Kansas City & Unit 131 Bridge History


    The Legendary Heart of America Bridge Club


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The Saturday Afternoon "Heart of America" duplicate game has disappeared.
Here is a description of its demise by Jean Joseph.


The Heart of America Bridge Club will hold it's final game on March 31,2007,
and an era in Kansas City Bridge will come to an end. Chad Fisher will start a new
Saturday afternoon game on April 7, 2007. The Heart, as those of us who have been
around a long, long time refer to it, is the oldest bridge club in the area, and the only
"not for Profit" club. The heart was founded in the late 1940's. The exact date is unknown,
but according to my authority, a lovely lady named Margaret Bien who started playing at
the Heart in the late 40's, it was started shortly after WWII ended.
The founders were Frank and Thurza Carpenter who held the game at their large
home at 36th and Jefferson. Also instrumental in starting the game was a retired army general
and his wife whose last name was Thrasher. The Heart was a not for profit game and was
established for the sole purpose of promoting duplicate bridge in Kansas City.
The early games were frequented by such bridge legends as Bobby Nail, who moved to
Dallas and became the regular partner of Oswald Jacoby, and David Carter who moved to
St Louis. Of course our own "legends", John Hubbell, his wife Bess,, and his daughter Shirley
Swander, Ayres Bombeck, Bill Crooks, Leonard Marks, Pat Smith, Arthur Kincaid, Dr. Marcel
Mooney, Dr. Magaliff, and Ralph Kaufman played regularly.
The club held two games a week, Tuesday and Friday, and usually had 8 to 10 tables.
The games were directed by Alfred Bloch, the uncle of our current member Leon Bloch, who
still has masterpoint records of points won at the Heart. The results were always published
in the Kansas City Star by reporter, Conwell Carlson, who many of us knew.
The first tournament held in Kansas City was sponsored by the Heart and was held in Budd Park.
Through the years a number of people kept the Heart going. It would be remiss not to
mention Bertha Richter, Kermit Keller, Jim Muir, and our own Beverly Innis. Bev with the help
of Helen Pearl, has done a great job running the Heart for no personal gain. Thank you both for
a job well done. Of the remaining assets of the club, half will be donated to charity and half to
establish a scholarship fund for children and grandchildren of current members of Unit 131.
   By Jean Joseph



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