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 Art Institute wore festive attire on Wednesday, with nearly 3,000 narcissus and daffodil blossoms,” and, “Next Monday, Mrs. J.H. Hill will entertain a number of her friends at bridge at The Camlin.” 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 April 13, 1929 edition of the Town Crier. It’s for the Exeter. The building is “a delightful place to live.” From bachelor rooms to family apartments, they’re “all tastefully furnished.” The Exeter is across the street from Town Hall. More? Our administrative offices are in that selfsame building!

It’s a Seattle historical site, the Exeter. It was one of several high rise apartment buildings constructed on First Hill in the 1920s. It was originally constructed as an apartment hotel, with 139 two- to three-bedroom apartments, so they could be combined into larger units, and 19 large apartments with fireplaces. There was a dining room on the first floor for those who did not want to cook in their apartments. With its Tudor Gothic terracotta ornamentation, it was one of the sterling buildings in the neighborhood. It was designed by B. Dudley Stuart and Arthur Wheatley.

In the 1880s-90s, First Hill, where Town Hall and the Exeter stands, was one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in the city. With stunning views and with its close proximity to downtown, some of Seattle’s finest mansions began appearing. Apartment building living came soon after to the neighborhood.

Interested in living at the Exeter yourself? You can! All the better that your neighbors are your friends, us here at Town Hall.

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 Nellie C. Cornish, who has been spending the week at her farm on Hood’s Canal, is expected home today,” and, “The Seattle Flyer’s Club, a newly formed organization, will be hosting a formal ball on Friday evening.” 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 Hall likes animals. We’ve recently had talks about orca whales, bees, and plenty about birds. We had Richard Prum discuss the mating rituals of birds. We also had a BirdNote Live! Podcast.

In the April 5, 1919 edition of the Town Crier there was a story about the estimated speed of birds. It was entitled, “The Estimated Speed of Birds.” It begins, “There is no doubt that the speed of birds if very deceptive, more especially that of the larger birds, which appear to be moving at a much slower rate than they really are, owing to their size.” Luckily, for Crier readers, there was an Oregonian who liked birds. “The following table of relative speeds has been prepared by a statistics crank in Portland.”

A few of the crank’s findings:

A quail can go 65 to 85 feet per second.
A ruffed grouse can go 60 to 90 feet per second.
A mallard can go 55 to 90 feet per second.
A teal can go 120 to 140 feet per second.
A canvasback can go 130 to 160 feet per second.

If you’re curious, here are the fastest birds in the world. I’m not sure which cranks came up with those numbers.

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 little white house on the corner of 4th Avenue and Pine Street has been transformed from a War Metal Exchange into the Children’s Orthopedic Bureau,” and, “Mrs. Theodore Haller…has been playing a leading role in a movie filmed recently in Los Angeles.” In this new 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 proud visage of Clark Nettleton graced the cover of the March 29, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “Once upon a time our morning daily was the leading newspaper of the State of Washington,” the caption read. “That was in the days when real newspaper men, trained and skilled in the profession and business of journalism, were at the head of it.” The Crier was pleased that Nettleton was to be at the head of it. “Once again the P,-I. is a real newspaper because once again a real newspaper man is in charge of its destinies.”

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ceased print publication in 2009 but continues online. The globe that sits atop the old P-I building is something of an icon. The newspaper has a storied history. The Post-Intelligencer was formed in 1881 through a merger of the Seattle Post and the Weekly Intelligencer. The Weekly Intelligencer was a successor of the Seattle Gazette, the city’s first newspaper, established in 1863. There were many iterations and owners in the early days of Seattle’s burgeoning journalism scene. The Seattle Post was backed by John Leary, a prominent Seattle lawyer, but was deeply in debt. With the Post and Weekly Intelligencer merging, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer came to be. Their first issue was on October 1, 1881.

It went through many iterations and owners through the years, including William Randolph Hearst, and was a rival to the Seattle Times throughout.  In 1983, financially struggling, the P-I entered a joint operating agreement with the Times. The publication continued to falter and ceased publication on March 17, 2009.

