Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


February 23, 2023

Johnson Park Valentine's day craft group include from left: Rex Stallzup, Beau Hampton, Veda Burkhalter, Kaia Hunsinger, Renee Hunsinger, Noah Burkhalter, Jada Hunsinger, and Felicity Johnson. Photo by Instructor Denise Blanchard.

Newspapers: I highly value our Eagle newspaper. It is one of the few small-town papers still in existence. We have become a society that reads "electronic" news. This illustrates our addiction to being stimulated by instant news and constant information with no data, science or study beyond what we see and hear. Good things can happen on our devices, but we err when we believe only what a device tells us. Newspapers are meant to provide "investigative news," not unverified information. Therefore, our addiction to the electronic information becomes a habit that does not always fully inform us or help a situation. Our current nine-page Eagle was founded in 1891 as the "Skamokawa Eagle." After 30 years, it changed hands and became the county Eagle with an article on the front page headlined, "The Eagle is ready for flight." The following was on the front page announcement: "Wahkiakum has long needed and deserved a good county weekly paper. In years gone by, it has been practically impossible to perfect a journalistic organization which could give the people of this county such a paper. Now, however, with good highways connecting the county north, south, east and west, the road is clear. And with the support of the Wahkiakum Publishing Company, we feel the success of this new business venture assured." – by David F. Head, Thursday, May 31, 1934. The subscription rate at that time was $2 a year. I suspect the paper changed hands again at some point, but Rick Nelson would likely know that, if that indeed happened.

I found the actual newspapers in the "newspaper room" at the Appelo Archives where there are approximately 10 boxes of old Skamokawa Eagles stored. The box on the bottom of the stack was labeled 1903, so it was fun to read through a few copies from the top of the stack. Here are some samples: "Skamokawa people join the Eagle in extending thanks to Gordon Wiest, manager of the local movie house, for the free picture show given last Saturday evening. The picture, "The Two Gun Man and the Silver King" was very good and a large crowd enjoyed Mr. Wiest's hospitality."

Another report, like many others of the time, reported on the social lives of women. "Mrs. George Hanigan and Mrs. Ralph Watkins of Cathlamet, and Mrs. Henry Vinson spend a few days with their sister, Mrs. Herman Erp and family at Grays River." (Their husbands' names were always used instead of their own.)

Another article said: "Sara Lu Charlotte Hall, seven-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Hall of Rosburg, died at St. Mary's Hospital in Astoria late Sunday, following an operation for mastoids. She will be remembered as having taken part in a play presented by Grays River Grange. Skamokawa friends and relatives join the Eagle in extending sincere sympathy to those who were near and dear to her."

An advertisement for used cars said, "Used cars for sale for $25 at the H. Amerly Garage.

Today's Eagle is a rare example of a rural newspaper, still reporting on the lives of folks who live from east Wahkiakum County through to the Naselle GRV School District area of Pacific County. Subscribers to The Eagle support the paper and it continues the close to home reporting so important to all of us. There are readers who still write letters to the Editor, but not enough folks are writing in to share personal views, in my opinion. If more wrote in, what a "bright world this could be." As the old saying goes, "See you in the papers." And as a last thought, let's all thank Rick Nelson's father and Rick himself for keeping The Eagle alive in recent decades.

Photo of the Week: An art class held at Johnson Park was fun for children and teacher, Denise Blanchard. I think Denise is planning another craft day for Easter. You can call her at 484-3428 to get date and details if you'd like.

Easter Egg Hunts: Talked with Holly Engelson this morning for info on Easter Egg Hunts on April 8, the Saturday before Easter. The little ones, birth – grade 4, will have an egg hunt at the Naselle GRV School in the morning. The hunt for all kids, including grades through high school, will be held that evening beginning around 6 or so. They will have a set start time as plans further develop, so I'll keep you updated. Holly and other parents are beginning to have annual events for kids that include Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. These activities are a hit with the families, but Holly needs volunteers for various pre-events. For the Easter Egg Hunt, a big help would be filling the plastic eggs with candy, helpers to make sure kids are safe and behaving and to help the kids find the eggs, if needed. Donations from local businesses would be great and they would welcome monetary donations for prizes and other supplies. Call Holly at 484-3948 for more information or to sign up to help.

From Pearl Blackburn: Please include in your list of upcoming events each month that "Dress a Girl" meets the first Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. at the Dress a Girl room at Johnson Park Community Center, Rosburg. Next meeting is March 2 at 1 p.m. Dress pattern and donated cotton fabric available.

Events and Meetings:

Lewis and Clark Maps on display at Appelo Archives Center till-mid March.

Mondays: Naselle Lutheran Church sponsors knitters/crocheters at 1 p.m.

Tuesdays: Quilters meet at 9 a.m. at Naselle Lutheran Church.

Wednesdays: AA meeting at the Grays River Grange at noon.

First Thursday of the month: Gardening group meets at Johnson Park at 6 p.m.

First Thursday of the month: Caregiver Support Group at Naselle Library with Ocean Beach Hospital staff from 1-2 p.m.

First Thursday of the month: Dress a Girl at Johnson Park at 1 p.m.

Monthly School Board meetings: Third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 in library - March 21.

Senior Club Lunches are on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month: April 5 and 19 at noon.

CAP Senior Lunches: Thursday Senior Lunches are located inside Rosburg Hall at noon.

Grays River Habitat Enhancement Board meets March 8 at 5:15 at Grays River Fire Hall.


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