I'm heading down a new road, so to speak. Instead of the long articles relating a roadtrip down a complete highway, I'll now be posting much shorter articles. And the scope will be wider, covering just about everything from the year 1962. This should allow me to post more often, and allow you to have more fun reading. I'm not sure just how often I will post something, but this page will always show the five most recent articles, with the newest at the top. Older articles will be archived at the Blog Archives page. I may even include articles from other people, so if you have something to say about 1962, please let me know. Topics will cover:
- 1962 News of the World
- 1962 News of the Nation
- 1962 Local News
- 1962 in Sports
- 1962 in Entertainment and the Arts (including movies, TV, music, art, fashion, architecture, design, books, comics, and more)
- 1962 in Science
- Cars of 1962
- Consumer Products and Retail in 1962 (including just about anything you could buy, plus the stores you could buy it in)
- On the Road in 1962 (road and roadtrip topics, including things I typically covered on my long journeys)
Fourth of July Fireworks Shows in 1962
As Independence Day approaches, it seems like a good time for Roadtrip-'62 ™ to review 4th of July fireworks displays in 1962. Fireworks as an Independence Day celebration date back almost to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, before the country had actually won its independence. Just one year after signing, in 1777, the Continental Congress authorized a display in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they met. It’s recorded that thirteen rockets were fired on the commons. Boston, Massachusetts, another hotbed of separatist activity, also had a display on that day. These public displays were arguably better celebrations than some that occurred in 1776, where some colonists celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, in a triumph of liberty. Fireworks caught on through the new states, with Charleston, South Carolina holding a display in 1783 and New York City in the same general period. They were not annual events though, with both Charleston and New York City canceling fireworks as a Fourth of July event in 1786 due to the risk of fires.Grand finale of 2016 Bay City, Michigan fireworks display. (Video by Gregory Varnum, at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)
But by 1870, fireworks were a mainstay of Independence Day celebrations. That year, the US Congress made July 4th a federal holiday. The number of cities having displays has continued to grow, so that by 1962 we could find fireworks on nearly any roadtrip we take. For example, there are fireworks in at least 40 cities along our US-23 trip, including at the beginning of the trip at Mackinaw City, Michigan and the end of the trip at Jacksonville, Florida. While not all of these date from at least 1962, the fireworks of Bay City, Michigan do. That first show was funded by Bay City's Fraternal Order of Police at a cost of $2,500 dollars. The event has now grown to include three nights of fireworks, along with a complete carnival, concerts, boat tours on the Saginaw River, and even helicopter rides. The three-night schedule has made it one of the largest fireworks displays in the Midwest.
Columbus, Ohio, also on US-23, takes the prize as the biggest, and by some accounts best, Independence Day fireworks celebration in the Midwest. It also includes great food and music with the fireworks. And to top it off, on July 4th an old-fashioned celebration is held at the Ohio Village 19th-century historical complex. This includes a parade, patriotic speeches, old-time baseball, pie-eating contests, and other events you might have seen in the mid 1800s.
You can also find good displays along our US-6 roadtrip, though some that existed in 1962 are no longer staged. One example of celebrations that no longer exist is the Fourth of July fireworks display at the local Hills Department Store. As the ad above shows, the event was highly publicized, and I’ve found folks who have fond memories of their families piling into the car and heading out to the store. Unfortunately, that store closed after the entire Hills chain was bought by Ames Department Stores, which went bankrupt in 2002. One display from that era that still exists along US-6 is at Peekskill, New York. The Peekskill Volunteer Fire Department funds the fireworks and associated parade through collection of donations, and has since 1962.
