Around Town In The 1950s
|this section is divided into 4 parts:||-----||-----|
Shopping & More
Shopping trends and Googie architecture
Travel & Nightlife
Vacation spots, motels, car trips, nightclubs and cocktail lounges
Drive-ins, lunch counters, soda fountains, malt shops....yummy!
Town & Country
Views of city, small town and rural life
Googie design was popular in the 1950s and 1960s, and got its name from Googie's, the California coffeeshop famous for its modern, space-age look.
In the 1950s space travel and atomic power were very hot topics, and any establishment that wanted to promote a modern or futuristic image used these motifs in their designs.
California led the way, constructing coffeeshops and other public buildings with large expanses of glass, synthetic materials, exposed metal beams and upswept roofs. Signs weren't complete until they had a starburst, atom or sputnik on the very top. The theme was carried on in the furnishings: boomerang and amoeba-shaped tables were very aerodynamic! Disneyland's Tomorrowland was Googie in the extreme.
Just picture the Skypad Apartments on The Jetsons, and you get the idea!
Googie Architecture Online
Googie & Tiki At Disneyland
My Retro Diner logo
is very Googie!
The shopping experience was in a state of transition in the 1950s.|
If you lived in the city, you could take the bus or streetcar downtown for a day of shopping.
But what if you lived in one of those new housing developments out in the country? To accomodate the growing suburban population, developers began to build strip shopping centers and huge discount stores in the outlying areas, signaling the beginning of the end for downtown shopping.
Macy's in New York City
The St. Regis Room in Simpson's Department Store
Department stores had several floors of merchandise. The floorwalker directed you to the appropriate department, where the clerk behind the counter helped you with your purchase and wrapped it up.
Federated Department Stores In The 50s
Macy's Herald Square
Department Store Design In The 50s
Before the 1950s, many stores issued their own charge cards, but there wasn't a credit card that could be used at many different locations. In 1950 a forgotten wallet led to the creation of Diner's Club, the first credit card.
In 1958 both American Express and Bank Americard were introduced, and credit cards soon became a way of life.
Most people bought their clothing at small specialty shops. For the ladies, there were dress shops, hat shops and jewelry stores. The well-dressed man did his shopping at the haberdashery.
Jolie Gabor Jewelry
History Of Florsheim Shoes
Blain's Farm & Fleet
In the 1950s the home and auto store became popular. In addition to tires and auto accessories, these stores also sold appliances, toys, bicycles, electronics and garden supplies. Western Auto and Farm & Fleet were two examples.
Toys R' Us (1957)
Blain's Farm & Fleet (1955)
The drugstore sold magazines, perfume and penny candy. You could also get your prescriptions filled at the pharmacy or drop off your film for developing. When it came to clothing, cosmetics, gifts and housewares, if the local five-and-dime didn't have it, you probably didn't need it. The soda fountain or lunch counter was a great place to stop for a snack or quick meal.
Ben Franklin Nostalgia 1951-1969
Get your prescriptions filled!
"mom and pop" businesses|
small grocery stores
Piggly Wiggly History
About A&P Supermarkets
Supermarket History & Architecture
Times were changing, and downtown retailers realized that they needed to open stores in the new suburban shopping centers in order to stay successful. Giving up personal service in favor of lower prices was a trade many shoppers were willing to make, and this trend gave birth to the discount store.
History Of Valley Fair Center
To The Mall, Bearing Money
A Shopping Giant Arrives
History Of The Shopping Center & Mall
Catchy name, huh?
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