“Blessings of the Table” Victorian
Thanksgiving Nov. 1-16 at David Davis Mansion
Living history program on November 2 will
offer a servants’ view of an 1870s Thanksgiving
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[October 28, 2019]
“The Blessings of the Table: Thanksgiving at Clover Lawn,” a
recreation of the festive Thanksgiving celebrations of the 1870s,
will be featured November 1 – November 16 at the David Davis Mansion
State Historic Site in Bloomington.
The Mansion will be decorated for Thanksgiving, 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
This year’s Thanksgiving celebration at the Davis Mansion will also
showcase a living history program “A Bountiful Feast” on Saturday,
November 2 which will offer the servant’s perspective on this lavish
Victorian holiday observance. This special live theatrical event
will be offered from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on November 2.
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The Davis 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 performers portraying 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.
“The Blessings of the Table” and “A Bountiful Feast” are co-sponsored by the
David Davis Mansion Foundation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,
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 Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The site will be
closed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
The 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 Monroe Drive
[Illinois Department of Natural