Though not on US-6, Granville, Ohio’s fireworks and parade have been held since 1962. These are sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Granville and are produced by Rozzi Fireworks. This company has provided award winning fireworks products and displays since 1895, so you could probably find them behind many displays you would see in 1962. They are located in Cincinnati, Ohio and have been since 1930, when Italian immigrant Paolo Rozzi moved the company from New Castle, Pennsylvania. They are one of the few American pyrotechnic companies still manufacturing products in the United States. If you’re interested in buying fireworks, they also have a consumer fireworks store located in nearby Loveland, Ohio, near US-22. Or try Big Country Fireworks of Revillo, South Dakota, which opened in 1962. It’s located just off US-212, near the Minnesota border.
While Rozzi may be one of the few US fireworks manufactures, others also date back to before 1962 and were also founded by Italian immigrants. Garden State Fireworks of Millington, New Jersey was opened in 1890 by Augustine Santore and is now known world-wide for multi-break shells. One of their many customers is the Disney organization, today the world’s largest consumer of fireworks. It’s easy to see why Disney uses so many fireworks, as they use them every night at all of their theme parks, not just on July 4th! You could see the show nightly at Disneyland, even back in 1962.
One other fireworks manufacturer is still located in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where the previously-mentioned Mr. Rozzi was once located. Antonio Zambelli emigrated from Italy in 1893 with a book full of his family’s fireworks recipes and his Zambelli Fireworks Manufacturing Company has grown to have three locations, including offices in Florida and California. In the 1950s and 1960s, Zambelli produced the Washington Mall display with National Park Service.
Fireworks are often shot from barges in rivers and lakes, and sometimes from bridges, but Lake Waukomis, Missouri, shoots theirs from a dam. The community is located on US-71 and near US-169 and closes the road over the dam for their celebration. The first of what they call “Fourth on Water” was held in 1962 on private property for a crowd of just 650 people, but has grown since then. There are plenty of other Fourth of July fireworks displays around the country that have been running since 1962, besides those along US-23 and US-6. In fact, I have seen fireworks on or near July 4th all over the country on my Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels, in cities large and small. One spectacular display I watched was on the National Mall in Washington, DC, possibly still a Zambelli production, which I saw from my hotel room across the Potomac River in Virginia.
Some 1962 Fun on Highway US-1
Highway US-1 is one of the longest US-numbered routes, running from Fort Kent, Maine at the Canadian border down to land’s end at Key West, Florida: 2,377 miles. It mostly runs near the Atlantic Ocean coast and passes through the largest metropolitan areas in the country, including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. We crossed US-1 on both of our Roadtrip-'62 ™ journeys. US-23 hit it just a few miles north of Alma, Georgia and rode with it to the end in Jacksonville, Florida. And our US-6 trip crossed it in Providence, Rhode Island. An interstate freeway, I-95, now runs roughly parallel to US-1 for most of its length, but it was only in bits and pieces back in 1962. I won’t make any definitive lists about attractions on US-1, because this route has been written about for decades and also featured on TV shows. After all, it’s #1! It is also the longest north-south US-numbered route. But let’s see what places I can find that opened or began in 1962: that will be different.
Highway US-1 passes through every one of the original 13 states except Delaware. That’s a lot of territory and during 1962, a lot of new buildings, roads, and other places opened. And we’ll also find some other firsts from that year. Starting near the north end of US-1, at Lubec, Maine, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge opened for traffic in 1962. This is an international bridge, connecting Maine with Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada across the Lubec Narrows. This steel truss bridge is named for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who maintained a summer retreat on Campobello Island, which is now preserved as Roosevelt Campobello International Park. It is the island's only year-round, roadway connection to the mainland, though there are ferry connections to New Brunswick. I drove this route once, taking one of the ferries to the island from within Canada and then driving back home into the United States. This international bridge at the most eastern point in the United States is owned half by the State of Maine and half by Canada.
