What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Miss Dorothy Ewing will be the guest of honor at a picnic luncheon” and, “Have you heard whispered the coming vogue for Oriental pearls?” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

There’s an ad in the August 23 issue of the Town Crier. It’s for the Cremation Society of Washington on Queen Anne Boulevard at Sixth West (an organization that still exists in Tacoma). Under the management of Arthur Wright, the Cremation Society offered a private ambulance, earth burials, shipments. There were licensed embalmers on site. Funeral directors, too.

This all might be of interest to you and one Caitlin Doughty. A celebrated licensed mortician, she’ll be coming to Town Hall as part of our Homecoming Festival on September 16. She was here last year as part of our Inside/Out season. You can listen to that talk here. This time, she’ll discuss her new book, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, blending her scientific understanding of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses.

Buy tickets now. The event is (snicker snicker) TO DIE FOR.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Neil and Fox Beauty Parlor is offering permanent and Marcel waving” and, “Mrs. Lawrence Bogle was hostess at a luncheon on Wednesday at the Golf Club.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

“In August time,” the Frederick & Nelson ad reads in the August 16 issue of the Town Crier, “the highways, trails and placid waters of the Puget Sound region provide matchless settings for the Kodak enthusiast.”

Seattle Met recently asked, “Which Washington State Park Should You Visit?” Their thoughts.

Seattle Magazine recently noted “The Seattle Outdoor Activities Everyone Must Do.” Their thoughts.

Into Instagram? Big 7 Travel recently gave readers “The Most Instagrammable Spots in Washington.” Their thoughts.

These days most people are taking to the highways, trails and placid waters with their smart phones rather than with Kodak cameras. Kodak was a giant in the photo industry. Then they went bankrupt. What happened? This.

Talking about giants that are now history: Frederick & Nelson. Founded in 1891 as a furniture store, it expanded to sell all sorts of wares. The 1919 ad continued, “Frederick & Nelson provides the Kodaks, the films and a competent finishing service – to say nothing of the bonbons, cushions, cool wearables and other aids to a thoroughly enjoyable vacation.” The store continued to expand in the area, up to 10 stores in two states. The company went out of business in 1992.

Enjoy the rest of summer, friends. Take some photos. Eat some bonbons. Enjoy our region’s matchless settings.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Maurice Brown gave a delightful talk on ‘Poets and Poetry’ on Tuesday” and, “Miss Ellen Messer was the proud winner of the blue ribbon in the ladies saddle class last Sunday at Camp Lewis.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

There was high praise in the August 2nd, 1919 edition of the Town Crier for the Theo Karle Club concert that was held at the Armory in honor of the Eastern Star delegates. “The Moszkowksi Dance and ‘The Americans Come’ proved the favorite choral numbers. The unaccompanied numbers demonstrated the high grade of work done by this club.” The story singled some singers out. “The soloists were Miss Evelyn Dale, who sang Cadman’s ‘Thrush’ in a charming manner, and responded to an encore with ‘Old Virginny,’ accompanied by the club.” The Theo Karle Club, it was noted, was going to play at an Alki beach picnic the following weekend, joined by the Seattle Clef Club.

Theo Karle

This begs the question: Who was Theo Karle? Born in Iowa in 1893, Karle came went and lived most of his life in Olympia, Washington. It was there that he gained notoriety for his tenor vocal skills. He performed on various radio stations and made his way to New York City, where he made his first appearance with the Rubenstein Club in 1916. He toured with the New York Philharmonic for a time. He had some recordings made for Victor and Brunswick Records in the 1910s and 1920s. In the 1920s he toured Europe, singing with the Opera-Comique in Paris and the Opera of Monte Carlo. He worked for CBS in the 1930s and retired to Seattle in 1941 and taught voice lessons. He died in 1972.

His music lives on, however. You can listen to him sing here, here, and here.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Mrs. Francis Guy Frink was the hostess of a delightful picnic luncheon” and, “Miss Evelyn Colvin launched the ship Chalise on Tuesday.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

Town Crier writer Adele M. Ballard wrote in the July 26, 1919 edition, “And now the residents are seriously considering the exquisite propriety of changing the name of the one-time fashionable First Hill to Hospital Hill. Others are strongly in favor of ironically dubbing it Last Hill. Why? Oh, well, you know, it’s bound to be increasingly that for many of its temporary dwellers.”

Such doom and gloom, Adele! She lightens up…some. “While it may not be the most cheerful proposition in the world, in a way, for the owners of homes, yet even in this most healthful city extant it seems that such hostelries are a growing necessity. Unfortunately they are bound to give the First Hillers a rather gloomy outlook on life with

“Hospitals to the right of them,
Hospitals to the left of them,
Groaning like thunder:
Theirs not to question why,
Theirs but to do or die,
Pack household gods and fly –
Get out from under!”


Adele, a poetess, to boot.

Town Hall Seattle is a proud resident of First Hill. Our building has stood on it since 1916. Do you know about the First Hill Improvement Association? The organization champions a dynamic and safe First Hill through advocacy on key issues affecting the neighborhood; providing a forum for discussion; programming community events; tracking changes that impact the community; and connecting people to create the best neighborhood possible.

