A Little History…. Aberdeen, Washington

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[who?]. 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 a huge pontoon construction project was just awarded to neighboring Hoquiam.

Aberdeen is also the home port of the tal
l 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(2003).

The original Aberdeen HS burned down in the late 1890’s and then they built the below school in 1909.

The Philips building was built on the side of the above school (1960’s)
to accommodate all the new students that were filling it’s halls.

In 2002, the Weatherwax building of Aberdeen High School, built in 1909, was burned to the ground by two of its students. 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 (Part of 7th and 8th grades); 5 elementary schools: Central Park Elementary, McDermoth Elementary, Stevens Elementary (1, Part of 2nd, 4th, 5th, and Part of 6th), AJ West Elementary ( Part of 2nd , 3rd grade) and Robert Gray Elementary; and 1 Roman Catholic parochial school: St. Mary’s Catholic School.*

*Ones in bold are schools I attended with Years attended in parentheses.

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One response to “A Little History…. Aberdeen, Washington

  1. I love learning about new places. 🙂