Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle

Carlton Appelo’s 100th birthday is today: When we talk about Carlton, there is no question he made his mark on Wahkiakum County in so many ways. His father was the founder of Wahkiakum West Telephone Company. Carlton took it over after his early years in World War II and his education at University of Washington and his master’s from the University of Sweden. When he came home, he took over the telephone company and built it up for many years. His nephew, Steve Appelo, is now Board President there. Carlton grew up in Deep River along with his brother, Burton, and they both became well educated, good businessmen. The Appelo Archives Center building was the Appelo Store for many years. Burton sold home appliances in the upstairs area and the lower area was much like an old Woolworth’s with just about any and everything you might need. The family also had stores in Grays River and Deep River. Carlton was an active community member supporting many local organizations. He along with some others founded Port Two and established Vista Park as a Recreation District first, then a Port District. He was heavily involved in national rural telephone organizations, traveling all over the country to attend their conferences. Carlton and his wife Berenice were active in the Naselle Congregational Church and the American Legion. Carlton was a regular visitor to Washington DC. He often would visit with our elected representatives like Julia Butler Hansen, to let them know of needs in our area. He founded the Appelo Archives Center donating his collections of historic photographs and items from the Deep River store. Until his health deteriorated, he continued to be involved in numerous organizations not only in the west end of Wahkiakum County, but all over the SW Washington area. At one of his last birthday parties, I asked him how long he wanted to live. He said, “I want to make 100.” He almost made it. His collections educate us about the “ghost towns” that once were active here. Deep River, Seal River, Grays River and Naselle were his primary stomping grounds when he was growing up. He often told the story of his birth. He was born in a fishing boat that had left Deep River and was headed to Astoria for the hospital. But he came before they made it. He often said when he was born he looked like a little frog. He may have been little in stature, but he was a mighty force for the growth and development of the world around him. Every year he sent out a Christmas letter to several hundred people. Many of us worked on his address list and letters over the years. I began working on them in 2003 and continued on till he couldn’t write them anymore. His mailing list covered the world, but mostly Sweden and Finland outside the United States. He was born on the Columbia River on May 12, 1922. And he is still with us in heart and spirit. I miss him. My favorite saying of his was, “By all means.” When we started the Archives Center, I would hear of things the staff wanted to do. I told Carlton, for instance, of Audrey Wirkkala’s wish to photograph the old timers in the community. I asked Carlton if he would help us get her a good camera for it and his response was, “By all means let’s help Audrey do that.” He was always generous with his time and his resources.

Photo of the week: Old Rosburg Store. Bonnie LaDoe of Portland sent this photo in response to my request for a photo of the store in the last Dispatch. In the photo, the old store was located right on the banks of the Grays next to the Rosburg bridge. Bonnie is a fine historian of this area with many photos of many people and places in her collection.

Weed of the month: Scotch Broom: Andy Lea called yesterday and we talked about weeds. He is the coordinator for the county’s Noxious Weed Control program. He reminded me that this is the time of year for the Scotch broom plant to bloom. It’s a big plant with small bright yellow flowers. Please do not dig them up to plant on your property and be careful of them growing nearby because their seeds spread quickly and will take over your yard or field. Scotch broom is an invasive plant and not to be nurtured. Instead dig it up and burn it. Contact Andy for more information on plants and to have him spray blackberries, Scotch Broom or any other invasive plants on your land. Andy’s cell number is (360) 749-4196. He will come to your property if you need him to consult with you and make a weed control plan. He has been a great help to me in my battles with blackberries.

Grays River Flood Control (formerly Enhancement) District: I talked with Krist Novoselic who has volunteered along with Charlie Shumar to build back the Flood Control District Board. The former board members recently resigned, so a new board is being developed. Krist mentioned that they are now accepting resumes from Grays River landowners who are interested in being the third member of the new board.

Finn Fest Update: The Finnish American Folk Festival will be held the last weekend in July. Recently we learned the Skamokawa Swamp Opera group will be joining the festival as one of the musical guests. They are wonderful. I love their song about the “Sheriff’s Report.” All the lyrics are simply words from the Sheriff’s Reports here in our own Eagle newspaper every week. Reading and singing the Sheriff’s Report may sound odd, but it’s sometimes quite fun!


May 14: White Tail Run through the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge. Contact Carol Ervest at (360) 465-2275 for more information.

May 28: Bingo at Johnson Park.

June 1: Naselle/GRV School’s Evening of Excellence on June 1 at 7:00 pm in the HS Commons.

June 11: Graduation will be at 4:00 on Saturday in our gymnasium.

Senior Lunches: The Senior Lunch Club meets on two dates each month, the first and third Wednesdays at noon at Rosburg Hall. In May, their second lunch will be on May 18. CAP’s box lunches can be picked up every Thursday at noon at Rosburg Hall. Contact Denise at (360) 762-3111 to reserve yours.

Word for the Week: Sunshine.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/20/2024 09:49