A Walking Tour of…
Born to Donald and Wendy Cobain on February 20th, 1967 at Grays Harbor Community Hospital, Kurt Donald Cobain’s first home was at 2830-1/2 Aberdeen Avenue in Hoquiam. Cobain’s father worked at Derrell Thompson’s Chevron Station at 726 Simpson Avenue in Hoquiam while his mother stayed at home with the newborn.
The following year the family moved to 1210 E. First Street in Aberdeen, where Cobain would spend his early childhood, and enrolled at nearby Robert Gray Elementary School in 1972. When his parents divorced in 1976, Cobain moved with his father to nearby Montesano where the boy attended Beacon Elementary School. In 1981 for his fourteenth birthday, Cobain’s uncle bought him a cheap electric guitar from Rosevear’s Music Center at 211 E. Wishkah Street in Aberdeen.
Cobain met Buzz Osborne of the Melvins in the summer of 1983 and could often be found at practice sessions at drummer Dale Crover’s house at 609 W. Second Street in Aberdeen.
During his sophomore year, Cobain moved back to Aberdeen and enrolled at Weatherwax High School. He lived with his mother in the old family house; a mere two blocks from the legendary Young Street Bridge rising above the muddy banks of the Wishkah River. Whether Cobain ever slept under this bridge as he claimed is not certain, however, he did spend time beneath the south approach, as did many of the neighborhood kids. His schooling in Aberdeen continued in a series of fits and starts before he dropped out permanently. In the spring of 1984, Cobain also moved out of his mother’s house. He found himself homeless and sometimes slept in a cardboard box on Crover’s porch in Aberdeen or in the waiting room at Grays Harbor Community Hospital. Cobain worked at the Lamplighter Restaurant in Grayland, on the south beach of the ocean, for a time and later as a janitor at Weatherwax High School – earning enough to rent an apartment in June 1985 at 404 N. Michigan Street in Aberdeen.
Shortly thereafter, on July 23rd, 1985, Cobain was arrested for vandalism when he was caught writing “Ain’T goT no how waTchamacalliT” on an alley wall of the Seafirst Bank Building at Market and Broadway. That fall, homeless again, Cobain moved into the Lamont Shillinger residence at 408 W. First Street in Aberdeen. On May 18th, 1986, apparently intoxicated, Cobain was arrested for trespassing after he wandered onto the roof of an abandoned building at 618 W. Market Street.
In the mid-eighties Cobain met a lanky guitarist named Krist Novoselic who lived across the Young Street Bridge on top of Think-Of-Me Hill at 1120 Fairfield Street. Novoselic’s mother operated a hair salon – Maria’s Hair Design – at 107 S. “M” Street where they would sometimes practice.
On September 1st, 1986 Cobain moved into the “first house” he rented alone – more a ramshackle hovel – at 1000-1/2 E. Second Street, and worked part-time as a maintenance man at the Polynesian Inn Resort at Ocean Shores to pay the rent. By the spring of 1987, Cobain, Novoselic, and drummer Aaron Burckhard formed a band called the Sellouts, performing Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes at local bars. Cobain took the final steps out of Aberdeen – that May Cobain and Novoselic moved to Olympia. They dubbed the band Nirvana and, with David Grohl as drummer, introduced “grunge” to the world.
In the years since Kurt lived in Aberdeen, some of these sites have been moved or demolished:
- A new Robert Gray Elementary School opened in 2002 and a portion of Kurt’s school was demolished.
- Rosevear’s Music Center moved across the street and down the block in 1996, then Larry retired and shut down the store in 2016.
- The old Weatherwax High School building burned in an arson fire on January 5th, 2002.
- The Seafirst Bank Building is now Bank of America.
REMINDER: Most of the sites listed are private residences and businesses –
Do be respectful of privacy
Do not trespass on private property
Do not litter or vandalize any property.