McDonald’s celebrates its 70th anniversary


The start of a new revolution in food history came about on Dec. 12, 1948, in the form of a small hamburger shop located in the city of San Bernardino, California called McDonald’s. Now among the most popular fast food chains in the world, McDonald’s observed its 70th anniversary on Dec. 12, 2018, at its first restaurant.

The first McDonald’s was originally a BBQ restaurant that opened in 1940 however closed and on Dec. 12, 1948, was reopened as a hand burger shop,” stated Ezra Cabal the assistant corporate at the McDonald’s museum.  (EMILY WALOS/ Ethic Photos)

McDonald’s started as a local business in the city of San Bernardino and has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon that has made its way onto the dinner tables of millions. Now, after 70 years, the McDonald’s museum celebrates its life with former employees, San Bernardino city officials and those wanting to see the past of the American icon.

Albert Okura, the founder of Juan Pollo, a chicken fast food restaurant, and also now known as the “King of Chicken,” bought the piece of fast food history in a foreclosing sale, according to George Toshio Johnston’s article “The Man Who Would Be Chicken King.” Okura has since turned it into a museum that features many things of Mcdonald’s past.  These items include happy meal toys, old uniforms, McDonald’s food from around the world, props from the movie “The Founder,” (the movie follows the story of Ray Kroc, a salesman, who bought the restaurant, created the McDonald’s corporation and turned the fast food eatery into the global sensation it is today) and so much more.

In the museum props from the movie The Founder can be found, the movie follows the story of  Ray Kroc played by actor Michael Keaton buying out McDonald’s and his journey of making it into an international food chain.  (EMILY WALOS/ Ethic Photos)

At the anniversary celebration, former employees were able to return to their former place of employment and share memories of the past. The highlight of the party, however, was a raffle that was held, with the grand prize being an authentic shirt that was originally in the movie “The Founder.”

Outside the museum McDonald’s greatest icon, its golden arches can be seen with a sign put up by the museum referencing the restaurant’s original prized menu item their 15 cent hamburgers and that instead of the building now serves memories.
(EMILY WALOS/ Ethic Photos)

Ben Stacks, son of Cliff Stacks who “worked for the McDonald brothers and was a manager at their first E Street restaurant, a drive-in serving barbecue” shared his story according to The San Bernardino Sun’s article “Celebrate the birth of fast food at the McDonald’s museum in San Bernardino.”

“My dad was the one who cooked the barbecued beef in a big pit back there and had a bucket of barbecue sauce, and he would spread it with like a floor mop,” Stacks is cited as saying in the article, “He told me, and I believed it for years, that the same mop was what they did the floors with at night.” According to Stack, the brothers helped his family financially and both were very cordial; however, the nicer of the pair was Maurice or “Mac.”

The brothers’ first look into the business industry was a movie theater they had opened together, yet their ambition was not bringing in the cash needed.  They, therefore, were forced to close the doors. They decided they would open a restaurant that was based around selling hamburgers, as it was the most successful item their parents had sold in their different eateries.

The outside walls of the museum are covered from top to bottom with a hand-painted portrayal of what the original restaurant would have looked like back in its earlier days.  (EMILY WALOS/ Ethic Photos)

The business proved to be successful. Menu items were food that people enjoyed to eat and the service was speedy, as the hamburgers were precooked in the morning, wrapped and then put under heating lamps until a customer had ordered it. With the fast-food restaurant becoming busier, the brothers bought 8 shake and malt makers from Ray Kroc.  From then on, Ray Kroc was set on franchising the small hamburger shop.

In 1955, Kroc opened the first franchise in “Des Plaines, Illinois, and in the same year launched the McDonald’s Corporation, eventually buying out the McDonald brothers in 1961,” according to the article “McDonald’s American Corporation” written by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Kroc would then open more than 1000 outlets by the end of the 1960s.

When entering first entering the museum guests are greeted with several of McDonald’s most famous icons including its double golden arches and the Hamburglar.
 (EMILY WALOS/ Ethic Photos)

For anyone who wants to visit the museum, it is located at 1398 N E St, San Bernardino, CA 92405 and is free to the public.  There are self-guided tours as well as tour guides, who are willing to give tours and answer any questions that you may have.      

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