The First Hill event calendar can be found here. Town Hall’s event calendar can be found here.

Come join us in our neighborhood!

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “The first week of the month had many of us making frequent trips to the ice box and mixing cooling drinks” and, “The Tuesday evening dances at the Red Cross Jumble Shop have become pleasant weekly habits.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

There was a time, a hundred years ago, that people hunted by phonograph.

“A phonograph has been put to a very novel use by seal hunters of the Pacific,” a story read in the July 19, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “A large instrument, but one which is of a convenient shape for transportation, is made use of, and it is set up near the rendezvous of the animals, and soon its music attracts their attention and they lift their heads well above the water.” You might imagine what happens next. “A hunter reports that he has been able to shoot large numbers of them while they are under the spell of sounds so strange to their ears.”

A hundred years later, we no longer hunt by phonograph but we certainly go hunting for vinyl. A list of ten record stores in Seattle (by all means, not a comprehensive list):

Bop Street Records in Ballard.

Daybreak Records in Fremont.

Easy Street Records in West Seattle.

Everyday Music on Capitol Hill.

Fantagraphics in Georgetown.

Golden Oldies in Wallingford.

Jive Time Records in Fremont.

Neptune Music Company in the University District.

Sonic Boom in Ballard.

Spin Cycle on Capitol Hill. 


Happy hunting.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Miss Catherine Poe has invitations out for a dinner dance for the younger set,” and, “Chopin’s ‘Military Polonaise’ was played on the piano by Gladys Bezeau on Sunday afternoon.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

There was a small mention by Town Crier writers in the July 12, 1929 edition of the Seattle Garden Club.

“The Seattle Garden Club visited the gardens in The Highlands on Tuesday afternoon,” it noted. Among those in attendance was Mrs. C.D. Stimson, Mrs. Archibald Stewart Downey, Mrs. Scott Bullitt, Mrs. William E. Boeing, Mrs. John H. Ballinger, Mrs. D.E. Frederick, Mrs. M.A. Arnold, and Mrs. Thomas Stimson. The afternoon was brought to a close with a “delightful tea” at the home of Mrs. Ballinger.

What’s also delightful besides tea? The Seattle Garden Club continues to bloom to this day. The Seattle Garden Club was founded in 1917 by a group of women who shared a love of gardening. SGC became affiliated with The Garden Club of America in 1923, and continues to be so. SGC encourages interest in horticulture, conservation, floral design, and photography.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “July first ushered in a new month and what a month!,” and, “The more advanced members of the feminine contingent are expanding their skirts from the late string-bean mode into something more nearly approaching the lima-bean style of architecture.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

Town Crier writers, in July of 1919, did not like jazz. A story on jazz begins, “Le Matin of Paris is claiming the honor of having invented that syncopated horror, the jazz, and with all haste compatible with dignity we are placing the ragged and wilted laurel wreath of honor on the brown of our dear ally. With our hand on our heart we say with deep feeling – ‘After you, our dear Alphonse!’ Far be it from us to dispute your claim. Personally we had reason to believe that it was ‘something the cat brought in,’ but if you want it – take it with our blessing.”

They did not like jazz one bit. The story takes an even darker turn. “It has added its quota to the horrors of war and our lives would not be hopelessly saddened if we never hear its ear-splitting shrieks again nor have to watch fat people gyrating solemnly to its wails.” Town Crier writers suggest Le Matin take OTHER things that they want no part of, including “Fat men in jitneys,” “Dresses buttoned down the back with large violet buttons,” “Douglas Fairbanks,” “Men’s illustrated underwear advertisements,” “German helmets,” “Jokes about serious matters like Prohibition,” “Capes,” “Knitted ties,” “White shoes on large feet,” and “Hair ear-muffs.” There’s no telling what a Town Crier writer would do, heart attack maybe, had they seen someone with white shoes on large feet dancing to jazz with a cape on. Goodness.

Good that jazz has stuck around in Seattle 100 years hence. Seattle has a rich jazz history. Ray Charles played here. Ernestine Anderson, too. Quincy Jones played. Earshot Jazz, Seattle’s venerable institution, has a mission statement that reads, ‘Earshot Jazz cultivates a vibrant jazz community to ensure the legacy and progression of the art form by engaging audiences, celebrating artists, and supporting arts education.” Just recently Earshot Jazz teamed up with Town Hall to produce “Courtois, Erdmann, Fincker: Love of Life,” a jazz trio whose music was inspired by the writer Jack London. They’re teaming up again on September 27, with Grammy Award-winning drummer and composer Brian Blade, performing Town Hall’s Forum.

Some other jazz organizations in Seattle include Seattle JazzED (a music education program for any child in grades 4-12 at all levels), Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra.

