Aberdeen Museum of History

“Composure come and gone with hunger like a bomb and now she gets her turn, to breathe the wind and burn.” Blow Infinite WaysEnon


What a nice little hidden treasure. I say hidden, not because of the location, but it seems as though this place doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. We were the only ones in there for a couple of hours until some school kids waltzed in toward 2 p.m.

You can see the whole museum upon walking in.



It definitely looks like something you would want to explore. So naturally I started from start to finish.

A man named, “Samuel Benn” was the founder of Aberdeen. He was born in Ireland and eventually died in Aberdeen. I’m not too sure about how he came here or really any serious information because there was none. I looked and couldn’t find anything more than that.


I LOVE looking at old photos like these. I really can’t tell you why because I’m not quite sure. Maybe it has something to do with my wanting to have experienced that decade in life, or that I admire parts of that kind of society. Whatever it is, I enjoy looking at these kinds of images.

Women of Aberdeen

Around the corner, there was a wall dedicated to the “Women of Aberdeen”. These were women who were supposed to be pioneers of this town. They consisted of:

  1. Anona Waldron Malinowski
  2. Minnie Gerdis Malinowski
  3. Emily Malinowski Moe
  4. Sophia Malinowski Davidson
  5. France’s Kozlowaski Malinowski
  6. Doctor Rose Papac
  7. Elizabeth Achey Malinowski
  8. Louise Knoell Fairbairn
  9. Mary Malinowski Evenson

Well, I found this to be completely interesting as some of these women were intertwined within our family on my mother’s side! Elizabeth Achey Malinowski was my great grandmother’s first cousin.


And without getting into too much genealogy, one of the other female pioneers of Aberdeen was Emily Malinowski Moe who is my grandfather’s second cousin.


The relations are a little confusing which is why I can’t go into too much detail because, let’s face it, I’m too tired and there’s little time. But what I will tell you is that one of the most famous pioneers of this town and had world fame for her painting abilities was my 3x great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Achey.


This is actually not the real image of Mary Achey. The woman pictured as Mary Achey is possibly a woman named, Ida Fogarty. So the museum is in need of a real photo of Mary Achey. My aunt can probably provide them with an image.


It is said, not only in this book but in other documentation that Mary Achey was the most prolific woman artists in the west during the years of 1860 to 1885. Her daughter died at a very young age and it must have emotionally damaged her because she blamed her daughter’s death on her husband and left him! She was then rumored to have carried her daughters remains with her for quite some time until she finally buried her. I think she was definitely disturbed by her daughter’s death. In any case, we own several paintings of hers. One of them is a painting she did of what she thought her daughter would look like as a teenager. It’s a very pretty image. Unfortunately I cannot post the picture of the painting as it’s in North Carolina. When I get back I can post it. One of her paintings also hangs in a Presidential Library, at the moment we are currently researching which one it is. The woman at the museum said that it was Lyndon Johnson (this is debatable). Mary Achey definitely did not gain the fame that she probably should have had in Aberdeen AND worldwide. You would think that she would have maintained a larger space in the Aberdeen museum seeing as she was pretty famous in this town, but she had only a tiny corner. Very weird and sad.


Around the corner from the pioneering women was a little corner depicting what school life looked like in Aberdeen back when.



My mom said she used to sit in desks just like this when she was in school. It’s a neat little set up. Check out the list of Teacher Rules:


Rule #8 says “…or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth..” WHOA! I didn’t realize that was a big deal! It makes me want to know what the reputation of barber shops were in Aberdeen back then! Maybe they gave you a shave and then got a “frisky woman” to come out and give you a dance afterward? Scandalous. I don’t know but the rules now are MUCH easier to follow than they were back then!

Railway Station

So most everything in the museum looks like it’s a reconstruction of what certain places and stations would look like. This happened to be a reconstruction of what a railway station would look like?



Pretty neat! I love all that old luggage but I’m SO glad we don’t have to “lug” that around now-a-days. Looking at all these old items and antiques makes me appreciate the conveniences we have now.

Operator Call Center

One of the COOLEST setups at the museum was this little call center for operators. I geeked out a little bit thinking about all those women connecting calls and plugging in things and pushing buttons! LOL I know nothing about this stuff, but I’ve seen it in movies and it looks REALLY neat!





If you’ll notice, there’s a little sign hanging in the phone booth that says, “Antique Chat Room”. HAHAHA too cute.


