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Our Hickory Grove Picnic Grounds

Dining Hall at Sts. Peter & Paul Picnic Grounds
Dining Hall at Sts. Peter & Paul Picnic Grounds

Address:  2780 Wagoner Road, California KY 41007

Our Annual Parish Picnics are held on the last Saturday of July and the 4th Saturday of August.  We serve Chicken and Roast Beef dinners from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

History of the Picnic Grounds
The first parish picnics were held in the woods of the Pete Reis farm (opposite Steve Martin's home).  Wood stoves were hauled to the grounds and trees cut to make tables and benches.  Vegetables were all donated and chickens were brought and killed on the farm.  Suppers were sold for the benefit of Sts. Peter and Paul Church. Picnic was over when darkness came.

Early picnics were also held on the farm of John and Katie Spauer, the present farm of Joe Geiger.

Hickory Grove Picnic Grounds was bought from Theodore Gubser in 1902 for $300. The Huck (Hook) family previously owned the land.  The Young Men's Society purchased the plot for Sts. Peter and Paul Church.  Committee members for the Young Men's Society at that time were Nick Boschert, Mike Bezold, and Robert Seiter.  This information was learned during a visit with Robert Seiter some years ago.

The name for the ground was taken from the Hickory Grove School house located across the road.  The school house was sold by Campbell County Board of Education in 1927 to Louis Schalk.

The first structure on the grounds was the dance hall.  Mr. Sacksteder and his son-in-law and brothers Frank and Mike Faulhaber, built it.  Timbers, long and sturdy for the hall, came from Pete Geiger's woods.  The hall was built with trusses.  Previously, large buildings required posts in the middle to hold the weight of the building. During the construction, Ben Reis was one of the many volunteers who helped raise those large timbers.  The knot on this rope slipped and the timber fell.  Thankfully, no one was injured.

Originally, the picnic area was completely fenced.  During the summer, Louis Schalk ran his horses on the ground.  A concrete trough held water for the horses and no one had to mow the grass.

Before 1957, (when the present school was built), all parish functions, other than masses and school, were held at the picnic grounds.  There was not a hall or room large enough for even parish meetings at the old school building.  Celebrations such as the Pastor's Ordination Anniversaries, Sts. Peter and Paul Centennial, and the Rogation Days were held in the dance hall or dining hall.

Both private and public weddings were celebrated at the picnic grounds.  With a public wedding, in place of invitations, parishioners learned of an upcoming wedding by word of mouth and hearing the banns announced in church.  The Mass would be early in the day and everyone was welcome.  The family would share the day at the bride's house or sometimes at the grounds.  In the evening, the wedding dance would be open to the public.  Drinks and snacks were sold at the bar.  The profits were given to Sts. Peter and Paul Church.  Bartenders were volunteers from the parish.  The wedding couple provided the music and decorated the hall.  

At this time, we are still using the grounds for the July picnic held on the last Saturday of July and the August picnic held on the 4th Saturday of August. Chicken and roast dinners are available to the public.

The Hickory Grove Picnic Grounds are located just off of West California Crossroads. Take the AA Highway to Mile Marker 4 and turn onto West California Crossroads. Cross the bridge at Flagg Springs Pike and follow the signs to Wagoner Road.
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