() is a city in Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States, founded by Samuel Benn in 1884. Aberdeen was officially incorporated on May 12, 1890. The city is the economic center of Grays Harbor County, bordering the cities of Hoquiam and Cosmopolis. Aberdeen is called the "Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula," but it is more famous as being the "Birthplace of Grunge," and the hometown of Nirvana members Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. The population was 16,461 at the 2000 census.
Aberdeen was named for a local salmon cannery, a namesake of Aberdeen, Scotland, because it is situated at the mouth of two rivers just like a cannery in Aberdeen, Scotland. Although it became the largest and best known city in Grays Harbor, Aberdeen lagged behind neighbors Hoquiam and Cosmopolis in the early years. When A.J. West built the town's first sawmill in 1884, the other two municipalities had been in business for several years. 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. Hoquiam and Aberdeen citizens banded together to build a spur; and in 1895, the line connected Northern Pacific tracks to Aberdeen.
By 1900, Aberdeen was considered one of the grittiest towns on the West Coast, with many saloons, whorehouses, and gambling establishments populating the area. Aberdeen was nicknamed "The Hellhole of the Pacific", or "The Port of Missing Men", because of its high murder rate. One notable resident was Billy Gohl, known locally as Billy "Ghoul", who was rumored to have killed at least 140 men. (Gohl was convicted of 2 murders )
During the Great Depression, Aberdeen was hit hard, reducing the number of major saw mills from 37 to 9. Mill owners hired Filipino and Jewish immigrants to keep wages low in order to stay in business . The timber industry continued to boom, but by the late 1970s most of the timber had been logged. Most of the mills were closing down by the 1970s and 1980s.
Salmon runs dwindled as spawning grounds were destroyed and rivers filled with silt. The Satsop Nuclear Plant was built in 1978, creating thousands of construction jobs with the promise of permanent employment once the plant was complete. The project was aborted in 1982, doubling the unemployment rate almost overnight. Recently a local sawmill was shut down, causing the community to lose 342 more jobs. However, a new biodiesel plant has opened on the Aberdeen / Hoquiam border, bringing 80 jobs into the community(and have since ground to a halt, thanks in large to our horrific economy, seems they can't sell their fuel), and a huge pontoon construction project was just awarded to neighboring Hoquiam.
a reproduction of a smaller vessel used by the explorer Captain Robert Gray, featured in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film