Web site: http://www.puddletownsquares.org/
Admission to IAGSDC: 1984
History: Puddletown started in 1982 by Art Smith. Until 2010, was part of an umbrella organization, Puddletown Dancers. The member clubs were by level: Puddletown Squares - Mainstream. Emerald City Squares - Plus, Doppler Dancers - Advanced, BOQ - Challenge. Emerald City Squares rolled back into Puddletown Squares in 1987, Doppler Dancers rolled back in 1990, BOQ rolled back in 2011.
- From the Program Book for the 1st IAGSDC Convention, held in Seattle in 1984:
- The dream of a square dance group in Seattle came from the excitement and comaraderie of the 1982 National Gay rodeo. Harvey Muggy had agreed to let us use the Eastlake East Tavern dance floor, and on October 13, 1982, Gay Square Dancing came to Seattle.
- As the clock ticked away and the time got closer to the starting hour, the excitement grew. (That first evening) The organizing committee of five were setting up and helping the traditional caller, Sheri Nevins and her three piece band set up. People began arriving, and by 7:15PM about 12 people had arrived. We were all a little nervous, not knowing what to expect. At 7:30PM the fiddles started playing and Sheri started her introductions to 57 people. By the end of the evening the excitement was at fever pitch...we had done it, we all had done itl Even though we had no name at that time, Puddletown Squares was born.
- We stayed at the Eastlake East for three weeks, with a different caller each night. With 118 people coming that third night we were busting at the seams. We realized that all the other gay clubs around the country were dancing Modern Western Square Dancing and to be compatible, we had to move away from our traditional start. We can never thank Sheri Nevins and her band enough for the love and support that they all gave to us. During the last night there, a local caller named Walt Cavanaugh was invited and sat on the side lines and watched what we were doing. Walt had answered an ad placed in the Seattle Times. It took a lot of the right stuff for a straight man to agree to embark on the task of teaching and calling to a gay square dance group.
- The next week we moved to the Odd Fellows hall and had an attendance of 138 people. That week we also had the pleasure of having Walt call for us the first time. One week did it at the Odd Fellows and we had outgrown it. The next week we moved again, this time to our permanent new home, Pilgrim Congregational Church. The church had agreed to rent us the hall with a 11-1 board vote. That first evening at the church, we were greeted and welcomed by the church minister. Our Modern Western Square Dance classes had started.
- On January 22, 1983, a group of about 40 of us went down to Portland to help kickoff their new square dance group. Gay square dancing in the Northwest was here to stay.
- By Rodeo time 1983, Puddletown Squares had: graduated two classes with the combined total of 157 people into Mainstream Square Dancing; became a non-profit corporation, and through elections chosen a nine person board; drawn up and approved club bylaws; purchased and paid for a sound system and square dance records; was on sound financial footing, and had created a lot of fun, entertainment and fellowship.
- From Bob Moritz in The Ripple (2018):
- The October 13th dance is the 36th Anniversary of the founding of Puddletown Squares.
- Our first class started Oct 13, 1982 at Eastlake East Tavern. There were 50-60 students at $2. per class with live band and caller Walt Cavanaugh. On Nov 10, 1982 the class moved to Odd Fellows Hall,
- The second class began March 2, 1983 and graduated on July 16th. Yes, the early response was so great, that they split and started a second class to prevent the first from becoming too large.
- Our first graduation in Seattle was May 1, 1983, and it was held aboard a very large ferry boat on Puget Sound. There were also dancers present from Portland. It was an extremely prideful moment for all us. Our own Lyle Boss was a graduate of this first class.
- At the Reno 1982 rodeo, the decision was made to have a first general meeting next year, which was the beginning of the convention pattern, and apparently because so many things had been happening out of Seattle, they decided to hold it in Seattle.
- I’m under the impression that we were the first club to have a paid professional caller, the first club to have bought our own sound system, and the first club to have four or five members go to caller’s school. Also, everyone was amazed at the numbers we were able to attract.
- Harlan Kerr was made president, and Doug McPherson and Agnes Smith were made co-chairs of what would become the convention (‘All Join Hands’ in 1984). We had no idea what a “convention” meant, and when the event actually started, everyone was just stunned with delight. Doug and Agnes knew what they were doing, and knew what the dynamics would be, so it turned out to be very wise when they decided that rather than have people housed by local club members, we should have it at a hotel with everyone staying there. That way the energy was concentrated in one place, and it was nothing short of phenomenal. The official attendance for this bold experiment was 132 dancers from the various clubs. The second in Denver was 284 dancers and the third in San Francisco was 654 dancers. The rest is history.
- We would go on to host the 10th convention (‘Remake the Circle’) in 1993. The largest attendance of any convention to date – over 1200 dancers. We used the HUB ballrooms and stayed in the dorms at UW.
