Aberdeen ( /æbərdiːn/) is a city in Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States, founded by Samuel Benn in 1884. Aberdeen was 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 hometown of Nirvana members Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic as well as professional wrestler Bryan Danielson. The population was 16,896 at the 2010 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 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 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 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 )