Oregon Used To Celebrate Thanksgiving Twice – Here’s Why

Remember that time Oregon celebrated Thanksgiving twice?  Or how about that other time when we did it again?  For a short time Oregon was the undeniable Thanksgiving capital of the US.

A Dispute Between A Governor And The President

In 1893 and 1894, Oregon held Thanksgiving twice.  Why?  The story goes that Governor Sylvester Pennoyer, the 8th Governor of Oregon, didn’t like then President of the United States Grover Cleveland.  There had been a dispute over Chinese labor and laws to protect Chinese immigrants.

In 1863 President Lincoln had declared Americans would celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November.  Most presidents after that declared the same, that Thanksgiving would be held on the last Thursday of November.  In 1893, a few days before President Cleveland could make his proclamation, Governor Pennoyer declared Oregon would celebrate on the 4th Thursday of November.  Since November had 5 weeks that year, it meant Oregon would celebrate Thanksgiving a week ahead of the rest of the nation, and then if they were to follow the President’s proclamation, they’d celebrate it again a week later.

Years later in 1941 Congress declared Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November (just as Oregonians had done for two years in the 1890’s).  Oregonians were trendsetters before it was cool.

Now you know why Oregon used to celebrate Thanksgiving twice.  There’s short video from PBS with more details here.

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