America was well into building the interstate highway system by 1962, so we can also find a number of freeways that opened that year. Rhode Island opened its portion of I-195, then known as I-95E, in 1962. The freeway ran only from US-1 in Providence, Rhode Island to Bedford, Massachusetts, but now continues farther east. Farther south, Baltimore, Maryland completed two new freeways in 1962. Many pieces of freeway constructed that year were unconnected, but the Baltimore Beltway was the first urban beltway completed in the interstate system. When opened, it was a 6-lane, 36-mile-long freeway bypass of the city, which connected via the Harbor Tunnel Thruway that was opened in 1957, to make a full freeway circle by cutting through Baltimore. It became a 53-mile full circle bypass of the city in 1977 when the eastern portion was completed across the Outer Harbor. This freeway, which bypassed US-1 through Baltimore, was signed as I-695 and took 10 years of construction at a cost of $68 million.
The other freeway completed in Baltimore during 1962 was the Jones Falls Expressway. This project was first conceived in 1943, with preliminary plans for the expressway made in 1951. Ground was finally broken in 1956 and the first section of the Jones Falls Expressway opened in 1961. Because the area along the route was heavily used by industry, and the original planning was so old, ramps were too short and curves were too tight for the more modern interstate highway standards. However, the project was funded and ultimately signed as I-83. Farther south, the William B. Singer Expressway became the third freeway to open in Dade County, Florida. It was signed as I-95 and ran just a few blocks from US-1 through Miami. The Palmetto Bypass, farther west and wrapping around the metropolitan area, also opened in 1962.
The new freeways helped change how people traveled, allowing the growth of the lodging industry beyond the small motels that had been the hallmark of travel for the past several decades. Kemmons Wilson started Holiday Inns in his home city, opening four there by the end of 1953, one on each main highway leading into Memphis. By 1962, Holiday Inns was undergoing major expansions nationwide, opening at the rate of two new motels every week! The company even published a magazine for guests, the Holiday Inn Magazine. One of the new motels was in Attleboro, Massachusetts, at an interchange of I-95 with US-1 ALT, near the border with Rhode Island. It was a 120-unit motel with a restaurant and was open for 30 years before being torn down to make way for a Home Depot and the Bristol Place shopping plaza.
The opening of freeways for fast travel also accelerated the move to the suburbs all over the country. This in turn, created opportunities and changes in daily functions that used the highways, and retail stores took advantages of these opportunities. In 1962, Cumberland Farms opened the very first modern convenience store in the Northeast, just 10 miles from US-1 in Bellingham, Massachusetts. The owners had been in the dairy business for many years and opened their first retail store there in 1960. The convenience store came about when they decided that you could sell a lot more than just dairy products, and added groceries, beverages, health, and cosmetics. By 1972 they began selling gasoline at some of their stores and today there are almost 600 stores in 8 states. Other types of discount stores also popped up, such as the first Dressbarn store, which opened in Stamford, Connecticut, another city on US-1. By 1963, the owner, Roslyn Jaffe, opened a second store. They grew with the suburbs and today there are over 800 Dressbarn clothing stores across the country.
The new highways and suburbs also allowed stores to group together into virtual new downtowns, but with plenty of free parking. The Reisterstown Road Plaza was opened in 1962 in the Baltimore area, part way between the old downtown and the new Baltimore Beltway. There were over 16 stores in the plaza at the time. The grand opening was such a big event that local television station WMAR broadcast its Dialing for Dollars show from the plaza! The station was one of dozens around the country that had a Bozo the Clown show, with a local actor playing the part live between running cartoons. So of course, they brought along their Bozo the Clown for the day. And so that no one in Baltimore could miss the grand opening, radio station WCBM simulcast the event too!
