Thanksgiving Day in Rockford

Some of the earliest accounts of Thanksgiving Day in Rockford begin in 1855. It was suggested that the day be spent in religious observances. In 1862, not only were there several churches with services, but the river was frozen over. The Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette reported that young people (of both sexes) and older people as well were out early in the morning, skating on the Rock River!

Continuing into the 1870s, religious observances are the main event of the day, but 1874, there is mention of the turkey as important to the meal. But the comment is casual, so that it is an excepted part of the menu. In 1875, the fraternal order of the Grand Knights of Pythias were planning a parade during the day, and a ball during the evening. In 1879, the ladies of Centennial Church on S. 2nd Street, were offering a Thanksgiving Day dinner at the church. The cost was 35 cents for adults, 25 cents for children.  To compare that with 2015 monetary values, 35 cents in 1879 would have the purchasing power this year of $8.57, and 25 cents would purchase $6.12. Still good value for the money! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!