According to aboutaberdeen.com there are 33 Aberdeens in the world.
16 are or were in the United States. Aberdeen, New Jersey, founded in 1685, is the oldest Aberdeen outside of Scotland. It was settled by Quakers and Presbyterians escaping religious persecution. It has become part of the New York City megalopolis and grown to 17,500.
The Aberdeen I’m most familiar with is Aberdeen, Washington, because I’m currently a Washington resident. I’ve driven through but never lingered. Almost as big as Aberdeen, New Jersey, it’s an industrial, blue-collar town. According to Wikipedia, “by 1900, Aberdeen was considered one of the grittiest towns on the west coast with many saloons, whorehouses, and gambling establishments….” One of its historic nicknames was “The Hellhole of the Pacific”. It was the birthplace of Kurt Kobain, who committed suicide at age 27.
The United State’s biggest Aberdeen with over 25,000 residents is in South Dakota. One who came and left was Frank L. Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He moved there at the age of 32 and opened a store named Baum’s Bazaar. It went bankrupt. He left Aberdeen after 3 years but learned about tornadoes and drought while living there. Baum died in Hollywood.
Aberdeen, South Africa’s claim to fame is its Victorian architecture.
Aberdeen, Arkansas, was destroyed during the Civil War.
There are 4 Aberdeens in Canada. One of them, not too surprisingly, is on Cape Breton and was settled by people from Scotland.
The Aberdeen in Scotland is the most famous and the only real city with this name. I was there for the first and last time in July, 2013. It has lots of nicknames. The most common is Granite City. Another appropriate nickname is Grey City because of Aberdeen’s architectural sameness, block after block of imposing yet similar grey buildings. It’s on a Lonely Planet list of 10 places that aren’t give the credit they deserve. I couldn’t figure out why. Like Washington’s Aberdeen, wind and rain are frequent visitors.
To promote itself, aberdeencity.gov.uk lists 50 things you apparently should know about it. One is that in the late 19th century Aberdeen was the British center for envelope production. The self-sealing envelope was developed here.
Aberdeen is Scotland’s 3rd most populous city. If you’re among its 220,000 citizens and are under the age of 30, you probably join your friends outside pubs after work every day and get louder and louder as night descends. Aberdeen does have jobs. Another of its nicknames is Energy Capital of Europe thanks to North Sea oil.
The Aberdeen Harbor Board established in 1136 is Great Britain’s oldest business. The real Macbeth was killed in the battle of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire a few miles west of the city in 1057. Peter the Great’s main military instructor, Patrick Gordon, was from Aberdeen.
There’s isn’t a lot for visitors to do, so one evening John and I walked to Marischal College, the world’s 2nd largest granite building. #1 is The Escorial in Madrid. Most classes are now held at King’s College and Marischal is a museum and graduation venue.