Florida also had its share of new shopping centers opening in 1962, including Dadeland, which was located strategically in a triangle between US-1, Kendall Drive, and the Palmetto Bypass, in the Miami area. Another shopping center opening in 1962 in Florida is the Coral Ridge Shopping Cente in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This shopping center is right on US-1, just a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. Though many centers were just a collection of standard stores, Coral Ridge’s Publix supermarket was something special. They had established a unique “winged” façade as part of their brand a few years earlier, and this store built on that with other architectural features that turned it into a piece of art. Some of the most striking features were the beautiful, intricate mosaic murals at the entrance. These were created by San Francisco-based artist John Garth, who was well-known for similar murals in Safeway’s supermarkets on the west coast. His Safeway work tended to show historical themes, but Garth chose a blue-eyed, blonde grocery goddess in a white gown for Publix, surrounded by food-industry workers bringing beef, citrus, lobsters, watermelons and other bounty of the farms. The interior floors were a green-and-white striped terrazzo, with walls of frescoes, air-conditioning, and comfortable Muzak music playing in the background. What a way to shop! The store still exists as an outbuilding of the Coral Ridge Mall, though it has been remodeled.
Besides highways, other modes of transportation also changed in 1962 and could be found along US-1. Some changes were odd or brief, such as Greenwich, Connecticut’s attempt at eliminating police foot patrols by providing officers with Cushman scooters. New York City experimented with the first automated subway cars, from Times Square to Grand Central station. Despite lasting only about two years, the automation provided the basis for automated technology on the BART system in San Francisco when that began operation in 1972. But perhaps the most prominent transportation changes outside of interstate highways were the new airport facilities opened in 1962. Also in New York, Trans World Airlines (TWA) opened their new terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which was then called Idlewild Airport. The distinctive curved architecture was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, who designed many curving structures. The design could be described as Futurism, Googie, or Fantastic architecture. On the inside, the terminal was one of the first with enclosed passenger jetways, closed circuit television, a central public address system, baggage carousels, electronic schedule board, and the clustering of gates away from the main terminal. Both the interior and the exterior were declared a New York City Landmark in 1994 and the building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2005. A new hotel that will use part of the original terminal is under construction and expected to open in 2018.
Washington, DC’s Dulles International Airport also in opened 1962, and its main terminal was also designed by Saarinen. The terminal was recognized in 1966 by the American Institute of Architects for its design concept featuring a suspended ceiling, providing a wide enclosed area without columns. It was originally opened at only half its designed length, and extended to Saarinen’s full design length of 1,240 feet in 1996. The airport is named after John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The first scheduled flight at Dulles was an Eastern Air Lines flight from Newark International Airport in New Jersey on November 19, 1962. The airport was initially considered a white elephant, because it was far out of town and serviced few flights. In 1965, it averaged only 89 airline operations a day while DC’s other airport, National Airport, averaged 600. But this second airport proved necessary, as by 2007 Dulles served 24.7 million passengers.
Many schools also opened in 1962, though generally less architecturally spectacular than these two airports. Dundee Elementary School in Greenwich, Connecticut was opened in 1962, and was one of the first schools designed for “team teaching.” Team teaching was a new concept at the time that attempted to change the traditional model of elementary schools, which had a single teacher for each classroom. Instead, each classroom had several teachers and the students were divided into teaching groups, sometimes based on subject. The classrooms at Dundee were set up such that furniture and storage was placed in central areas instead of spread through the entire room, to make it easier to keep things out of the way when they were not being used. The classrooms were also arranged with moveable walls, so they could be used by variable sized groups: in their largest configuration, they could hold up to 300 children. Other schools that opened in 1962 in communities along US-1 were Hoboken High School in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Ledyard High School in Ledyard, Connecticut. Ledyard’s secretary, Irene Schultz, served at the school since its opening until her retirement in 2015, serving under all six principals of the school!
Other major buildings completed in 1962 include sports arenas and event centers, sometimes combined. The Jacksonville Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts originally opened as the Civic Auditorium in 1962. The center, in Jacksonville, Florida, consists of three venues: a theatre; concert hall and recital hall. It is home to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, which was the featured performance on its opening day. The center was a replacement for the aging Duval County Armory, and has been renovated during 1995-1997. In Baltimore, Maryland, the current Royal Farms Arena opened as the Baltimore Civic Center in 1962, just a short distance from the Inner Harbor and US-1. It was built on the site of "Old Congress Hall", where the Continental Congress met in 1776. From 1962 through the 1976 season, the Baltimore Clippers of the American Hockey League played their home games here. It is said that when the National Hockey League decided to expand in the mid-1960s, they wanted to come to Baltimore rather than Philadelphia. But after inspecting the facilities, they decided that there was not enough seating. The arena also hosted a boxing match between Joey Giardello and Johnny Morris in 1962.