More syncopated horrors, please and thank you.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “The gayest of gay parties was the sixth anniversary of the Sunset Club,” and, “A golf match was played last Saturday between the devotees of the game residing at Wing Point, Eagle Harbor and the Country Club on Bainbridge Island.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

“Horseback riding has fallen into the list of bygone pastimes owing to the extensive use of motors,” the June 28,1919 Town Crier writers cried. “But now it is once more coming into its own and the formation of a riding club in Seattle is quite in line with activities in other cities where riding is being revived.”

A small news article in the Crier mentioned that a new organization was forming “that promises to add much to the pleasure of society.” It was a riding club carefully being worked out by Mrs. Charles R. Castlen and Mrs. J.E. Galbraith. “There are many trails within easy distance of the city which should be cleared and doubtless many more will be opened up through the forests and bordering the Sound and Lake. One could scarcely imagine a more attractive place for riding than in the environs of Seattle.”

Seattle’s environs are still enchanting horse enthusiasts to this day. It is, indeed, a Life Between the Ears (based on Vashon Island). The Seattle Polo and Equestrian Club offers tournaments, club chukkers, boarding, and training. It also has its own polo school. Cascade Horse Shows is a partnership of three entrepreneurial women with a passion for horses and a mission to produce exceptional hunter jumper equestrian events. There’s also, of course, Emerald Downs, a horse racing track in Auburn.

Mrs. Castlen and Mrs. Galbraith would be pleased.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “The Tennis Club has decided to have its dinner dances on alternate Wednesdays,” and, “Dr. Alfred Martin delivered an address on Wednesday afternoon on psychic research.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

“Once upon a time,” began a story in the June 21, 1919 Town Crier, “a certain pompous individual said women had no humor. It is evident he had not met Dr. Aurelia Henry Reinhardt, else his mouth would have been filled with the ashes of his own words as he ate them.” Dr. Reinhardt was speaking informally to the members and friends of the Women’s University Club “before an appreciative audience that taxed the capacity of the dining room.”

Dr. Aurelia Henry Reinhardt

To note: Dr. Reinhardt (1877-1948) was an American educator and activist. She was elected president of Mills College in 1916 and held the position until 1943, making her the longest serving president in the history of the famed women’s college. Mills College was the first women’s college west of the Rockies, established in 1852.

The story concluded with, “Dr. Reinhardt’s talk brimmed with good sense and a humor that caused many a ripple of laughter to run lightly through the audience and many of her hearers carried away with them the feeling expressed by one of them to the effect that if she had a daughter she would ask nothing better for her than to be associated with and under the influence of a woman like Dr. Reinhardt.”

Town Hall has had its share of rippling laughter of late. Samantha Irby conversed with Lindy West; Angela Garbes discussed pregnancy and motherhood; Caitlin Doughty chatted about mortuary matters; Sydney Brownstone and Heidi Groover swapped conspiracy theories; and Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent, took the stage with Hannah Gadsby and Morgan Parker.

Find out who else might have talks that brim with good sense and humor on our online calendar.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near-forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “There is a sad lack of popular appreciation for the orchestra and its importance to the finer side of our cultural existence,” and, “The dinner at the Golf Club and the Fransioli dance for the younger set at the Tennis Club will be the largest affairs of the season.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

The June 14, 1919 writers of the Town Crier were both congratulatory of Tacoma but also wondering why Seattle wasn’t doing more to congratulate itself in the brief story “Our Musical Neighbor.”

“While Seattle is placing a period at the close of her musical season Tacoma is rousing herself to action and putting on a notable series of concerts in her great Stadium that will draw thousands of people by boat, train and auto to that spectacular center of entertainment,” the story began. Indeed, the summer 1919 concert season in Tacoma included such notables as May Peterson, Marie Rappold, and Lambert Murphy! “The movement is in the right direction,” the story continues, “and meets the heartiest commendation from every quarter; it is an asset for Tacoma that can not be overestimated, and one we may ensure will not be overlooked by our neighbor.”

The writer then asks Seattleites why they didn’t have a beautiful amphitheater like Tacoma did. “Why are we so sluggish about taking advantage of our own amphitheater out on the University campus? There it stands vacant and idle, with the spiders spinning webs across the seats between which the weeds push their way.” Alas—it is being squandered! “If we would do but a tithe of what Nature has already done, it would be known all over the country.”

The Crier writers picture a beautiful scene. “A night in June flooded with moonlight; a multitude of people sitting in hushed silence listening to a voice singing a passionate love song of a bygone day, accompanied by the exquisite strains of violin and cello; for miles to the south one watched unconsciously the light glistening on the waters of the Lake, across which the boats in the distance pass to and fro like little moving palaces all agleam. Has Seattle lost sight of her obligations to her people to give them such wonderful memories?”

Seattle has not, Town Crier writer of bygone days! If you haven’t been inside the newly renovated Town Hall, do. The Great Hall is a wondrous place where a multitude of people can sit in hushed silence listening to exquisite music.

Mason Bates

For instance, on June 21, the last concert of the Town Music series will take place. It features Grammy Award winner Mason Bates alongside the works of J.S. Bach—an ambitious convergence of musical canon and cutting-edge modern repertoire. Tickets are on sale now!

 

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