November 23, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Today’s story comes from an article published in the “Junction City Daily Union” newspaper written by Gaylynn Childs, our retired Executive Director at the Society. She wrote that “Ever since the first Plymouth colony gathering in 1621, Americans have associated Thanksgiving with feasting. Even before President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863, it had been the custom in most regions of the country to gather around boards laden with the bounties of the earth and the fruits of the farmer’s toil to give thanks.
In 1883 there was excitement about a newly completed Opera House in the community, where citizens could gather to celebrate. The holiday news that year was that the grand Thanksgiving Night Ball would be held in the Opera House. A local dance master by the name of Tappan had been preparing the citizenry in a number of nearby communities as well as our own, to dance off the effects of the Thanksgiving feast.
However, the Ball was upstaged by a Thanksgiving Day fire, which got out of control in the Highland Cemetery. It scourged the entire burying ground, ruining the trees and evergreens.”
We hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving Day feast of amazing food, conversation, football games or whatever you chose to do on this special day. Please remember to pause at some point to remember those who are less fortunate than so many of us and if you can support the Food Pantry, “Wheels of Hope” and other organizations that do so much to provide food to the needy.
And… Happy Thanksgiving from the Geary County Historical Society.