Some sports events do not require new arenas. For example, the New York Mets played their first season in New York City’s Polo Grounds in 1962. Their long-time home at Shea Stadium was not completed until 1964. Golf, of course, has no stadiums, so let’s look at the game itself. Arnold Palmer won the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, another US-1 city, in 1962. And in the Doral Open, played in the Miami suburb of Doral, Florida, Billy Casper won. This was the inaugural event for the Doral Open, and it was played here annually for 45 seasons, from 1962 to 2006. The match had a dramatic ending, with Casper down by four shots with just eight holes to go. He bounced back to beat Pete Bondeson by one stroke. Casper also won it in 1964.
Some other new places to visit in 1962 are hard to categorize. For example, one of the world’s most famous clubs opened that year, the New York City Playboy Lounge and Supper Club. This original Playboy Club operated until 1986 and then closed, but a new version was opened in 2017. You can now have your drinks and dinner served by Bunnies again! It joins just a few remaining Playboy Clubs around the world, mostly in India.
Finally, if you want to stop for a real Philly cheesesteak sandwich in a place that opened in 1962, try Shank’s Original in South Philly, another US-1 city. Shank’s offers cheesesteaks, roast pork sandwiches , meatball sandwiches and more. Their cold sandwiches feature old-school Italian meats and prosciutto and provolone cheeses. Unfortunately for us, the original location closed in 2009 and they moved to Pier 40 on the Delaware River. But that site gives them outdoor picnic tables with a view of the Delaware River, so that compensates. I’m stopping for dinner now and then to the Sheraton for overnight; see you next time on Roadtrip-'62 ™, somewhere else in 1962!
5 South Carolina News Headlines from 1962
Today, Roadtrip-'62 ™ looks at some of the news from South Carolina in 1962. And, we take a little roadtrip to do so. We begin in Charleston, on the Atlantic Ocean. Charleston is served by three US-numbered highways: US-17, US-52, and US-78. During 1962, the centennial of the Civil War was being commemorated around the country, and we could have visited the place where it all began. Fort Sumter is most famous today because Confederate States of America forces fired the first shots of the Civil War upon Federal troops at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Fort Sumter National Monument comprises several sites in Charleston Harbor, including of course the fort. We’ll have more to say about the Civil War when we get to the state capitol at Columbia, South Carolina.
Construction Begins on I-26 North from Charleston
Though the I-26 freeway existed from Columbia to about 20 miles north of Charleston, constructed in pieces beginning in 1957, and construction of that last section began in 1962. As with all urban freeways, it destroyed entire neighborhoods, demolishing homes, businesses like Patterson's TV, open spaces, and more. Even neighborhoods that were not destroyed were frequently divided and ceased to function as a neighborhood unit. The freeway through North Charleston would do all that while it also reduced traffic congestion on the main roads like US-52 and US-78. We would have seen some of that demolition and construction in 1962 in this area: this final section would be completed in 1964. The old roads like King Street are now within a couple blocks of the freeway, and are still two-lane streets through old neighborhoods for much of the way through North Charleston. Farther along, where there would have been farms in 1962, we’ll see malls and other modern suburban building patterns as we head out of town to reach US-176, which will take us on the rest of today’s roadtrip. Even without the freeway though, the trend in farming was already down, as there were fewer farms in South Carolina than in the previous year. There was also a drop in total acreage planted, led by a 30% decrease in feed-grain acreage. Rated by cash value, tobacco and cotton were the top two crops at the time. Partly because of the ready cotton supply, textile production was the major industrial product of the state. We’ll still see plenty of farm country on our way to Columbia, though.
