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Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park

Posted by davidorr 
Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
July 31, 2018 12:42PM
Hello,

I am writing to inquire if anyone here has information about the Old Mill Inn in Fair Park. My great-grandmother, Ida Chitwood, was the chef-in-residence at this location during the 1936 Centennial Exposition.

The building itself was constructed to house her cooking demonstrations, sponsored by various flour mills in North Texas, including Burrus Mills, and possibly other food manufacturers. During the exposition she baked biscuits and perhaps other baked goods in the kitchen there, offering free food to fair-goers. As that was still the Depression, there were many undernourished people who visited the exhibit regularly to take advantage of the freebies.

I know some of the history of this facility, that which was handed down to me through the family, but I am seeking additional information. I'd particularly like to know any anecdotes that people might remember or records that may still exist about my great-grandmother herself, the history of the building, the various food items she prepared, and any other information that might be available.

A bit of background on Ida Chitwood: she was formerly a county home demonstration agent in the late teens and early 20s, who went from being a "government agent" in west Texas to making a very good living with "Mrs. Chitwood's School of Cookery," which she built into a national business by the late 1920s and into the 1930s. She was hired by the Centennial Exposition on account of her "celebrity" status to conduct cooking demonstrations throughout the duration of the exposition. For some reason the decision was made to construct the building in a rustic style that contrasted with the Art Deco style of most of the exposition's buildings.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

David Orr
Austin
Re: Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
July 31, 2018 08:29PM
David, your ggm's story is a great one, which I have read about elsewhere, including in the Dallas Food History column in the Dallas paper. iirc, the reason for the rustic design of the building (which I understand to be authentic not just in appearance, but in construction details including hand crafting) lies in the sponsors, who were flour companies. They wanted a building that matched an 1836 Texas German flour mill, and they got it, even having it built by German Texan builders.

Good luck in finding more information about your ggm. She must have been an outstanding person to have achieved what she did.

Dave McNeely
Re: Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
August 01, 2018 12:04AM
Google this: "history Old Mill Inn in Fair Park dallas tx" lots of inf including:

Ida Chitwood was the most famous demonstrator at the exhibit. Ladies from all over North Texas could enter her model test kitchen and watch Ida work, showing off new cooking techniques using flour. When Ida was working at The Old Mill Inn she lived in her traveling railcar in back of the fairgrounds.

Which I got here: [www.oldmillinn-fairparkdallastx.com]

Good Luck
Re: Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
August 01, 2018 08:25AM
By the time I first went to the fair with parents and grandparents (1953 or so) the Old Mill housed the Bordens Dairy exhibit. Not only could you visit Elsie and Elmer in some very snazzy stalls, but it was probably the coolest place at the fairgrounds on a warm October day. Belly up to the bar and have a cool, refreshing Dixie cup of milk.
My parents called the race track at the fair the "Joey Chitwood". I've always assumed Mr. Chitwood was a local celebrity. Was he related to Ida Chitwood?

Victoria Snyder Alvey
Re: Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
August 01, 2018 09:00AM
Joey Chitwod had a travelling auto thrill show that preformed every year at the race track, went to see it every year during the fair as a child in the 50s until they tore the track down.
Re: Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
August 01, 2018 10:24AM
[www.dmagazine.com]

Dave McNeely
Re: Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
August 06, 2018 10:25AM
David Orr,,,,,any kin to Terry Orr?
Re: Ida Chitwood and the Old Mill Inn at Fair Park
September 07, 2018 10:52AM
Mr. Freeze Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Joey Chitwod had a travelling auto thrill show
> that preformed every year at the race track, went
> to see it every year during the fair as a child in
> the 50s until they tore the track down.


The Joie Chitwood thrill shows were associated with and sponsored by Chevrolet, and used Chevrolets in their show. Joie, born in 1912 in Denison, was also a seven-time entrant in the Indianapolis 500:

[en.wikipedia.org]
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