Cameron House, La Crosse, Wisconsin, Thanksgiving Dinner 1881
The front cover of this Thanksgiving menu is intriguing. Artistic tastes were vastly different 131 years ago. In black and white and framed by a grapevine, there are birds in flight, some attractive urns or large vases and two landscapes. We're not sure what it's all meant to represent, but that just makes it all the more arresting. This menu cover was created in 1880 by a well known Boston company, Robinson Engraving, that supplied many hotels and dining establishments across the
There were 69 hotels in La Crosse, Wisconsin, that offered lodging in the boom years of the 1870s and 80s and the finest, without doubt, was Cameron House. The building cost $69,000 to construct and was completed in 1879. The grand 24 roomed hotel played host to banquets for William "Buffalo Bill" Cody as well as President Grover Cleveland in 1888. A fire destroyed the hotel and adjoining railway depot in 1916.
The 13 course Thanksgiving dinner was probably presented as part of a package to hotel guests since there is no sign of a price on the menu.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.
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