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Scrabble: A Hudson Valley Classic

Alfred Mosher Butts. That might not be a familiar name to you, however you probably have played his game before.

If you didn’t know tomorrow April 13 is National Scrabble Day. Yes, Scrabble as in the best word game ever invented. You can thank Hudson Valley native Alfred Mosher Butts for the creative genius behind the classic word game. Alfred was born on April 13th 1899 in Poughkeepsie and graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1917. Around 1931, during the Great Depression, Mr. Butts lost his job as a draftsmen and held small jobs here and there until 1934.

Butts was a chess player growing up and even played for the chess team at PHS. His love of the game and crossword puzzles ignited his creativity and Lexiko was born. Alfred had a tough time selling the game and it was put on the back burner after he had found full time employment. Around 1947 James Brunot, who at the time was the director of the President’s War Relief Control Board,  purchased the rights from Butts for Lexiko and made a few changes. The big one…naming it Scrabble.

Believe it or not Scrabble wasn’t a popular game until 1952 when the owner of Macy’s at the time,Jack Straus, played the game on family vacation and was surprised when he returned home and the game wasn’t being sold in his store. Straus stocked the shelves immediately and the rest is history.

I’ve been playing Scrabble every summer with my family since I can remember. Are you a Scrabble fan? Will you be celebrating like I will this weekend?

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