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 Brenda Francklyn will speak at the Sunset Club on the ‘Fatherless Children of France’” and “a ‘Salmagundi’ party was given last evening.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”
There was quite a program that took place on February 1, 1919 at the Women’s University Club. This, according to the February 1, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. Dr. Alexander Konanowksi was speaking. With a Russian menu served, Konanowksi told of “the prevailing conditions in Russia today.” Secretary of the Russian consulate in Seattle, the doctor asked for “promptness of members and guests as a courtesy.”
Russians began arriving in earnest in Seattle following World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. By 1925 there were approximately 5,000 Russians living in Seattle. Refugees, and most well-educated professionals, they formed a tight-knit community around the Greek-Russian Orthodox Church on Lakeview Boulevard.
Today, many of Seattle’s Russians are involved with the Russian Community Center on Capitol Hill. With a second influx of Russians immigrating to Seattle after World War II, the Russian Community Center was founded in 1952 and it has served the Russian community ever since. Balalaika orchestras, theatrical groups, chess clubs, art galleries, puppet theaters, craft bazaars, talent shows, and more have been showcased there.
You can learn more about the center and coming events here.