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, “Admiral Robert E. Koontz entertained with a dinner aboard the USS Oregon” and, “Patrons of the Orthopedic Tea Shop are notified that an excellent tea will be served every afternoon at five o’clock.” 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…

On the cover of the October 18, 1919 edition of the Town Crier was the distinguished gentleman John Spargur, the conductor of the Seattle Symphony from 1911 to 1921. The newspaper was touting their first show of the 1919 season that was to happen on November 7. On the repertoire was Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and Gustave Charpentier’s Impressions of Italy.

Today’s Seattle Symphony is now under the direction of Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard, their concerts the weekend of November 7 will include the movie music of John Williams.

Town Hall has their own classical music series. Curated by artistic director Joshua Roman, our Town Music season started last month with a stirring cello show.

Upcoming concerts include:

November 25, 2019:
Piano Ki Avaaz, featuring Joshua Roman (cello), David Fung (piano), and Kristin Lee (violin).

January 19, 2020:
Catalyst Quartet, presenting “Hemispheres: South America.”

April 8, 2020:
yMusic, a sextet that reimagines the classical music genre.

May 20, 2020:
Spektral Quartet, that presents a convergence of classical canon and modern composition.

Tickets are $15 per show ($10 for members). Tickets are FREE for anyone 22 and under.

Learn more 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, “One of the most delightful screen romances ever produced will be at the Coliseum Theatre on Friday” and, “Mrs. H.W. Salmon and two little daughters will be traveling to St. Louis for two months.” 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…

“Why do we hesitate to swell our words to meet our needs?” asked a writer for the September 27, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “It is a nonsense question. There is no reason. We are simply lazy – too lazy to make ourselves comfortable. We let our vocabularies be limited, and get along rawly without the refinements of human intercourse, without refinements in our own thoughts; for thoughts are almost as dependent on words as words are on thoughts.” The writer continues in the piece entitled “On Enlarging One’s Vocabulary,” “For example, all exasperations we lump together as ‘aggravating,’ not considering whether they may not rather be displeasing, annoying, offensive, irritating, or even maddening…Like the bad cook, we seize the frying pan whenever we need to fry, broil, roast, or stew, and then wonder why all our dishes taste alike.” The writer has some suggestions. “Enlarge the vocabulary…I know that when we use a word for the first time we are startled, as if a firecracker went off in our neighborhood. We look about hastily to see if anyone has noticed. But finding that no one has, we may be emboldened.”

Many feel emboldened when they head off to college. It’s a new chapter in their lives. Their worlds are expanding. Their vocabulary is enlarging with text books stacked high in their dormitories. But does college still work? Can a college education today provide real opportunity to young Americans seeking to improve their station in life, or is the system designed only to protect the privileged and leave everyone else behind? Paul Tough will explore the landscape of higher education on Town Hall’s stage on October 4.

You can learn more about the event here.

As always, tickets are FREE for anyone 22 and under. Another word for FREE is COMPLIMENTARY.

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 officers of the battleship Idaho were hosts of a dansante and luncheon” and, “Miss Florence Williams attended the ball for the Prince of Wales.” 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 writers of the September 27, 1919 edition of the Town Crier were fond of September. A small story read, “Like wine to those that be of heavy heart are the lovely days of September, cool and bracing in the mornings and evenings, with sunny, hot noons. The second blooming of the roses adds a June touch to the gardens, and with the gorgeous dahlias, brilliant geraniums, softly shaded asters and the crisp sweet peas, the autumn lingers with us in beauty as though it were loath to take its departure.”

Before September departs, friends, add your own touch to Seattle’s gardens. On September 28, at Yesler Terrace Park, join Town Hall and The Black Farmer Collective for a Town Green Day of Service. Starting at 10 am, lend your hands for a morning of urban gardening, helping a local space grow strong and become a thriving community resource.

Wear appropriate clothes. Participants will assist in tasks like weeding, tilling, planting and more. You can learn more about the event here. Let’s keep autumn’s beauty linger a bit longer.

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, “August, with its smoke and haze, its cool mornings, fierce noontides and chill evenings, has been upon us and now in its last days it has flung the unfailing harbinger of autumn in our faces” and, “One of the gayest parties of the season was the dance given by Mr. and Mrs. James Doster Hoge 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…

On page six of the August 30, 1919 edition of the Town Crier, a writer waxes poetic about breakfast. In “Ideal Breakfasts,” they write, “Every man to his taste, of course, and especially in the matter of breakfast, which is a delicate function that should have have its poise disturbed by culinary errors or the gastronomic prejudices of others.” They continue, “A breakfast, above all meals, should be simple, honest, and straightforward. It should be devoid of fantastic decoration.”

The writer goes on for some time about broiled fresh pig’s feet, grilled kidneys, and soft-boiled eggs. They have particular thoughts about how one takes their coffee. “There should be a small pot of it, just enough for two cupfuls. A Hoover portion of sugar is enough, and it always has been enough, in peace times as well as in war. Only a perverted, or a juvenile, taste can stand a dose of syrup first thing in the morning, and one must be a lumberman or a deep-sea sailor to enjoy coffee sweetened with brown sugar or molasses.”

What would the writer of “Ideal Breakfasts” think of writer Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast? Foer will be at Town Hall on September 25 as part of our Homecoming Festival to discuss his new book with Town Hall In the Moment’s Steve Scher. Foer, the award-winning author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, will discuss the ways that humanity has turned our planet into a farm for growing meat. Foer’s assertion is that catastrophic climate change has resulted from this meat production and considers how our descendants will judge our actions at this crucial moment.

This is to say, Foer probably won’t be imbibing in broiled fresh pig’s feet any time soon. I don’t know how alarmed the Town Crier writer would be upon hearing that. Times change.

Get your tickets (ONLY $5) to Jonathan Safran Foer’s event today!

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.

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