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History of Aberdeen/Hoquiam, Washington

When settlers first came to the Aberdeen and Hoquiam (pronounced: Ho-qwe-um) area in the 1860s, they found a forest so dense that travel between the two settlements, just three miles apart, was possible only via a water route along Grays Harbor. The abundance of lumber spawned the growth of these twin cities and continues to be a major a part of the economy today. The confluence of the Wishkah and Chehalis Rivers is near Aberdeen, Washington, which was first named Wishkah but few people liked the name. Early Scottish settlers, the James B. Stewarts, suggested Aberdeen, which means the confluence of two rivers located in Scotland. Hoquiam comes from a Chehalis Indian word, “Ho-qui-umpts,” which means “hungry for wood.” Grays Harbor, where both towns are located, was discovered in 1792 by Captain Robert Gray, an American enroute to China to trade sea otter pelts for tea. His vessel was the Lady Washington and a replica of the 90-ton “Brig” was built by master shipwrights from throughout the Northwest to celebrate Washington’s centennial in 1989. People may volunteer to work on or book passage on the Lady Washington. Currently, several historic mansions and museums are popular with visitors. A Historical Homes Walking Tour provides details of the beautiful Broadway Hill area and more than 40 historical murals grace the sides of buildings throughout the county. The Aberdeen Museum of History offers artifacts, photos, furnishings, and implements.