As for the man of destiny? Nettleton was the publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer until April 1921. His mansion still stands in Kirkland.

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 fortnight series of supper-dances in the tea room are among the most charming events of the season,” and, “the Women’s University Club will give a birthday party in honor of it’s grand baby Steinway, or Steinway Baby Grand.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

For three days in late March, 1919, the Camp Lewis Players performed at Seattle’s Metropolitan Theater. The entertainment, the March 22, 1919 edition of the Town Crier reported, included “a new line-up consisting of eight in a number of vaudeville acts and a couple of one-act sketches.” The organization was composed entirely of professional talent from Camp Lewis, “and every member of the company has at one time or another delighted the audience from the vaudeville stage.” The members of the troupe brought their own stage, too. The stage was “a great factor for them in supplying amusement to the convalescent soldiers at the Camp.” Under the supervision of a former Orpheum Circuit actor, Lieutenant Robert Armstrong and Everett Hovfe, a well-known vaudeville star from the East, the Camp Lewis Players toured coast-to-coast.

Camp Lewis would later become Fort Lewis that would later become Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County. Camp Lewis began in 1917 when the citizens of Pierce County voted  to buy acres of land and then donate the land to the federal government for military use. The first recruits moved into the barracks on September 5, 1917. By the time WWI came about, some 60,000 men were stationed there. In 1938 McChord Air Force Base came in. They merged in 2010 into a Joint Base.

You can learn more about the early days of Camp Lewis, here. Or, better yet, visit the Lewis Army Museum.

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. George Noble Skinner has been confined to her room at the Terry Hotel with a severe case of neuritis,” and, “Mrs. Prescott Oakes has returned from Santa Barbara, where she spent a few weeks.” In this new 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 March 15, 1919 edition of the Town Crier was one of the most famous musicians alive at that time, cellist Pablo Casals. He played at the Masonic Temple, at Harvard and Pine, on March 19. Prices ran from 83 cents to $2.20 (including war tax). The Crier waxed poetic about Casal’s coming concert inside the publication. “When master musicians like Fritz Kreisler says that Casals is the greatest musician that has ever drawn a bow and Eugene Ysaye adds that he is the greatest interpretive artist he has ever heard, than we know that we are not listening to any ‘fairy stories’ that may or may not come true.” The praise kept on coming. “He plays so tenderly he melts the heart of you; plays like an angel, either damned or celestial. There is something diabolic in his energy of attack, an attack like the slash of a sabre. What temperament! What surety! What purity of intonation!”

Pablo Casals (1876-1973) was a cellist, composer, and conductor from Catalonia, Spain. Regarded as one of the greatest cellists who ever lived, he is perhaps best known for his recordings of Bach’s Cello Suites. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.

Town Hall’s got a cellist with temperament, surety, and purity, as well. Joshua Roman has been Town Hall’s Town Music Artistic Director for over a decade. (Have you bought your Town Music subscription yet? Do so!) Last season, Roman joined forces with other prominent cellists for a Town Hall event, A Cello Conspiracy. And, if you’re still keen for local cello music, did you know there’s a local nonprofit that provides cellos to recipients actively studying and performing? It’s the Carlsen Cello Foundation—an organization that helped give a young Joshua Roman one of his first great cellos.

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, “A piano has been installed in the lunch room of the White Elephant Shop,” and, “Mr. Paul Mandell Henry is at present in Montreal where the mercury has gone into winter quarters.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

 

 

You Auto Go to the Auto Show” heralded the Town Crier in the March 8, 1919 edition. The particular issue was filthy with advertisements for cars, including ads for Oldsmobile, Pierce-Arrow, and Paige, “the most beautiful car in America.”

The 1919 auto show took place at the Armory, Western Avenue and Virginia Street. There was concert orchestra music throughout the festivities, conducted by Mr. Guterson, conductor of “the famous Russian orchestra.” There were also plenty of decorations that festooned the great hall. “It is sufficient to say,” the Crier wrote, “that the entire interior of the Armory has been transformed – concealed, if you please – behind scenes from out-of-doors, lattice work, trellises and other features, all illuminated as bright as day on big chandeliers and special lamps of unique design.”

