There is an ad on page 11 of the January 18, 1919 edition of the Town Crier highlighting superb productions, coming soon, by the San Carlo Grand Opera Company. “America’s greatest touring organization,” the ad exclaimed, “one hundred people, distinguished American and European stars, symphony orchestra, brilliant chorus, superb stage settings.”
The Town Hall building was originally built as Seattle’s Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. Construction began in 1916. It was designed by Portland architect George Foote Dunham (1876-1949). Built in the Roman Revival style, he wanted it to resemble, in updated terms, Rome’s Pantheon.
Our general contractor, Rafn, has encountered new and significant issues with plaster in the Great Hall and on the second floor that will affect the timeline of our reopening. Complications like these are unusual so close to completion, and we’re working with Rafn to understand the problem and its implications for our schedule. While they have yet to propose a new timeline, as of today they’re anticipating a 60-day delay. This team was selected especially for its experience with historic renovations, so we’re relying on their expertise to choose doing the work “right” over doing it “fast.”
Mozart has been the toast of Seattle for quite some time. The old Town Crier (that ran locally from 1910 to 1938) has a plethora of references of concerts done by symphonies and choral groups; chamber music orchestras and soloists playing the renowned work of one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
90 years ago the Town Crier was crying about the lack of good restaurants in the city. “If all the little French and Italian restaurants in San Francisco make money, and surely most of them must on account of how old they are, there is no reason why someone sufficiently ingenious couldn’t start some similar eating houses in Seattle.”
The Alaskan Way Viaduct is closed forever tonight. Viadoom, we’re calling the traffic problems we’ll now have for a few weeks and months now that it is no more. Viaductpocalypse, we’re calling it. Here’s the Seattle Times’ Survival Guide for it.
The October 4, 1924 issue of the Town Crier was crying about traffic problems in a piece entitled, appropriately, “Traffic Problems.” “The rapid increase in numbers of the automobile has created a nation-wide traffic congestion,” it laments.
There was much concern in the February 25, 1922 edition of the Town Crier. The writers were concerned of this thing called jazz music. They questioned, “Will the willingness of some musicians yield abjectly to the existing ‘jazz-craze’ even though momentarily financially remunerative, not eventually prove socially demeaning?” They thought most certainly it would prove socially demeaning.
“A portrait of quality and distinction,” the ad reads in the January 4, 1919 edition of the Town Crier, “will always bear the name Curtis.” It continues, jovially, “We heartily solicit your patronage for the New Year.” The name Curtis is a famous one in photography circles.
In this 2018 recap episode, host Jini Palmer speaks with Megan Castillo, Town Hall’s Community Engagement Manager, about our community’s responses on social media about favorite Town Hall moments (2:15) and then Jini and Steve highlight a selection of interviews which didn’t make it into previous episodes. Speakers include: Blair Imani with Monica Guzman (31:25); Arnie Duncan with Steve Scher (33:28); Denise Hearn with Alex Gallo-Brown (37:58); Rob Reich with Steve Scher (40:10); Randy Shaw with Tammy Morales (44:44); David Reich with Steve Scher (47:19);
Many Seattle homes were open on New Year’s Day in 1912, according to the December 28, 1912 edition of the Town Crier. Miss Helen Starr, on 1208 Marion Street, the Crier noted, will give “an at home to the maids and bachelors of her acquaintance from three until six o’clock.”
There’s an ad on page 11 of the December 28, 1918 edition of the Town Crier. It lists the faculty of the Cornish School of Music. Piano teachers include, amongst others, Miss Mabel Fett, Miss Fedelia Burgess, and Mr. Dent Mowrey. Voice teachers include Brabazon Lowther and Mrs. Sara Y.B. Peabody.
“Big houses at the Moore this week,” noted the January 11, 1919 issue of the Town Crier. “It might be added, ‘as usual,’” the story continued, “and the entertainers mostly come in pairs – pairs of peaches.” The story took note of Stanley and Birnes, who “sang a little and danced a great deal of absurd stuff,” and The Irish Barry girls with “clever variety stunts.” The Moore has had big houses since Seattle’s iconic theater house opened, on this day, in 1907. It is the oldest still-active theater in Seattle.
Last night was the longest night of the year, and yesterday the shortest day. The seven days preceding and the seven days following the winter solstice are said to be halcyon days, deriving from the ancient tale of a fabled bird, the halcyon, that bred in floating nest on the sea at the winter solstice, charming the winds and waves into calm for the purpose.
“One of the fastest growing sections of Seattle during the past few years,” the Town Crier reported on December 21, 1918, “is the Rainier Valley.” Indeed, “The Seattle Rainier Valley Railway Company has played an important part in the upbuilding and the steady march of progress of Rainier Valley.” The story goes on discussing improvements with an eye towards the future. “The next few years will undoubtedly witness an even greater growth.”
The March 12, 1921 edition of the Town Crier had on its cover Madame Mary Davenport Engberg. She was a violin virtuoso and became director of the Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra’s first concert was April 24, 1921, and they held their last concert on May 4, 1924. The Town Crier reviewed that first concert, writing, in part, “It was a novelty to see a smartly gowned woman on the conductor’s platform wielding the baton, which she did with emphatic manner.” By leading the orchestra she was thought to be the only female conductor in the world.
There is certainly no shortage of references to the Hotel Sorrento in the original Town Crier publication that ran locally from 1910 to 1938. In fact, if you do you a quick online search of the Seattle Public Library’s holdings of the Town Crier, there are 612 mentions of Seattle’s famous hotel.
On the cover of the December 14, 1918 edition of the Town Crier is a gentleman sitting at the keyboard of a Mason & Hamlin piano. The caption reads, “Claude Madden, leader of the Amphion Society, at one of the many new Mason & Hamlin pianos recently received by Montelius Music House, going over a new score just written and probably to be presented at this season’s concerts.”
Our Inside/Out season has come to a close, folks. We’re thrilled to be able to enter our newly renovated building come March. We’ve had a wonderful time out in the community these past months offering up civic, arts, and educational programs that have reflected and inspired our region’s best impulses: creativity, empathy, and the belief that we all deserve a voice. We’re eager to showcase all of that and more soon.
The October 9th, 1920 edition of the Town Crier has a small piece on the age of animals.
Sparrows have lived to be forty years old. A horse does not live much more than twenty-seven years. Cats get to about thirteen years old. The tortoise is supposed to live to be between 300 and 400 years old.
Jazz legend Duke Ellington (1899-1974) called his sacred concerts “the most important thing I have ever done.” What he did: brought jazz into church. This year, Earshot Jazz is celebrating its 30th anniversary of presenting Ellington’s music.