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Grand Rapids in 1856

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Thanksgiving 1910

Thanksgiving 1910

GRHC - November 24th, 2010

Looking back 100 years at the holiday tradition.    



Old newspaper stories about the Thanksgiving holiday seemed to be dedicated to three general topics: the dinner and its cost; Thanksgiving in the olden days; and the city’s charitable institutions.

The cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for four, $2.50 in 1910, may seem unbelievable to us. Considering that a good job for an experienced man paid about $1000 per year, or approximately $2.75 per day, it was not a small sum for a household.

A 1910 article pointed out that one hundred years earlier in 1810 Thanksgiving Day didn’t exist, but if it had, turkey, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie would have been on the table. However, fresh vegetables like green beans or asparagus, or fruits such as strawberries or oranges from the foreign lands of Florida, Texas, and California were just items to dream about.

Many of the same organizations that provided Thanksgiving dinners for those in need in 1910 will be providing them in 2010. The women of the Salvation Army Rescue Home served not only their present residents, but also all former residents. It was noted that the city hospitals, St. Mary’s, Butterworth, and the United Benevolent Association, which would become Blodgett, served the same Thanksgiving dinner to all their patients, rich and poor alike,

The City Rescue Mission, founded by Mel Trotter and later named for him, filled 150 baskets containing a turkey or a chicken, potatoes, cabbage, canned fruit, and other good things. In order to spare a family embarrassment, the baskets were delivered in ordinary delivery wagons without the mission’s name.



Full Details

TitleThanksgiving 1910
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, radio, Thanksgiving, 1910, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringNovember 24th, 2010

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