Behind the operator desk is a little kitchen with a cute stove, sink, washing baskets and dining table.




I absolutely ADORE this old bread tin!


But I have NO interest in washing clothes by hand! That was a labor I admire women for doing back then! Every woman who did this should have received a medal for their heroic efforts and scrubbing clothes against a washboard every day! THANK YOU General Electric, Maytag and every other brand of washing machine!


1902 Metropolitan Steam Pumper

The 1902 Metropolitan Steam Pumper built by the American Fire Engine Company of Seneca Falls, New York, was purchased in October 1902 for $6,800.00. Arriving in Aberdeen in March of 1903, the first test saw it build a full head of steam in only six minutes and thirty-seven seconds. The two horses sometimes had trouble pulling the heavy machine over saw dust streets, so a third horse was added in 1904. This pumper served Aberdeen, first at the central headquarters and then at the South Aberdeen Station. In 1914, the pumper was sold to the Simpson Timber Company, and served in McCleary until 1944. The machine was returned to Aberdeen and was restored. It was exhibited in Seattle at the State Fire Museum and returned to Aberdeen in 1967. The metropolitan was the largest piece of fire equipment that the American Fire Engine Co. made at the time, with a dry weight of 9,800 pounds and can pump 1,100 to 1,400 gallons of water per minute. – (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)


Grays Harbor Motorship Corporation

Grays Harbor Motorship Corporation was established in 1917, during the WW1 era. Land was leased from the Lindstrom Shipyard, located at the foot of South Washington Street. From 1918 through 1919 GHMC completed twenty steamships for the USSB’S (United States Shipping Board) Emergency Fleet Corporation. The most noted ship produced was the S.S. Aberdeen, a 290 foot, 4,000 ton (dead weight) cargo ship, establishing a world record of 17.5 actual working days from keel laying to launching. This record still stand as the greatest performance in the history of shipbuilding, and will probably never be equaled. – (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History) I know the image isn’t great but I had to show the magnitude of these ships!


So along with the ship building of Aberdeen came the logging industry.

The Dolbeer

First steam-powered Donkey came to Grays Harbor in 1890’s. It soon replaced the “hay burners”. (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)


Log Jam

Try to find the men in the “jam” of logs. (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)


Can you imagine logging back then? I really can’t. It’s so hard to really wrap my mind around how such small creatures could cut down such large trees and then move them! The human mind is extraordinary.

Rigging Man


April 1959

This mammoth fir was cut in Cook Creak area south of Neilton by the Don Bell Logging Co. The butt cut measured better than 10 feet in diameter and 28 feet in length and contained about 10,000 board, it was consigned to Harbor Plywood. (Info from Aberdeen Museum of History)


One thing I’ve noticed about photography from years ago, is that ordinary people who had no formal photography education back then had a much better concept of composition than those same people do now. Why is this? I really would like to know the answer. This is a good question for my former instructor and friend Charity Valentine.

General Store

I always find retro products super fascinating! Naturally I gravitated toward the general store to check out what that was all about.


Some of the products included:

  • Oster razor
  • Grandpa’s Pine Tar Toilet Soap
  • Sloan’s Liniment
  • Throat Gargle
  • Swamp Root
  • St. Jacob’s Oil


Father John’s Medicine, A Nutritive Tonic and a Wholesome Medicine included: cod liver oil of high vitamin A and D content, gum arabic and glycerin. It was used for the correction of deficiencies in vitamin A and D. It was recommended for relief of coughs due to cold and throat irritation.


Swamp Root, a Diuretic to Kidneys and Mild Laxative. It’s name was funny which was why I had to add it. LOL You can definitely tell how marketing and advertising has changed over the course of 100+ years. The typical American consumer is not buying something called, “Swamp Root”.


She looks extremely disinterested in whatever is happening at the local General Store. She’s probably ready for quitting time so she can go and be a bad woman in a brothel somewhere!



This church in the early 1900’s doesn’t look much different from any Baptist church in Beaufort County NC in 2015!! LOL #Truth


Barber Shop

I found this to be interesting.


But only because of the sign in the bottom part of the window.


LOL, We’ve messed up the whole United States! Man do we suck! LOL This sign reminded me of the movie Mary Poppins when the mother of the two children was swept up in the “VOTES FOR WOMEN” movement! What’s funny is that I really DID NOT like Mary Poppins at all (the woman) but I really enjoyed the mother and always wanted to see more of her.

