'Blessings of the Table' Victorian Thanksgiving at David Davis
history program Saturday with servants' view of an 1870s
Send a link to a friend
[October 31, 2012]
BLOOMINGTON -- "The Blessings of
the Table: Thanksgiving at Clover Lawn," a re-creation of the
festive Thanksgiving celebrations of the 1870s, will be featured
Nov. 1-18 at the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site in
The mansion will be decorated for Thanksgiving from Nov. 1-18, and
each day the bountiful foods, family celebrations and charitable
customs of the period will be featured. In addition to the mansion's
collection of antique china and rare silver, visitors will see the
large variety of delicious foods that were typical of a Thanksgiving
celebration in the Victorian age -- a traditional feast of turkey,
pumpkin pie and "all the trimmings." Thanksgiving was the time of
year when the dining room was as magnificently decorated for the
holidays as the parlor, and visitors will feel as if they are
immersed in a 19th-century feast for all the senses.
This year's Thanksgiving at the Davis Mansion will also showcase
a living history program on Saturday, "A Bountiful Feast," which
will offer the servants' perspective on this lavish Victorian
holiday observance. Areas not usually open to the public may be
visited. This special live theatrical event will be presented
Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mrs. Davis' Irish servants were a major reason why Thanksgiving
at the Davis Mansion was a treat for all the senses. "A Bountiful
Feast" will give visitors a rare opportunity to experience
Thanksgiving at the mansion almost completely from the servants'
point of view. It's also a chance for visitors to relive a time when
people produced and ate fresh, locally grown foods. While watching
the Davis family enjoying a traditional New England Thanksgiving
feast, visitors will come across the household servants who are
busily preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the family and gossiping
about personal events in their own lives.
[to top of second column]
As visitors tour the house, they will be able to watch the Davis
family's dinner guests seated at the formal dining table, enjoying a
variety of foods prepared locally by the area's finest chefs. Mrs.
Davis' guests will also be dining upon a selection of traditional
Thanksgiving desserts prepared from fresh ingredients by Red Oak
Comfort Food and Pie Co.
"The Blessings of the Table" and "A Bountiful Feast" are
co-sponsored by the David Davis Mansion Foundation and the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency, which administers the David Davis
Mansion. Donations are always encouraged.
Regular tours of the Davis Mansion are free and open to the
public, and are offered Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. The site will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, including
Election Day, and on Nov. 9 for Veterans Day.
David Davis Mansion
State Historic Site, built in the 1870s for U.S. Supreme Court
Justice David Davis and his wife, Sarah, is located at 1000 E.
Monroe in Bloomington. A donation of $2 for adults and $1 for
children is suggested to keep the Davis Mansion and other Illinois
historic sites open to the public.
[Text from file received from
the Illinois Historic