This Month in Edmonds History: Picnicking in Edmonds

Three of the historical photographs on display at the Edmonds Library during the month of July
Three of the historical photographs on display at the Edmonds Library during the month of July

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My Edmonds News is proud to present a monthly look at Edmonds history, straight from the archives of the Edmonds Historical Museum. For the month of July, we’ll revisit early picnics in Edmonds.

The sun is out, the birds are chirping and the parks are brimming with people. That can only mean one thing—it’s time for a picnic.

Picnics are a staple of summertime for many people in the Pacific Northwest, and historical photographs prove that this tradition is nothing new. Historically, picnics date back hundreds of years, when they were primarily held by the wealthy.

In 1861, the popular British cooking and housekeeping book, “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management,” was published. Among other things, the book included a section on the proper way to hold a picnic for 40 people, including—but not limited to—a joint of cold roast beef, 2 shoulders of lamb, 2 roast ducks, 1 ham, 1 tongue, 2 pigeon pies, 6 medium-sized lobsters, 18 lettuces, 4 dozen cheesecakes, a few baskets of fresh fruit, 3 dozen plain biscuits, 6 lbs. of butter, 3 dozen rolls, 2 plain plum cakes, and a ½ lb. of tea. Coffee, it noted, was not suitable for a picnic, as it was difficult to make.

Today, picnics are enjoyed by everyone. In Edmonds, these gatherings have been well-documented throughout the years. The Edmonds Historical Museum has many photographs and artifacts related to this popular activity, and this month these items will be on display at the Edmonds Library. During the month of July, stop by the Edmonds Library lobby display and take a peek at past “Picnics in Edmonds.”

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