Thanksgiving at David Davis
Historic site presents festive
Thanksgivings of the 1870s, along with a look at servants’ point of
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[November 03, 2016]
– The festive Thanksgivings of the 1870s will be recreated in
November at the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site. A special
dramatic presentation Nov. 5 will give the servants’ perspective on
“The Blessings of the Table: Thanksgiving at Clover Lawn,” runs
Nov. 2-19. The mansion will demonstrate 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.
And on Nov. 5, 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 see what Thanksgiving meant for the hard-working
servants who prepared and served the holiday meal.
The David Davis Mansion 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
turkey, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings.
Thanksgiving was the time of year when the dining room was as
magnificently decorated 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
Regular tours of the Davis Mansion are free and open to the public,
and are offered Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The
site is closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as November 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
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The historic site is located at 1000 Monroe Drive in Bloomington. The events at
the mansion are free of charge with a suggested donation of $4 for adults and $2
for children to keep the Davis Mansion and other Illinois historic sites open to
After Thanksgiving, the Christmas season will be in full swing at the Mansion,
with 14 Christmas trees on display around the mansion Nov. 25 - Dec. 31.
Visitors will be able to experience holiday traditions popular during that
The David Davis Mansion will also take part in a holiday tour that includes the
Ewing Manor and a private mystery mansion. On Dec. 10 visitors may tour all
three mansions and experience a vintage Christmas celebration. For details visit
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]