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Feast your eyes on Victorian Thanksgiving at David Davis Mansion

Historic site presents festive Thanksgivings of the 1870s, along with special look at the holiday from servants' point of view

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[October 29, 2013]  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. 1-17 at the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, with a special dramatic presentation on Saturday, Nov. 2.

The mansion will be decorated for Thanksgiving during the first half of the month, displaying the bountiful foods, family celebrations and charitable customs of the period. In addition to antique china and rare silver, visitors will see the large variety of delicious foods that were typical of a Victorian Thanksgiving celebration.

And on the first Saturday in November, the Davis Mansion will present "A Bountiful Feast" from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This special event gives visitors a unique opportunity to experience the servants' perspective and visit nonpublic areas of the mansion.

The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site was built in the 1870s for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Davis and his wife, Sarah


Sarah Davis was born in Massachusetts and brought to Illinois a New England fondness for celebrating Thanksgiving. She invited friends and family to her elegant home in Bloomington, where she served 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. Visitors will feel as if they are immersed in a 19th-century feast for the senses as the tour guide describes the tastes and aromas of Sarah's favorite Thanksgiving foods.

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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, as well as Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

"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.

The historic site is located at 1000 Monroe Drive in Bloomington.

A donation of $4 for adults and $2 for children is suggested to keep the David Davis Mansion and other Illinois historic sites open to the public.

[Text from file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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