific Tourism Grant the Archives has created a Naselle - Grays River Valley tourism brochure. This should be out by the first of the year. For any questions regarding the Archives call 360-484-7103 or check out their website at


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