Abel-Weatherwax Family Scholarships
On October 16, 1903, a day now known as “Black Friday,” a spectacular fire leveled ten city blocks in downtown Aberdeen, destroying 140 buildings and killing three people. As the young city began to rebuild, it was driven by what became known as the Rainbow Spirit — an infectious optimism that revealed a strength the community barely knew it had. That optimism survived another disastrous fire, sparked just eleven days later, which leveled again some of the same businesses displaced by the first fire.
Almost 100 years later, on January 5, 2002, the Rainbow Spirit came alive again after a midnight fire gutted Aberdeen’s Weatherwax High School, leaving only the skeleton of its landmark main building. Built just six years after the 1903 fires, the high school had been named to honor Aberdeen pioneer J. M. Weatherwax.
The Grays Harbor Community Foundation first offered these Abel-Weatherwax Scholarships in 2002. Named in honor of J. M. and other members of a family whose history is inseparable from the history of Grays Harbor, the scholarships are open to all applicants who satisfy the general eligibility requirements of the Scholarship Program.