All States Picnic, 1948

This surfaced recently on YouTube: photographs of Ontario’s All States Picnic from 1948 done for Life magazine by Allan Grant and turned into a video montage by Gary Cliser. The video lasts six minutes, and there’s some neat stuff. The pictures can be seen individually on this blog.

According to Wikipedia, “The All-States Picnic, an Independence Day celebration, began in 1939 to recognize the varied origins of the city’s residents. Picnic tables lined the median of Euclid Avenue from Hawthorne to E Street, with signs for each of the country’s 48 states. The picnic was suspended during World War II, but when it resumed in 1948, it attracted 120,000 people. A 1941 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! cartoon listed Ontario’s picnic table as the “world’s longest.” As native Californians came to outnumber the out-of-state-born, the celebration waned in popularity until it was discontinued in 1981. It was revived in 1991 as a celebration of civic pride.”

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  • GARY CLISER

    Thanks for sharing this David – these photographs are classic! The video is actually just over 6 minutes long – not an hour as you had stated…

    [I've changed that. A reader sent me the link to a 57-minute Ontario video, I went from there to yours and then mixed up the running times. -- DA]

  • Bill Ruh

    I enjoyed the piece on the 1948 All States Picnic. It is a time capsule. Who and what we were not so very long ago. Some of the photos could have been straight ouf of the 1955 film Picnic, the Tadash adaptation of the Inge play. I almost expected to see William Holden and Kim Novak.

    I find it fascinating to see just how well dressed most people were. Men in suits and ties. Women in dresses and pearls. Even those in casual clothes looked far more dressy than their contemporary counterparts. I did wonder why the All States Picnic was on August 28th and not on July 4th? Perhaps the change to the 4th of July was later?

    Anyway, thanks for taking me back in time. I’ll probably think of the 1955 song Picnic all day.

    [You're welcome, Bill. -- DA]

  • Ronald Scott

    If you have been to Ontario Mills and eaten in the food court, I think that’s what the pictures were about on the picnic benches they had there.

    [You might be right. I remember some tables having a reproduction of a Daily Bulletin article from the early 1990s about the picnic being revived. -- DA]