Berthoud’s bachelors celebrated Thanksgiving at the Grandview Hotel

Photo courtesy of the Berthoud Historical Society – On Thanksgiving Day 1900 the Grandview Hotel at the corner of 4th Street and Massachusetts Avenue in Berthoud hosted an “old bachelors” dinner for the community’s unmarried men. The City Apartments presently occupy the original hotel building.

By Mark French

The Surveyor

In 1900 the Grandview Hotel hosted Berthoud’s “old bachelors” for Thanksgiving dinner. The Grandview Hotel (present-day City Apartments) was located at the northeast corner of 4th Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The hotel not only catered to traveling salesmen but also to unmarried businessmen who preferred to board there because it was in close proximity to Berthoud’s small business district and there was a dining room where they could take their meals.

In 1900 the proprietors of the Grandview Hotel were John and Nancy Shull. The Shulls came to farm in the Little Thompson Valley when Berthoud was located at its original site on the Little Thompson river bottom. After the town was moved to its present-day location in the winter of 1883-84, they built and operated one of the town’s first restaurants and boarding houses as well as a livery barn.

In 1898 Shull sold his farm east of Berthoud to town-founder Peter Turner taking in part payment the Grandview Hotel that Turner had built in 1890. Turner in turn sold the farm to local Colorado & Southern Railroad agent Walter S. Greenland who built a fine 14-room home on the property in 1906. Greenland’s stately brick home still stands at 208 1st Street.

In the summer of 1900 John and Nancy Shull added  a porch and  a one-story, 26 by 36 foot addition to the Grandview Hotel at a cost of about $800.The brick addition contained three bedrooms, a storeroom, laundry room and sample room. Traveling salesmen who stayed at the hotel made use of the sample room to display their wares to the Berthoud market.

Those improvements to the hotel building may have prompted the Shulls to extend a Thanksgiving Day dinner invitation to Berthoud’s single men. Following the holiday the Berthoud Bulletin noted, “J.C. Shull, proprietor of the Grandview Hotel, gave the old bachelors of Berthoud a Thanksgiving dinner and 25 answered the roll call. They enjoyed Mrs. Shull’s hospitality fully.”

Many, but not all of the “old bachelors” who enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner were permanent boarders at the hotel, including Dr. David W. McCarty who maintained his office a few doors away at 338 Massachusetts Avenue.  McCarty relinquished his bachelor status in 1906 when he married local girl Jennie Fagan.

The old bachelors’ dinner at the Grandview Hotel was not the only feast to be held in Berthoud on Thanksgiving Day 1900. The Berthoud Bulletin also reported, “Will Strever came from his Canfield school to eat turkey at home, and Clyde Jefferes acted on the same impulse.”

The unincorporated community of Canfield where Strever taught was located in the mining district west of Erie, Colorado. The tiny community had a grain mill, blacksmith shop, general store, post office, and a school. Will Strever had been born in the Berthoud area and was a graduate of the Red Rock country school. He was educated at the University of Colorado and became a lawyer.

Clyde Jefferes, eldest son of Berthoud livery barn operator Sim Jefferes, graduated from Berthoud High School in 1899.  In November 1900 he was attending business school in Denver before going into business with his father.

The local newspaper also noted, “At the home of D.J. Baxter, they had a family re-union Thanksgiving, seventeen of the family being present.”

Davis “D.J.” Baxter was a union veteran of the Civil War and an early Little Thompson Valley homesteader who lived along the Larimer-Weld County line about two miles southeast of Berthoud.

The local tabloid ended its account of Thanksgiving Day 1900 by adding, “Thanksgiving was a quiet day in Berthoud—except for those ladies who prepared elaborate dinners.”