This Cleveland Restaurateur Once Fed 10,000 People on Thanksgiving During the Great Depression


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  • Cleveland Memory Project

A little history for you on this afternoon before a long holiday weekend and a reminder to do what you can for others.

That man up there is George Dallas, a Cleveland restaurateur from back in the early 1900s who became something of a Thanksgiving Santa Claus. Via the Cleveland Memory Project:

Beginning in 1924 and well through the Great Depression years, successful Cleveland restaurateur, George Dallas, provided a free Thanksgiving meal to thousands of unfortunate Clevelanders who were facing hard times. Dubbed the "Samaritan of West 3rd" and the "Thanksgiving Santa Claus" by the Plain Dealer, Dallas, his wife, Alma, and his daughter, Marie, would arrive at their restaurant at 1363 W. 3rd Street and would begin preparing for the presentation of the thousands of boxes containing sandwiches, dessert, fruit and coffee. In 1929, Dallas' "grocery list" for all of the meal boxes he made that year included 200 lbs. of bologna, 210 lbs. of special sausage, 350 lbs. of goose liver, 112 fresh hams, 96 turkeys, 16 barrels of apples, 22 barrels of oranges, 1,200 loaves of bread, and 2,000 cakes. The number of people he served grew each year until in 1932, Dallas fed 10,000 people in Public Hall.
George and Alma handing out Thanksgiving boxes outside of City Hall, 1928
  • George and Alma handing out Thanksgiving boxes outside of City Hall, 1928


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