Music, trellises, and, of course, cars! “Arrayed in ordered ranks, yet blending harmoniously with a wonderfully effective decorative scheme, will be three-score picked cars presented by members of the Seattle Motor Car Dealers’ Association.” The cars ranged in price from $950 to $9,000. There were luxuriously finished models, dressed in blue and gold and matter-of-fact passenger touring cars, “boasting more miles per gallon than the average man can conceive.”

United Motors and Hainsworth Motor Company had booths. So did Parker Motor Company and Franklin-Wicks. Great Western Motors had a booth, too, as did Shields Livengood Motor Company.

All in all, it was quite a to-do (Thursday night’s festivities were devoted to the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine!).

The Seattle International Auto Show took place this past November. However, if you want to see really cool cars, including models of cars that were showcased one hundred years ago, head to Tacoma. LeMay – America’s Car Museum, a member of America’s Automotive Trust, is an international destination for auto enthusiasts. The 165,000 square foot facility has 250 automobiles spanning over 100 years of automotive history, plus approximately another 100 vehicles on exhibit loan from private collections.

It boasts more than you can conceive.

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, “Mr. Shephard French, who saw active service on a submarine chaser during the war, left Seattle for San Francisco,” and, “There will be a dansant in the tea room this afternoon.” In this new 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 most delightful social events of the week,” the Town Crier enthused in their March 1, 1919 issue, “were the afternoon parties given Monday and Tuesday by Mrs. Albert Charles Phillips at her home on Queen Anne Hill. It was like a breath of the days before the wary for the member of society to meet and have a joyful time together without any anxiety.” They mentioned short musical programs during the festivities. Also – “Bridge was played both afternoons, followed by tea.”

The game of bridge has been played since the 19th century, evolving as it has to the present game. Why is is called bridge? There are a couple of theories. 1) It’s Russian in origin, spun off of a game called Biritch (or Russian Whist). 2) It’s a game invented by the British who were serving in the Crimean War. The game got its name from the Galata Bridge, a span that connected Istanbul, that they crossed to go to coffee houses to play cards.

The game of bridge is still being played today. In fact, Seattle is quite active in contact bridge. ACBL Unit 446 is a non-profit organization run by a board of 12 directors. Serving the greater Seattle area, they are a part of the American Contact Bridge League (ACBL). The board manages over a dozen events and six sectionals annually. There are several clubs within Unit 446 including ones in Alki, UW, Des Moines, downtown, Mercer Island, and more.

The ACBL is the governing body for contact bridge in the US, Mexico, Bermuda, and Canada and is a member of the World Bridge Federation, the international bridge governing body. Their stated mission is “to promote, grow and sustain the game of bridge and serve the bridge-related interests of our members.” It has more than 165,000 members. Seattle’s hosted their North American Bridge Championships from time to time (the last time in 2011).

Interested in playing? 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, “Lady Gregory’s play, ‘Spreading the News,’ was given an enthusiastic audience,” and, “the Broadway Guild gave a large card party at the Army and Navy Club.” In this new 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 February 22, 1919 edition of the Town Crier had this bold prediction for 1919, “Doughnuts will be cut very large around the interior and will be loose-fitting and very plain, being entirely without trimming.”

We, at Town Hall, like treats. We had a “Pie and Whiskey” event awhile back. We had cookbook author Gabrielle Langholtz, too. We had discussions of modernist bread and heritage rice, as well. Also? Beer.

We, at Town Hall, like doughnuts (or is it donut?). That said, here is a (not comprehensive) list of some fine doughnut shops in our fair city.

Daily Dozen Doughnut Company. One of the more important reasons to go to Pike Place Market.

General Porpoise. Sure, they’ve got the standard doughnut flavors. But also? Date shake. Rose cream. Peanut butter and jelly.

Good Day Donuts. White Center’s got a hidden gem.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. The one in SODO is an institution now.

Mighty-O Donuts. Their treats are made of GMO-free, zero trans fat, vegan, organic ingredients.

