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Aberdeen, Washington
City of Aberdeen
Aberdeen, WA - Downtown & Wishkah River from Rt 101.jpg
Flag of Aberdeen, Washington
Flag
Nickname(s): 
The Hellhole of the Pacific; Port of Missing Men
Motto(s): 
Come As You Are
Location within Grays Harbor County and Washington
Location within Grays Harbor County and Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Grays Harbor
Incorporated March 20, 1888
Government
 • Type Mayor–Council
Area
 • City 12.58 sq mi (32.57 km2)
 • Land 10.87 sq mi (28.16 km2)
 • Water 1.70 sq mi (4.41 km2)
Elevation
23 ft (7 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • City 16,896
 • Estimate 
(2019)
16,756
 • Density 1,541.07/sq mi (595.03/km2)
 • Urban
29,856
 • Metro
73,901
Demonym(s) Aberdonian
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP code
98520
Area code 360
FIPS code 53-00100
GNIS ID 1511950

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. Aberdeen is occasionally referred to as the "Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula".

History

Welcome to Aberdeen cropped
A tribute to Kurt Cobain was installed by the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee. "Come as You Are" is a song by Nirvana.

Aberdeen was named for a local salmon cannery to reflect its Scottish fishing port namesake of Aberdeen and because it too is also situated at the mouth of two rivers like its namesake in Scotland which is between the rivers 'Don' at the north and the river 'Dee' to the south side of the Scottish city.

Aberdeen was founded by Samuel Benn in 1884 and incorporated on May 12, 1890. Although it became the largest and best-known city in Grays Harbor, Aberdeen lagged behind nearby Hoquiam and Cosmopolis in the early years. When A.J. West built the town's first sawmill in 1894, 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 together built a spur; and in 1895, the line connected Northern Pacific tracks to Aberdeen.

During the Great Depression, Aberdeen was hit hard, reducing the number of major sawmills from 37 to 9. 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.

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.

Geography

Aberdeen is at the eastern end of Grays Harbor, near the mouth of the Chehalis River and southwest of the Olympic Mountains. 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. 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.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.36 square miles (32.01 km2), of which 10.65 square miles (27.58 km2) is land and 1.71 square miles (4.43 km2) is water.

Climate

Aberdeen experiences a climate on the boundary between Mediterranean (Köppen Csb) and oceanic (Köppen Cfb). Although the rainfall is extremely high between October and March, July and August still have a distinct excess of evaporation over rainfall. Temperatures are generally very mild due to the proximity of the warm Pacific Ocean and the Kuroshio Current: snow is extremely rare although during December 1964 22.3 inches (57 cm) fell. Occasionally, southeasterly winds can cause very high temperatures. For example, in August 1981, the temperature in Aberdeen reached 105 °F (40.6 °C).

Climate data for Aberdeen
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 66
(18.9)
73
(22.8)
82
(27.8)
88
(31.1)
96
(35.6)
101
(38.3)
105
(40.6)
105
(40.6)
100
(37.8)
86
(30)
73
(22.8)
63
(17.2)
105
(40.6)
Average high °F (°C) 45.8
(7.67)
49.4
(9.67)
52.9
(11.61)
57.1
(13.94)
61.8
(16.56)
65.5
(18.61)
69.1
(20.61)
69.8
(21)
68.5
(20.28)
61.3
(16.28)
52.0
(11.11)
46.6
(8.11)
58.3
(14.61)
Average low °F (°C) 34.6
(1.44)
35.3
(1.83)
36.7
(2.61)
39.4
(4.11)
43.9
(6.61)
48.5
(9.17)
51.3
(10.72)
51.9
(11.06)
48.7
(9.28)
43.7
(6.5)
38.7
(3.72)
35.7
(2.06)
42.4
(5.78)
Record low °F (°C) 6
(-14.4)
8
(-13.3)
18
(-7.8)
13
(-10.6)
22
(-5.6)
32
(0)
34
(1.1)
36
(2.2)
30
(-1.1)
19
(-7.2)
11
(-11.7)
6
(-14.4)
6
(-14.4)
Precipitation inches (mm) 12.78
(324.6)
9.73
(247.1)
8.85
(224.8)
5.76
(146.3)
3.68
(93.5)
2.66
(67.6)
1.20
(30.5)
1.61
(40.9)
3.50
(88.9)
7.31
(185.7)
12.54
(318.5)
13.5
(343)
83.2
(2,113)
Snowfall inches (cm) 4.4
(11.2)
1.9
(4.8)
0.7
(1.8)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.4
(1)
1.1
(2.8)
8.6
(21.8)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 21 18 20 17 13 11 6 7 10 16 20 22 181

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,638
1900 3,747 128.8%
1910 13,660 264.6%
1920 15,337 12.3%
1930 21,723 41.6%
1940 18,846 −13.2%
1950 19,653 4.3%
1960 18,741 −4.6%
1970 18,489 −1.3%
1980 18,739 1.4%
1990 16,565 −11.6%
2000 16,461 −0.6%
2010 16,896 2.6%
2019 (est.) 16,756 −0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 16,896 people, 6,476 households, and 4,020 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,586.5 inhabitants per square mile (612.6/km2). There were 7,338 housing units at an average density of 689.0 per square mile (266.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.4% White, 0.8% African American, 3.7% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 8.0% from other races, and 4.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.8% of the population.

There were 6,476 households, of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no spouse present, 7.1% had a male householder with no spouse present, and 37.9% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.10.

The median age in the city was 35.6 years. 24.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.8% were from 25 to 44; 26% were from 45 to 64; and 13% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.

Sister cities

Education

School burn
The Weatherwax building of Aberdeen High School burned down in 2002.

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. Aberdeen High has a long-time school sports rivalry with nearby Hoquiam High School.

In 2002, the Weatherwax building of Aberdeen High School, built in 1909, burned to the ground in an act of arson. The new building was completed in 2007 and held its grand opening on August 25, 2007.

Aberdeen School District also consists of one junior high: Miller Junior High; five elementary schools: Central Park Elementary, McDermoth Elementary, Stevens Elementary, AJ West Elementary and Robert Gray Elementary; and one Roman Catholic parochial school: St. Mary's Catholic School.

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.

Aberdeen has the largest public library in Grays Harbor County, which is operated as part of the Timberland Regional Library system. The city originally had a Carnegie library that was opened in 1908 and replaced in 1966 by the current building, which underwent extensive renovations in 2000.

The city's museum was located in a historic armory building that was built in 1922. The building and the museum's collections were destroyed in a major fire in June 2018, including an exhibit on Nirvana. It was the latest of several major fires to have affected Aberdeen.

Notable people

  • Robert Arthur, actor and gay rights activist
  • Elton Bennett, artist
  • Mark Bruener, NFL football player
  • Carrie Goldberg, attorney, author
  • Trisha Brown, choreographer
  • Hank Woon, author, game designer, screenwriter
  • Jeff Burlingame, journalist and author
  • Robert Cantwell, novelist
  • Colin Cowherd, sports media personality
  • Calvin Fixx, writer
  • Lee Friedlander, artist and photographer
  • Victor Grinich, pioneer of Silicon Valley
  • Walt Morey, writer and creator of Gentle Ben
  • Robert Motherwell, painter of New York School
  • Ed Murray, Democratic politician and Mayor of Seattle 2014-17
  • Peter Norton, computer programmer
  • Douglas Osheroff, winner of Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Craig Raymond, basketball player, 12th pick of 1967 NBA draft
  • Wesley Carl Uhlman, politician
  • John Workman, writer, artist

Musicians

Images for kids

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