Italian picnic near Lake Cle Elum, circa 1904 – 20″x11″



A group of Italian immigrants with musical instruments celebrate at the Cle Elum Pump House on the Cle Elum River. The Luglio (July) 24 1904 inscription on the beer keg, center front of the picture, may have marked the day of the gathering or a later commemoration of that date. The location was probably the Italian Picnic Grounds that became an early tradition in Upper Kittitas County history. In 1891, the Italian Societies petitioned the transfer of a retail liquor license from a saloon on Pennsylvania Ave. to the grounds for their celebration (July 27, 1891, Roslyn City Council Minutes). _The several secret societies,_ reported the Cle Elum Tribune in June 1891, _are composed of foreign nationalities, of which a goodly proportion of Roslyn is made up._ The societies, continued the Tribune, _have indicated their appreciation of America_s free and liberal institutions by a willing acceptance of an invitation to unite as a whole in the [Fourth of July] festivities of the day._ The tri-colored bunting behind the band was probably the red, green and white Italian flag sprinkled with the stars from the American flag, a melding of Italian heritage and American culture.