25 Fun Facts About the 1950s

25 Fun Facts About the 1950s

The ’50s are arguably the most nostalgic years in US history. The decade remains a symbol of opposing concepts like “normalcy” and quiet suburban American family living, and some serious youthful rebellion. It’s always a fascinating period to look back on, so here are 25 fun facts about the 1950s:

Some 1950s Trivia

  1. On average, gas cost 18 cents per gallon at the start of the ’50s and 25 cents per gallon at the end of the decade. In today’s terms, that’s the equivalent value of $1.90 and $2.16 per gallon, respectively.
  1. On January 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state in the USA.
  1. Then, on August 21, 1959, Hawaii become the 50th.
  1. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the beloved Peanuts gang were introduced to the world in 1950. Take a look at more classic comic strips that started in the ’50s.
  1. The 1950s were an important decade for civil rights in America. For example, on May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled that separate schools for black and white students were inherently unequal and unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Then, on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her bus seat for a white passenger, and
  1. The New York Yankees were in eight of the 10 MLB World Series of the decade, and they won six of them.
  1. TV dinners were introduced in 1953 by Swanson. The first version of this heat-and-serve frozen meal contained a Thanksgiving-inspired meal of turkey, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato, and peas.
  1. The first credit card—the Diners Club card—was issued in the 1950s. Here are some other noteworthy inventions from the fifties.
  1. Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA on July 17, 1955. It’s the only theme park actually designed and built under the direction of Walt Disney himself.
  1. People got faster in the ’50s. Well, Roger Bannister became the first person on record to run one mile in less than four minutes, at least.
  1. Alan Freed, a radio DJ in Cleveland, OH, started calling the emerging popular music genre “rock ‘n roll” in 1951. He’s widely credited for naming the genre, though the term “rocking and rolling” was previously used as a descriptor for the motion of boats, for ardent worship in African-American churches, and as a euphemism for sex.
  1. Dr. Suess published his landmark book The Cat in the Hat in 1957. Check out other classic American books published in the 1950s.
  1. The average annual salary in the US was $3,210 in 1950 and $5,010 by 1959. That equates to approximately $34,000 and $43,300 today.
  1. Of the 10 NBA Finals during the decade, the Minneapolis Lakers played in five of them, winning four. Then the team was relocated to its more familiar home—Los Angeles, CA—for the 1960 season.
  1. US presidents became officially limited to two terms upon ratification of the 22nd Amendment on February 27, 1951.
  1. The cool guys wore a duck’s ass in the ’50s. The DA haircut, that is. Read about other fads of the 1950s.
  1. On May 29, 1953, New Zealand beekeeper Edmund Hillary and Nepali Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first people to climb to the peak of the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest.
  1. Car culture really took off in the 1950s. President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act in June of 1956 to create 41,000 miles of national highways.
  1. The “baby boom” peaked in 1957, when just under 4.3 million babies were born in America.
  1. Beagles were the favored canine companion of the decade. See the other most popular dog breeds through the mid-century years.
  1. NASA was established with passage of the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958; the agency became operational on October 1 of the same year. The first two astronauts–John H. Glenn, Jr. and Alan Shepard, Jr.—were introduced the next year.
  1. The Cleveland Browns played in seven of the 10 NFL Championships in the fifties. But they only won three of them.
  1. Heywood-Wakefield first produced its famous Home Office Desk from 1954 to 1956.
  1. The average cost of a new car was $1,510 in 1950 (about $16,000 today) and $2,200 in 1959 (around $19,000 currently).
  1. I Love Lucy—consistently ranked one of the all-time greatest television shows—aired from 1951 to 1957. Here are some more classic TV programs from the 1950s.

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Leonard Riforgiato is a successful furniture manufacturing entrepreneur, a Miami resident, and co-owner of legacy furniture company Heywood-Wakefield.

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