Movie Theater

So this is what it looked like inside of the movie theater.


But look at what was directly on top of the theater.


A brothel? A place for sailors to visit women? I don’t know, I just assume that because there’s a red light on a sailor mannequin! HAHAHA!

In conclusions I did learn a little bit from the museum. Unfortunately there were a lot of holes in certain pieces of information. I would have liked to know more about the founder of Aberdeen, Samuel Benn and several other tid bits of info that would have helped me to truly understand this town more.You didn’t really get that with this museum but a little bit is better than nothing.

If anyone has any information on any of these items/topics, please leave your comments below. 🙂

9 thoughts on “Aberdeen Museum of History

  1. You might want to check with the Grange Hall and see your great grandmother there. She was a Grange member for over 50 years. That will be something that might be good to see. Cleopatra Hortense Achey Willumsen Johnson. I doubt all of her names were there, probably Cleopatra Achey Johnson. Anyway, get pictures of her and several others were in the newspaper celebrating the 50th anniversary of them being grange members. It was to honor their dedication to their community! I remember some of the products in your pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heather – We must be cousins, My grandmother Sophia Malinowski Davidson was Emily Moe’s sister. I grew up next door to my great uncle Joe Malinowski and his wife Elizabeth Achey Malinowski.

    I love your photography and enjoyed reading your postings about Aberdeen and Washington. I do have a bit of information that may help your Mary Achey research. When the museum person you talked to mentioned President Johnson, she was referring to President Andrew Johnson. There is supposedly an Achey painting at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Tennessee.

    I’m sure the museum would be very interested in having Achey items to display if some were donated.


  3. At one time an attempt was made to locate pieces of her work. I’m sure this is very outdated. A number of the individuals listed are now deceased. But the work held by institutions are undoubtedly there. I do have copies of the painting at the Andrew Johnson Library and some of the others if you contact me. I also have photos of Ida Fogarty and I don’t think the newspaper photo is her. All the pictures I have of Mary are when she was younger. Do you have one as she aged?

    Work by – MARY ELIZABETH MICHAEL ACHEY (1832-1886)

    (Portions of this record were originally obtained from Aberdeen Public Library. Believed to have been compiled about 1977. Some of these art works have since changed hands. When known, this has been added)

    Homestead on Wishkah River abt 1881- (oil) * Elizabeth Achey Malinowski (deceased)
    (gr/dtr of Mary E Achey)
    Napa Valley Grapes – 1874 (oil)
    “Daughty” 1875 (oil)
    Strawberries (unfinished oil painting) (Family of Clarence & Ida Fogerty Achey)
    Pencil sketch ”
    Paper Mache plate w/roses [|
    Watercolor of an “Inn” – abt 1851 or 1852

    Little Girl (unknown) oil painting Sharon Malinowski Jull (grt.gr/dtr)
    Annie Fogerty- family mbr – oil (Family of Clarence & Ida Fogerty Achey)
    Fisherman – oil
    Pencil sketch of a tree Montesano, WA 98520
    2 letters from Wishkah May/Oct 1882 .
    7 letters from Astoria May-Dec 1883
    5 letters from Ft. Canby, Ore Mar 1885
    Artifacts: Pencil box ”
    Photos of Mary E Achey ”

    Photos of Mary E Achey ‘s family _ || _
    Mary E Achey ‘s Mother: Elizabeth Michael ( oil ) Fran Malinowski White ( Deceased)
    Mary E Achey ‘s Gr/Father Ichelberger (oil) (grt gr/dtr)
    (These are oval/framed portraits) (Family of Clarence & Ida Fogerty Achey)

    Indians hunting buffalo (oil) 10″ mache pit. Fred Achey
    Carved cork castle – 2″x2-^” done with grandson of M. E. Achey)
    pen knife and magnifying glass. Yakima, WA
    Carving is glued to a card which has
    “Babbleburg” written on back. No date. (Family of Clarence & Ida Fogerty Achey)
    Napa County landscape – 14″x20″ in oil
    Clarence Achey portrait 14″xl7″ oval ”
    framed (oil) Age of Clarence btwn 8 & 10
    Old Homestead” (1st of 2 homesteads)
    Il”xl4″ oil painting (no date) ”
    Dead Seagull – oil
    3 sketches done in 1862
    Other sketches in 1882 _ ^