Rodeo Donut. Hazelnut toffee crunch? Wild huckleberry? Apple bourbon bacon? All of the above, please.

Top Pot Doughnuts. Barack Obama ate at Top Pot once. So, there’s that.

Whether the doughnuts of 2019 are loose fitting and very plain, or frosted to the hilt, it makes no difference to us. We just want them in our tummies.

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, “Mr. Guy Manners, writer, soldier, and poet will speak before the Fine Arts Society, and, “Sverre Mack is leaving Seattle shortly for Norway where he will make his home. In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

“Dancing feet need expert care,” noted a Frederick & Nelson ad in the February 15, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “Dancing feet need expert care to keep them always well-groomed and graceful, whether one dances barefoot or in slider silver slippers.” The ad continues, “The foot that is properly cared for knows no discomfort; it is conscious only of its daintiness and good grooming.”

There are plenty of feet dancing in Seattle. Here’s a (by no means comprehensive) list!

ARC Dance Company. Operating a 9,000 square foot dance facility in North Seattle, ARC supports community dance education programs and performances through ARC Dance Company and ARC School of Ballet.

Khambatta Dance Company. Since arriving in Seattle from New York in 2001, KDC’s programming has been seen throughout the west coast and abroad by over 40,000 people with works ranging from site-specific pieces to staged, full-length interdisciplinary productions.

Pacific Northwest Ballet. One of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States, PNB was founded in 1972. The Company of nearly 50 dancers presents more than 100 performances each year of full-length and mixed repertory ballets.

Spectrum Dance Theater. Founded in 1982, Spectrum was founded to bring dance of the highest merit to a diverse audience composed of people from different social, cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. They’re under the artistic leadership of Donald Byrd.

Velocity Dance Center. Velocity is Seattle’s award-winning art center dedicated to contemporary dance, fulfilling an un-duplicated role as an incubator and forward-thinking laboratory for new dance in the Pacific Northwest.

Whim W’Him. Whim W’Him is an award-winning contemporary dance company founded in 2009 by Olivier Wevers, former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer and choreographer, that showcases innovative dance in collaboration with global artists.

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, “If conditions are favorable the Renton Hill Guild of the Orthopedics Association will give a card party next Tuesday , and, “the Monday Practice Club met Monday afternoon. In this new 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 February 8, 1919 editors of the Town Crier sang the praises of Seattle’s libraries in an article entitled “The Use of Books.” It reads, in part, “To thousands the Library is simply a place where one volume of fiction may be replaced by another. They have not yet learned how to use this great public utility. To other thousands it is a mine of knowledge from which they may draw that which they need at pleasure.” Other than the police station, the library is “the only public institution that is open to all in the evening: the only place where men, women and children alike are always welcome without money and without price.” The Crier took note that libraries were becoming community and neighborhood centers. “They are fulfilling their highest mission – public service.

Seattle’s first public library opened in April 1869. Sarah Yesler (1822-1887) was its first librarian. Yesler was a reader, an advocate of women’s suffrage, and a very active community-member. With $60 in funds, books were purchased. Some of them included Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays and Percy Shelley’s Collected Poems.

By 1890, the Seattle Public Library had been adopted as a branch of Seattle city government. During the early decades, it operated in various places downtown, always needing more space. With some Andrew Carnegie funding, a new home for the library opened in 1906. Designed by architect P.J. Weber of Chicago, it was bounded by Fourth and Fifth avenues and Madison and Spring streets. When it opened it contained 81,035 books, had 22,444 borrowers, and 47 employees.

But by the 1930s, it too needed more space. It took some time to build a new structure. Dedicated on March 26, 1960, the new 206,000-square-foot Central Library took 21 months to build at a cost of $4.5 million. The five-story library featured escalators, air conditioning and a film department with 1,000 16-millimeter films. The new facility had 1 million books and 260,425 borrowers.

The 1990s brought about another round of library improvements. It included demolishing the existing Central Library and building a new one on-site. The new Central Library opened May 23, 2004. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, it is now prolifically sited as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

Town Crier’s writers would be pleased at how far the library has come in fulfilling its highest mission.

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