World War II ended, and thousands of servicemen returned to America to be with their families. Corporate expansion and jobs were created because the American people boosted the economy by buying goods not available during the war. Now, families could afford single family houses. The concept of “suburban live” was born. Famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, influenced the popularization of the ranch style house. The baby boom was starting.
In Springfield, the Illinois State Fair was held on August 12th through the 21st. Some of the Grandstand acts included famous acts of the time such as WLS Barn Dance Show with Gene Autry and Pat Butram, the Beaver Valley Sweethearts, and the State Fair Musical Revue with the Six Voca-love-lies. South of the Dairy Building, there was a scale model replica of New Salem State Park and the New Salem Rutledge Tavern. On August 5th, a new forty acre conservation area opened on the fairgrounds. The conservation area contained games pens, a zoo, three lakes, and a picnic area. This was to be a year round attraction. The motorcycle races were almost cancelled this year. The reason was due to the rowdy behavior by motorcycle fans in downtown Springfield. The picture above features Bess Paoli. She was one of the first women in the United States to own a race car.
In 1955, these other events were happening across the world:
Jan 2 – Bob Cummings Show premiered on NBC (later CBS).
Jan 19 – Scrabble was first released on the board game market.
Mar 5 – Elvis Presley appeared for the first time on television on the Louisiana Hayride Show.
Mar 30 – Grace Kelley and Brando won at the 27th Academy Awards for On the Waterfront.
April 5 – Winston Churchill resigned as the British Prime Minister.
April 15 – Ray Kroc started McDonald’s. His first location for this iconic, fast food chain was in Illinois.
May 6 – West Germany joined NATO.
June 7 – President Eisenhower was the first president to appear on color television.
June 23 – Lady and the Tramp, the famous Disney movie about two love-struck dogs, was released.
June 30 – The Johnny Carson Show debuted on CBS.
Aug 12 – President Eisenhower raised the minimum wage. It was raised from 75 cents to $1 an hour.
Sept 9 – Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.
Oct 20 – Return of the King, the third novel in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, was published.
Nov 5 – This was the date that Mary McFly returned to in the iconic movie Back to the Future.
Dec 1 – Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus in order to give her seat to a white passenger.
What was your favorite moment from 1955? Were you one of the baby boomers? How was your experience at the Illinois State Fair? Leave us your comments and pictures!