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The Olympic Peninsula and Washington Coast Travel Guide


The pretty town of Aberdeen, on Grays Harbor at the mouth of the Chehalis River, was settled in 1867 by farmers. Some of the earliest residents were Scottish immigrants who named it after their own city set along a harbor at the mouth of a river. Growth and prosperity came to the town after Scotsman George R. Hume started a salmon cannery here in 1878 and the town's first sawmill was built

in 1884. Soon tall ships crowded the narrow harbor to load lumber, and waterfront bars were busy with sailors and lumberjacks.

Early homesteaders found the cleared forest land too soggy to support anything except cranberries, which still thrive in the bogs. Other farmers turned to cultivating oysters in the shallow harbor bays. In 1903 most of Aberdeen's buildings, made of wood and surrounded by streets of sawdust, burned down during a dry spell. These were replaced with stone and brick buildings, many of which still stand in the downtown area.

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