- We lost the bid in 2008 to Cleveland for the 25th Convention. But were successful with or bid to host the 35th Convention (‘Circle Back to Seattle’) earlier this year for 907 dancers.
- Addendum 13 October 2021: We gathered again in 2018 for the 35th Convention in the heart of Seattle. (Circle Back to Seattle)
Levels: Basic thru C-2
Dance Location[s]: Pilgrim Church (formerly) on Capitol Hill, The Timberline (now gone), St. Andrews, Mount Baker Park Presbyterian, Tibbets, The Garden House (now gone)
West Coast Advanced & Challenge Weekend Hosted
- 1983 | All Join Hands (the first convention),
- 1993 | Remake The Circle (10 years)
- 2018 | Circle Back to Seattle (35 years)
In Memoriam: (Last updated 2/22/2020 by Keith Gehrig)
No badges added at the Philadelphia convention in 2019.
- We added 5 badges in Seattle (2018)
Jonica Keel, Leo Hagen, Margaret R. Cotter, Charles "Chuck" Krysieniel, Ken Fowler
- We added 6 badges in Palm Springs (2017)
FloRohe, Doug Titus, Bruce Turnbull, Brian Nims, Adam Sacchetti, William "Bet" Abbott
No badges added at the San Francisco convention in 2013. No badges added at the Vancouver convention in 2012. No badges were added at the Atlanta convention in 2011. (this is a first since we started Placing badges in 1984),
We do this almost immediately after our club photo is taken. Please join us if you wish.
- Adam Sacchetti - . - Badge placed 2017
- Ailsa Sandford - not available - Badge placed 2010
- Art Fairhall - Sept. 1988
- Ben Burnett - 06/15/1985
- Bill Depew - 11/17/1985
- Bill Liddicoat - 12/21/1996
- Bill VanBrunt - not available
- Bob Farrell - not available
- "Bump" Prentice Hagen - 02/05/1993
- Brian Nims - 5/28/2002 - Badge placed 2017
- Bruce Turnbull - 8/28/2016 - Badge placed 2017
- Charles "Chuck" Krysieniel - 12/09/1959-08/22/2017 - Badge placed 2018
- Chris Vance - 07/01/2006
- Darren B Gere - Feb. 1993
- David Howell - .
- David Miller - 12/11/1994
- Dawayne Goodburn - 08/17/1991
- Dennis Byers - not available
- Dennis Scott - 09/26/1995
- Don Hutt - July. 1995
- Don Lee - 02/16/1997
- Doug Lewis - 1993?
- Doug McPherson - 07/01/1991
- Doug Titus - 7/02/2016 - Badge placed 2017
- FloRohe - 6/11/2013 - Badge placed 2017
- Frank Jones - 05/12/1991
- Gary A Berdeen - 04/13/2006
- Gary Way - 09/01/1987
- Jeffrey Hyres - 07/23/2000
- Jeffrey Southwick - not available
- Jim Bailey - 06/14/1992
- Jim Goeres - 11/05/1988
- Joanne Wieand - 2016 - Badge placed 2016
- John Glasscock - 02/03/1988
- Jonica Keel - 10/27/2016 - Badge placed 2018
- Bob Maag - . - Badge placed 2018
- Kathy Mershimer - 10/17/1999
- Ken Fowler - 1/23/2018 - Badge placed 2018
- Kevin Petrow ("Thumper") - 03/30/1989
- Kip Newquist - not available
- Leo Hagen - . - Badge placed 2018
- Margaret R Cotter - 9/20/1923-07/30/2007 - Badge placed 2018
- Margaret Hulsey - 10/31/2001
- Mary Sacchetti - not available
- Maxcy Moon - 12/30/2005
- Michael Dundon - 11/05/1992
- Michael Graham - 05/13/1992
- Michael Lamb - 06/10/19
- Paul Slane - 08/17/2006
- PJ Devino - 06/10/19
- Richard Stiles - 02/29/2008 - badge placed 2010
- Ronn Talbot Pelley - 08/25/1996
- Rudy Gomez - 09/04/1993
- Steve Hitchcock - 04/04/1990
- Steve Singsaas - not available
- Steven Parry - 01/01/2009
- Doris Smith - not available
- Todd Zwahl - 10/11/2001
- Tom Long - 04/27/2003
- Tracy Brown - not available
- Gus Gustafson ("William") - 07/26/2002
- William "Bet" Abbott - . - Badge placed 2017
Puddletown Dancers badge. Later folded into Puddletown Squares
Early Puddletown Squares badge
Another early Puddletown Squares badge
Puddletown Squares and Fistful of Crinolines at the 1st annual IAGSDC Convention
Identification of people in the Puddletown Squares/Fistful of Crinolines photo from the 1st annual IAGSDC Convention