Aberdeen is a city in Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States. The population was 16,896 at the 2010 census. The city is the economic center of Grays Harbor County, bordering the cities of Hoquiam and Cosmopolis. Take a look below for our list of 25 interesting and fun facts about Aberdeen, Washington, United States.
1. Aberdeen is occasionally referred to as the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula”.
2. Aberdeen was named after a local salmon cannery to reflect its Scottish fishing port namesake Aberdeen, and because it, too, is situated at the mouth of two rivers (Aberdeen, Scotland is bordered by the River Don to the north and the River Dee to the south).
3. Aberdeen was founded by Samuel Benn in 1884 and incorporated on May 12, 1890.
4. Although it became the largest and best-known city in Grays Harbor, Aberdeen lagged behind nearby Hoquiam and Cosmopolis in its early years.
5. When A.J. West built the town’s first sawmill in 1894, the other two municipalities had been in business for several years.
6. Aberdeen and its neighbors vied to be the terminus for Northern Pacific Railroad, but instead of ending at one of the established mill towns, the railroad skimmed through Cosmopolis and headed west for Ocosta.
7. Hoquiam and Aberdeen citizens together built a spur; in 1895, the line connected Northern Pacific tracks to Aberdeen.
8. By 1900, Aberdeen had become home to many saloons, brothels, and gambling establishments.
9. It was nicknamed “The Hellhole of the Pacific”, as well as “The Port of Missing Men” due to its high murder rate.
10. One notable resident was Billy Gohl, known locally as Billy “Ghoul”, who was rumored to have killed at least 140 men. Gohl was ultimately convicted of two murders.
11. Aberdeen was hit hard during the Great Depression, which saw the number of major local sawmills reduce from 37 to 9.
12. The timber industry continued to boom, but by the late 1970s most of this resource had been logged.
13. Most of the mills had closed down by the 1970s and 1980s.
14. Aberdeen is also the home port of the tall ship Lady Washington, a reproduction of a smaller vessel used by the explorer Captain Robert Gray, featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean film The Curse of the Black Pearl.
15. Aberdeen is at the eastern end of Grays Harbor, near the mouth of the Chehalis River and southwest of the Olympic Mountains.
16. Grays Harbor is notable as the northernmost ria on North America’s Pacific Coast because it has remained free of glaciers throughout the Quaternary due to unfavorable topography and warm temperatures.
17. It is thought that, during glacial periods of the Quaternary, the Chehalis River was a major refugium for aquatic species, as was the west coast from the Olympic Peninsula southward for plants that later formed the northern part of the Pacific temperate rainforest in formerly glaciated areas.
18. Aberdeen experiences a climate on the boundary between Mediterranean (Köppen Csb) and oceanic (Köppen Cfb).
19. Although the rainfall is extremely high between October and March, July and August still have a distinct excess of evaporation over rainfall.
20. Aberdeen and the rest of Grays Harbor remain dependent on timber, fishing, and tourism industries and as a regional service center for much of the Olympic Peninsula.
21. Grays Harbor Community Hospital employees total more than 600 workers.
22. The city’s school district has two high schools: J. M. Weatherwax High School, or Aberdeen High School as it is now called; and Harbor High School, an alternative high school with an enrollment exceeding 200 students.
23. Aberdeen High has a long-time school sports rivalry with nearby Hoquiam High School.
24. In 2002, the Weatherwax building of Aberdeen High School, built in 1909, burned to the ground in an act of arson.
25. Aberdeen is home to Grays Harbor College, located in south Aberdeen, and is represented by the Charlie Choker mascot. The college emphasizes student opportunities and has resources to help students transfer to a four-year college to complete a degree.