All in all, the residents of Columbus enjoyed a very nice Thanksgiving Day in 1910.

All in all, the residents of Columbus enjoyed a very nice Thanksgiving Day in 1910.

Most of the day was cool, crisp and pleasant when people were out and about, and a cold steady rain did not begin until many people returned home for the evening.

1910 had been a tumultuous year in the history of the city. A bitter streetcar strike had dragged on for many months and a particularly spirited fall political campaign had also been somewhat divisive. But in spite of these events, a local newspaper noted that Columbus had a great deal to be thankful for:

"Thanksgiving will have a real significance in Columbus this year. It will be celebrated to give thanks for a year filled with achievement, success and progress. In spite of the croakers, the cynics and the pessimists, Columbus has been reaching out and growing. Leaving politics and social conditions out of the question, and considering only the individuals, families and the community, the United States is a better place to live now than ever and 183,000 people think Columbus is the best place in the United States."

Most people living in Columbus had a day off for the holiday. Schools and colleges were closed, as well as local, state and federal offices. Many local factories and commercial enterprises were, too.

But downtown Columbus was by no means deserted. Elaborate holiday meals were on the menu at most of the major hotels and restaurants, and every church in town offered some form of special service for the holiday.

Most theatres in the city were open. While the Nickelodeons and other purveyors of silent cinema did a good business, the largest audiences were drawn to live performances at special holiday matinees. The major offerings included "The Girl of My Dreams" at the Southern Theatre, "The Fourth Estate" at the Colonial, "Polly of the Circus" at the High Street, and assorted vaudeville acts at the Keith and Grand Theatres.

For people looking for something a little more athletic, there was always the annual Ohio State University Thanksgiving Day football game at Ohio Field. The game was noisier than usual since the stadium near High Street had been substantially increased in size. It was also probably noisier since some people saw this game as redemption for a 0-0 tie with Oberlin on the previous Saturday. Now, only five days later, OSU defeated Kenyon College 53-0.

Still other events were taking place in Columbus on Thanksgiving Day. A major art exhibition had been prepared under the auspices of the Columbus Public Schools and was open as the Columbus Public Library. At North High School, pupils and alumni held an annual carnival to raise money for a new athletic field.

Many local organizations also held special events on the holiday. A local newspaper summarized a few of them. "The Four Hundred Club of the Knights of Columbus will give a dance at the United Commercial Travelers Hall, 638 North Park Street, on Thanksgiving evening. Every available dance hall in the city was engaged long ago for Thanksgiving Day dances, and many of the clubs and lodges will have festivities."

People who were less fortunate than their neighbors also had a special Thanksgiving Day at the state and local institutions in the city. A few examples were mentioned in the local newspapers.

"'Old Colonial Days,' a piece outlined and cast by the pupils at the State Institution for Deaf and Dumb will be presented for the amusement of the pupils Thursday evening by way of celebrating Thanksgiving Day."

"The committee in charge of the entertainment at the State School for the Blind will furnish a number of surprises for the pupils. A special program prepared by the committee of teachers will add to the pleasure of the pupils."

"At the Columbus State Hospital, the regular Thursday evening dance for the inmates will be enhanced somewhat by a lively holiday crowd.

"On late Wednesday afternoon, a big automobile drew up in front of the city prison [at Town and Front Street] and stopped. A rather small man, in a big fur collared overcoat, stepped out. In either hand was a big turkey. The chauffeur leaped out of the machine and took out four more turkeys, two in each hand. Together the owner and the chauffeur carried their burdens down the worn stone steps, to the precincts below."

"The small man in the fur collared overcoat was Colonel James Kilbourne. He was making his seventh annual visit to the grim old prison on the day before Thanksgiving The city, unlike the county and the state, does not give to prisoners anything extra on Thanksgiving Day. The poor wretches confined in the long, dark and gloomy cell corridors are entirely dependent on the generosity of people outside. If it were not for them the prisoners would have nothing but the allotted two loaves of baker's bread, washed down with city water."

In addition, the Volunteers of America, the Associated Charities and the Salvation Army collected donations to arrange for at least 1,000 families to receive a Thanksgiving dinner.

"Through the agency of the Associated Charities, many families in unfortunate circumstances will be helped by wealthy people of the city. One woman has arranged to provide six families with dinners. Here's a sample of what one of the 200 baskets the Salvation Army will distribute will contain: one chicken, potatoes, apples, cabbage, canned vegetables, mince pie, can of jelly, coffee and sugar. There will be enough in one basket for a family of six."

The more fortunate people who provided these baskets enjoyed their own Thanksgiving dinner complemented by family recipes often passed down for generations. We close with a dessert delight shared with a Columbus newspaper by Mrs. N. W. Good.

"Prune Pudding: Stew until tender one pound of large select prunes. When tender pour into colander to drain. After removing seeds, fill with chopped pecan nuts or English walnuts. Dredge thoroughly in powdered sugar, lay on platter and place in ice box. To the juice add one cup of granulated sugar, one teaspoonful of flour, small lump of butter and a few drops of lemon juice, return to fire until reduced to a thick syrup. Chill and just before serving, add one half cup of chopped nuts, pour over fruit and serve ice cold with whipped cream."

Happy Thanksgiving.

Ed Lentz writes a history column for ThisWeek.