Hotel Morck

By National Register of Historic Places

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Hotel Morck
Hotel Morck

Photograph courtesy of Washington State Historic Preservation Office

The Hotel Morck, in Aberdeen, Washington is historically significant for its broad contributions and direct connections to the commercial development of the Grays Harbor region. Upon completion, the Hotel Morck was touted as the finest hotel in Southwest Washington, a testament to developer Ernest A. Morck's vision and civic pride. Under the management of Ernst Mork's son, Carl, it remained the preeminent hotel in the region for over 40 years. The 1924 hotel is also significant under criteria C as a resource that represents the work of notable Seattle designer, Abraham H. Albertson and the Seattle contracting firm of Rounds-C list. The hotel building exemplifies late 19th and early 20th Century Classical Revival architecture, with the extensive use of terra cotta and a formal tri-parte arrangement. The period of significance begins in 1924, the completion date for the hotel, and ends in 1961, the year the hotel transferred out of the original ownership group and began a slow decline and conversion into apartments. By the early 1980s, the building had been converted to a low-income apartment complex and was renamed the Morck Apartments (renamed Washington Apartments in 2004).

Although not listed for is association with Kurt Cobain, the hotel does have a connection with Aberdeen native son, singer/songwriter Kurt Cobain, of the grunge band Nirvana. Historian and Cobain biographer, Charles R. Cross, noted that the hotel was frequented by Cobain and his friends who visited a hopeless alcoholic and his son, which they lovingly referred to as: "The Fat Man and Bobby". The "Fat Man" was willing to buy Cobain and his friends alcohol as long as they paid for the alcohol and helped him and his disabled son, "Bobby," get to the local supermarket. The "Fat Man and Bobby" were the subjects of Cobain's earliest short stories and songwriting. For a penniless teen who sometimes slept in an empty refrigerator box on a friend's cold porch, the Morck's welcoming motto "Come As You Are" may have seemed funny and apt. "Whether Kurt directly took something from that," says Cross, "or whether it simply stayed in his subconscious a few years later when he wrote the song, is unknown, but it's a fascinating twist, and perhaps an explanation of the genesis of the title of one of Nirvana's greatest songs." Today the phrase appears on a welcome sign greeting visitors to Aberdeen, which installed a controversial statue of a weeping Cobain at the town's history museum in 2014.

Property Name                 HOTEL MORCK 
Reference Number         16000294
State     Washington
County                 Grays Harbor
Town     Aberdeen
Street Address 215 S. K Street
Multiple Property Submission Name       N/A
Status   Listed 5/23/2016
Areas of Significance      COMMERCE, ARCHITECTURE

 Link to file

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

National Register of Historic Places