RIGHT — Some of the bountiful foods served at an 1870s Thanksgiving are shown in the Davis Mansion kitchen.
BLOOMINGTON – “The Blessings of the Table: Thanksgiving at Clover Lawn,” a recreation of the festive Thanksgiving celebrations of the 1870s, will be featured through November 17 at the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site.
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.
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.
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 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 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 Davis Mansion and other Illinois historic sites open to the public.