Lunch at the Palace

Clay Knapp, 88, has lived in Griggs County since he was a very small child, and on the same farm since he was four.  He remembers the smell of sod being turned for the first time, the sight of large flocks of waterfowl settling on the sloughs, the taste of prairie chicken.

He remembers driving the 14- miles to Cooperstown, "We didn't have much for roads then," with horse and buggy, sometimes taking his mother, Mrs. Hubbard Knapp, to town to shop.  She liked to eat lunch at the Palace Hotel.  Clay would pull up his rig to the front door and the proprietor of the hotel would meet Mrs. Knapp, greet her, help her down from the buggy and escort her into the hotel.  Clay explains that the Palace served expensive meals -fifty cents - but the style and elegance of the establishment made it worth the price, to his mother.

After he had taken the horses to the livery stable to be fed, watered and rested, Clay would go someplace to eat.  The place of choice might be Tang's Restaurant or the Exchange Hotel or Marquardt's Palace of Sweets.  Economy was one of his reasons.  The food was good at all of those places, and the meal cost twenty-five or thirty-five cents.  Besides, he says, "I was dressed in overalls and I wouldn't feel right going into the Palace dressed that way."

Once in a while gypsies would travel past their place.  He remembers that they wore colorful clothes and drove good-looking horses.  Mostly, he recalls, they were horse traders.  He never had any trouble with them "but you wouldn't want to trade horses with them.€  One time a gypsy girl asked for water for her horses.  Clay told her she should water them from a pall instead of the watering trough.  "There were a lot of diseases those days and you never knew what a strange horse might have."

The gypsy girl didn't like that very well.  "She told me 'I'll have you know my horses ain't pizen'," Clay remembers.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 125

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