The Great Pacific Northwest – A Nirvana Pilgrimage

In memory of the 28th anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain I revisited photos of my trip to Seattle and his home town of Aberdeen, Washington.

Aberdeen – Kurt & Krist Home Town
1) I am not sure if anyone would willingly visit the economically deprived town if it were not some sort of fan pilgrimage. From Portland we took an hour detour off the I-5 to the small logging town of Aberdeen. After years of in-fighting the town embraced the history of the fallen singer. “Come As You Are” adorns the welcome sign as you pull into town. The first stop was his childhood home at 1210 E. First St, a tiny, modest house where Kurt spent his early years.

2) Literally a few blocks away is the infamous bridge referenced in the song “Something in The Way” … Kurt claimed to have lived under the bridge but that seems to be a folklore exaggeration. The graffiti covered bridge is along the banks of the Wishkah River which is featured on the back sleeve of the 1996’s “From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah”. There is a small memorial park adjacent to the bridge. Once again the town was not privy on parts of Kurt’s checkered past.

3) From there was the Aberdeen Museum of History. This small gem housed an exhibit to Cobain with a couch he slept on after running away from his parents house in High-school. Sadly a fire destroyed the museum shortly after my visit.

Seattle
1) The Marco Polo Hotel on Aurora Ave was home for the night. I specifically called ahead to book room #226. This was Kurt’s home away from home. Though the neighborhood has since been gentrified this is where Kurt would cab it from his Lake Washington mansion to score dope from the nearby trailer park and hide away from the world. He would check under Axl Rose’s real name (Bill Bailey)

2) Kurt and Courtney’s Lake Washington home. (171 Lake Washington Boulevard East) This is the famous house that flashed all over MTV News that fateful day in April 1994. He was discovered by an electrician in the greenhouse above the garage. Courtney had the garage destroyed almost immediately (suspicious? Maybe, but that is another story). The owners and neighbors in the affluent part of town must be sick of all the “degenerate visitors” stopping bye.

3) Viretta Park is literally right next door to Kurt’s old property. It is rumored he would sit here and look out onto Lake Washington. A park bench serves as a makeshift memorial. Fans leave mementos and write on the bench.

4) Cactus Mexican Restaurant is a few miles away. This was one of the last places Kurt was seen alive. He sat outside with his friends on April 3rd, ordering his favorite “Bananas Dulce”. They all started with dessert (hey junkies like sweets). When it was time to pay, Courtney had cut off all his credit cards. Clearly high, he paid with a check. Where he was supposed to write the name of the restaurant, he had written the dollar amount. I took a bottle of their homemade hot sauce as a souvenir.

5) Former Reciprocal Recording studio – I found this by accident. It is an oddly shaped building where Nirvana recorded their debut album Bleach. They paid Jack Endino the modest price of $600 to track their Sub Pop debut over the Christmas time of 1988.

Some other notable places are the Sub Pop World Headquarters and Linda’s Tavern (707 East Pine St). Kurt went to Linda’s, made his way to the back bar and reportedly snuck out via a window. This is also one of his last sightings.

IN CLOSING….
I have read about all these places or seen them on TV since 1993. It was an extremely special trip for me. After experiencing all these places for myself, I made my own conclusions on his death. I know he was done with Nirvana and Courtney. His life? I am not so sure. As a Father I don’t have a lot of respect for his lifestyle choices and parenting but he did love his Daughter. I think Dylan Carlson and Courtney Love are the gatekeepers of the truth and we may never know? Addicts do addict things out of desperation. I think something went terribly wrong at his home, the people present panicked and a great cover up ensued. Whether that be an overdose or foul play I am still not sure? The logistics of him taking his own life unassisted are not feasible. Regardless, the outcome was tragic. RIP

“Select photo contribution courtesy of Brooke Caudle” 

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