A Lovely Day for a Picnic

A family enjoying a picnic along the Tuscarawas River, from the Ohio Guide Collection via Ohio Memory.
A family enjoying a picnic along the Tuscarawas River, from the Ohio Guide Collection via Ohio Memory.

It’s that time of year again–tomorrow marks the official first day of summer! And while the weather this weekend might not be fitting for an outdoor picnic, we invite you to share in some of the photographs on Ohio Memory that celebrate this traditional summer activity!

"Hocking Valley Picnic" by David Broderick Walcutt, 1854. Via Ohio Memory.
“Hocking Valley Picnic” by David Broderick Walcutt, 1854. Via Ohio Memory.

One historical view of the picnic is seen at right, in a painting from the Fine Art Collection of the Ohio History Connection called “Hocking Valley Picnic.” Painted by artist David Broderick Walcutt in 1854, this playful scene depicts a large group of young men and women in a forest clearing. Click on the image to enlarge, and you’ll see details including a couple fishing, a man swinging a woman as a friend looks on and laughs, and a feast being spread along a picnic blanket in the shade. David Walcutt (1825-1885) was the son of John M. Walcutt of Columbus, Ohio. Though he received no formal art training until later in life, David exhibited his work in New York City and painted some of the governor portraits which still hang in the Statehouse today.

"Writers' Project Picnic" from the Ohio Guide Collection on Ohio Memory.
Photograph of a picnic held for the Ohio Federal Writers’ Project employees of Montgomery, Preble, Warren and Butler Counties, June 26, 1936. From the Ohio Guide Collection on Ohio Memory.

 

Picnic attendees celebrating at the St. Henry Community Picnic, ca. 1966. This longtime tradition happens over the July 4th weekend in the village of St. Henry. Via Ohio Memory.
Picnic attendees celebrating at the St. Henry Community Picnic, ca. 1966. This longtime tradition happens over the July 4th weekend in the village of St. Henry, Mercer County, Ohio. Via Ohio Memory.
Postcard showing the picnic area at Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati, Ohio, ca. 1910. Courtesy of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County via Ohio Memory.
Postcard showing the picnic area at Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati, Ohio, ca. 1910. Courtesy of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County via Ohio Memory.

 

Coney Island, seen at left, was an amusement park on the banks of the Ohio River just east of Cincinnati. It started as an apple orchard owned by James Parker, who soon realized that the location was an attractive place for visitors. The orchard was then sold to the Ohio Grove Corporation under the name “Grove Park, the Coney Island of the West,”  which opened on June 21, 1886. In 1887, the Grove Park name was dropped, and it became “Coney Island.” Despite suffering through the Great Depression, World War I, World War II, and regular flooding of the Ohio River, the site became a full-fledged amusement park over the years. In 1968, it was moved 25 miles north of Cincinnati, and has since survived the opening of Kings Island in 1971 to remain a popular spot where new memories are made each summer.

To beat the heat this weekend, head to Ohio Memory and explore these memories of summers past!


Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

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