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?”
“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.