    Walter Achey portrait as young boy (oil) Walter Achey family
    “Daughty” with her doll (oil) Aberdeen, V/A 98520

    Landscape of Sutter Buttes, California ( Napa area) * Debbi Allen Gould (Family of Hortonse M Achey)
    Home in Nevadaville, Colorado Territory, David Allen (Family of Hortonse M Achey)

    Brooch (gold personal artifact) Mary Achey Egerer (Family of Clarence & Ida Fogerty Achey) (gr/dtr of Artist)

    Jungle Shack (Egerer cabin West Fork of Wishkah River) * Pat Egerer – Moore (deceased) Ballard, WA
    (Family of Clarence & Ida Fogerty Achey)

    Landscape * Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
    Greenville, TN

    “Homestead” oil painting Florence Achey Rasmussen
    Portland, Oregon

    Self Portrait Mary E. Achey * Tarria Willumson Baynor
    Portrait Marie Toullion Achey *
    4 Landscapes (One unfinished) *

    Portrait Annie Fogerty Adams * Judy Halverson
    (Family of George & Annie Fogerty Adams)

    OTHER PAINTINGS – location unknown
    “Priest Scolding a little Girl” river
    “Kittens in boot & muffs”
    “Cook Castle”
    (2) home in Ohio
    “Tea Party”
    “Astoria at Sunrise” 1883 (reference Daily Astorian, Sunday Ed 7-8-1883
    Several drawings of Astoria fire and 1 painting (Ref. from Its 1883)
    Kinney’s Cannery 1883 (Ref from letters)
    Mouth of Columbia River 1883 (Reference from letters)
    View of Saddle Mountain -Young’s River 1883 (Ref from letters)
    2 portraits, fancy sketch, several views of lower Montesano, WA 1883

    “Indian Around Campfire” night scene. Large oil painting seen in National Capitol, Washington, D.C. in 1945

    Military Officer portrait in State of Washington Capitol Bldg, Olympia
    (Seen in the Capitol Building in 1948 until after earthquake abt 1951)

    “Montesano”, Washington Territory, 1883 – Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, WA *
    (oil painting) (They sell note cards of the painting there)

    “Lalla Rook” oil painting and it is Mrs. Mildred Malinowski Hamilton
    thought “Daughty” posed for the Lake City Blvd,
    portrait of Lalla Rook Tacoma, WA (grt.gr/dtr of artist) (Family of Clarence & Ida Achey)

    Misc sketches and artifacts: * Wash. State Historical Soc
    Sample of needlepoint Seattle, WA
    Artist’s advertising stamp
    Artist’s textbook
    Series of pencil sketches by Mary E Achey, numbered #1 to #28
    An album containing 13 more drawings, sketches, correspondence, and photos.

    Two (2) oil paintings donated by Miss Martha Robb, August 1936 to the State Historical Soc. of Colorado, 200 Fourteenth Ave, Denver, Colorado 80203.
    Acct No. H 938 Description: Nevadaville by Mrs. Philip Achey, 1860 23″ x 16″ (oil painting)
    Acct No. H-937 Description: Nevadaville, Colorado by Mrs. Philip Achey 1860 21″”x 16″
    Remarks: Nevadaville, a mining town near Central City, grew up during the mining boom days of the I860’s and 70’s which also produced Central City, Black Hawk, and Mountain City in the same area. By the late 1860ls these four towns had merged and became one continuous settlement. However, the decline in mining reduced the population, and today there are again three separate towns of Central City, Black Hawk, and Nevadaville.
    Mrs. Philip Achey (Mary E.) painted in the Colorado region in the 1860’s – 1870’s. Reference is made to her in the CENTRAL CITY REGISTER, Oct 23, 1868, p.4 and Nov 28, 1868, p.l; also in the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS WEEKLY, Vol. XI, Nov 17, 1869, p.l, c.?.

    Mrs. Achey apparently traveled further west, as she was engaged to paint the home of an early settler at Montesano (a small town near Aberdeen, Washington) in 1883.

    As of Feb 1964 Dr. Franz R. Stenzel, 2037 N. W.Lovejoy. Portland, Oregon, is writing a book on regional art of the Northwest, to be published by the Oregon Historical Society.

    * Indicates Photo available


  4. Heather, I believe we may be distant cousins as well. My grandmother was Elizabeth Malinowski Rogers. Emily and Sophia were her sisters. I would love to get in touch with some of our Malinowski relatives we have never met.


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