By Steve Lent, Historian
Simnasho is an unincorporated community on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Wasco County, Oregon. It is located near the intersection of Simnasho Road, Wapinitia Road and Simnasho-Hot Springs Road. It was the seat of the reservation government until the turn of the 19th century when the headquarters was moved to the community of Warm Springs. In 1874 the first Bureau of Indian Affairs School on the reservation was established in Simnasho. However the school was later moved to Warm Springs and became a boarding school. Simnasho had a school on an intermittent basis for several years. It also had two churches.
A post office was established at the site in August 1886 and named Sinemasho. It was discontinued the following year. Simnasho post office was established at the same site in 1894 with Nellie Speer serving as first postmaster. Simnasho is derived from a Sahaptin language term sinimassa which means thorn bush. The post office continued with a short intermission until 1954 when mail was moved to Wapinitia a few miles north.
Simnasho has been the site for a number of ceremonial activities on the reservation. It appears that Simnasho has not been included in official census records and there is no listing of its population but it remains a small isolated village. If you are looking for an interesting drive head north from Warm Springs to Kahneeta Hot Springs then north on Reservation Road to Simnasho and Wapinitia then connecting with Highway 216.