Way We Were: Thanksgiving in the Park | ParkRecord.com

Way We Were: Thanksgiving in the Park

Thanksgiving in the Park

Mahala Ruddell
Park City Museum Research Coordinator

Thanksgiving Day of November 1903 dawned unseasonably warm, "the most spring like…that Park City has ever had," according to the Park Record. "Everything passed off very pleasantly though quietly."

Common traditions throughout town included football and baseball games, an evening dance and turkey dinners for miners in the boarding houses. That year, the Park City Hotel also hosted a dinner.

The Hotel stood regally on the 500-block of Main Street. It was one of the first establishments rebuilt after having burned in the Great Fire of 1898. Over the years it served a variety of clientele from tourists to miners, including, in 1902, Salt Lake City doctors who served Park City patients. Doctor Shore and others arranged to make monthly visits to Park City to see their patients and were housed at the Hotel.

In November 1903, the Hotel served up an elaborate spread to guests and locals. On the menu was, among other things, salmon, shrimp salad, four different varieties of soup, leg of mutton, fillet of beef, prime rib, stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, green peas and corn, cranberry sauce, English plum pudding, mince pie, pumpkin pie, fruit cake, cream cake, and an assortment of cookies, cheeses, nuts and fruit.

Dinner was served from 5:30 to 7:30 that evening. The Park City Hotel oftentimes hosted bands and orchestras, both local and not; perhaps they had music to add to the ambience that night as well.

The society page in the local newspaper was full of notes of visitors to and from Park City who traveled for the holiday. Local doctor Donoher and his wife hosted no less than eight at their home; smaller gatherings occurred as well, as grown children returned to their parents' houses or friends who had moved away from town stopped in for short visits.

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For the less fortunate in town, Henry Spriggs, local saloon owner, was on hand. "With his usual thoughtfulness" and "noble generosity," the paper reported, Spriggs arranged for the purchase of turkeys for those who could not afford to buy their own. Many were able to "sit down to a hearty meal and offer thanks" because of his act of kindness.

"Generally speaking," said the Park Record, "the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all and all felt better for having rested and feasted."

On behalf of the Park City Museum, I'd like to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. We hope you thoroughly enjoy your day as well. Cheers to full bellies and warm hearts!

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