Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week Book Store Donate Now
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6852 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Cyberpedia Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Foster, Robert J. "Bobby" (1946-1979)

HistoryLink.org Essay 2933 : Printer-Friendly Format

Robert J. "Bobby" Foster (1946-1979) refurbished the Central Tavern in Seattle's Pioneer Square in the early 1970s and organized the area's first Mardi Gras-style "Fat Tuesday" in 1977.

Foster graduated from the University of Washington and worked for Boeing as an engineer. He and coworker Jamie Anderson became intrigued with the idea of refurbishing and operating the derelict "2nd Class" Central Tavern, one of Seattle's oldest businesses. Their decision to quit their day jobs and purchase the Central coincided with the Pioneer Square's designation as a historic district and early efforts to promote its revival. The Central became a popular watering hole for politicians, government workers, and young professionals as Seattle rediscovered its first neighborhood, without alienating the tavern's traditional, often lower-income patrons.

When Push Comes to Shrove

Although mostly Protestant Seattle did not traditionally observe Mardi Gras (literally the "Fat Tuesday" preceding Ash Wednesday and the onset of Lent), Foster conceived of the event as a community celebration to help revive business during the post-holiday slump. He was joined by another tavern owner, Ed Neff, and many friends and volunteers. Thanks to warm weather and public curiosity, the first Fat Tuesday drew record -- and sometimes rowdy -- crowds in February 1977.

On March 2, 1979, Foster died of cancer at the age of 33.

Subsequent Mardi Gras events were marred by confrontations between police and revelers, but the annual festival survived. The Central Tavern also endured as a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike -- and as a monument to Foster's faith in a revived Pioneer Square.

Sources:
Jon Hahn, "Pioneer Square Loses a Friend," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 6, 1979,p. A-3; author's archives.


< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Fairs & Festivals | Biographies |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Bobby Foster (1946-1979)
Courtesy Seattle Post-Intelligencer


First Fat Tuesday poster, 1977
Courtesy Marie McCaffrey


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org