“The annual All-College picnic, which is Saturday October 1, is one of the oldest traditions Wilson holds. As far back as Aunt Sally’s time, the whole college community including faculty, staff, administration and student body put one day aside in the fall to leave the campus and travel to the great outdoors to engage in sports, games, and eating. The method of transportation ha
s changed slightly though. Originally the branch train line, whose tracks still run through campus, stopped on campus, loaded up one and all and chugged on up to Mont Alto. This spot had been the one and only up until recent years. Caledonia was the chosen spot for the big day a little later, and the crowd was transported there by means of trolley cars. Since 1931-1951 Mont Alto again was the location, and buses replaced the trolley cars. In the past few years the appointed spot has been a matter of a four-year alternation. In ’52 it was Pine Grove, ’53 Cowan’s Gap, last year it was Caledonia and this year it is Mont Alto. Back in the ‘90’s the college community packed up for the day and headed for Gettysburg. The day’s activities are very much the same: the traditional student-faculty softball game, the talks by the class prexys [presidents] and the grasshopper hunt by the Freshmen.” –Billboard Sept. 30, 1955 vol.27 no. 2
Begun in 1888, The All-College Picnic was a traditional fall getaway for students, faculty, and staff. It was also referred to as Mont Alto Day or Caledonia Day because the picnic typically occurred at one of the nearby parks. Originally, students took the Cumberland Valley Railroad’s specially designated branch train line straight from campus to the park. In 1913, Mont Alto closed to the public, so the event was switched to Caledonia. From 1931-1951, the Picnic returned to Mont Alto; after which time, it began a rotation between those two parks as well as Pine Grove and Cowan’s Gap.
No matter the location, the activities remained the same: a picnic, followed by a student-faculty softball game, hiking, singing, skits, and, in later years, organized group sports such as volleyball or dodgeball. Of course, no picnic was complete without speeches from Wilson’s president and the presidents of each class.