South Carolina Flies the Confederate Flag
From our point of view here in 2017, one of the most interesting things the legislature did in 1962 was to pass a resolution ordering raising the Confederate flag over the South Carolina State House. It had not previously flown there, but was raised in 1961 as part of the official commemoration of the centennial of the beginning of the Civil War. These celebrations kicked off in Charleston, where the fighting had begun 100 years earlier. In March of the next year, the legislature finally passed a resolution to officially fly the flag, but it did not contain any ending date. As a result, it was still flying in 2015, when the current South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley requested that it be removed. She noted, "This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state." The legislature met almost immediately and voted to finally remove the flag. It was removed in July, 2015 and handed to a state archivist during a dignified, 10-minute ceremony. The flag flown in South Carolina was technically the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, not the “national” flag of the Confederate States of America.
It’s worth noting that the government of South Carolina was almost entirely Democrats in 1962, when the flag went up. While Republicans made serious bids for many state legislative seats, they won none of those races in the 1962 election. The best they did was for W. D. Workman, Jr. to garner 42% of the vote for Governor, but the seat still went to his Democratic opponent Donald Russell. By the time the flag was removed, much of the government, including Governor Nikki Haley, was Republican.
Desegregation Comes to South Carolina…Peacefully
Though the city of Columbia desegregated its lunch counters in 1962, South Carolina was the only southern state which still had not admitted Negros to public schools. It faced two lawsuits seeking to change that, with Harvey Gantt’s case against Clemson College being perhaps the most well-known. For background, in 1954 the United States Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Though separate schools for blacks and whites had been common in many states to that time, the finding was that the 14th Amendment prohibited racial segregation in the public schools because separate education facilities are inherently unequal. Many southern states tried to get around this finding, and the 1956 session of the South Carolina General Assembly has been called the "Segregation Session" because so many laws passed were designed to prevent desegregating schools, parks and other public facilities. It was into this environment that Harvey B. Gantt graduated in 1960. He was applied to study architecture at Clemson, the only architecture school in South Carolina. But Clemson did not admit black students in 1960, so Gantt enrolled at Iowa State University. At that time, South Carolina paid the difference in cost between in-state and out-of-state enrollment, as a method of providing separate but equal education.
The following year Gantt applied again to Clemson, was denied admission, and he filed a lawsuit in 1962. In September, the US District Judge for the Western District in South Carolina denied the motion and the decision was appealed. The US Fourth Circuit Court reversed the lower court decision and ordered Gantt admitted to Clemson for the Spring semester of 1963. Governor Ernest "Fritz" Hollings was well aware of the violence that had accompanied the admission of James Meredith to college in Mississippi, which had resulted in President John F. Kennedy sending over 3000 federal troops and did not wish to see that repeated. In his final speech as Governor, Fritz Hollings stated that the day of segregation had passed and called for the integration process to be handled “with dignity.” In the background, the Governor sent his law enforcement people to study the situation in Mississippi and devise a detailed security plan for Clemson. The plan was used by the incoming Governor Donald S. Russell on January 28th, 1963 and no violence accompanied the South Carolina integration. Mr. Gantt graduated from Clemson in 1965.
Nuclear Power Comes to South Carolina
The first nuclear reactor for electricity production in South Carolina began test operation this year, coming online for full production the next year. At a site near Parr, South Carolina, just a few miles east of US-176 and north of Columbia, a consortium of power companies constructed an experimental pressurized tube heavy water nuclear power reactor. The reactor was known as the Parr Nuclear Station or the Carolinas–Virginia Tube Reactor (CVTR). It was the first US heavy water power reactor and was built to test the concept. The reactor operated successfully from 1963 to 1967 and was considered a success, with the general design becoming the prevalent design for pressurized water reactor containments in the United States. The site was demolished in 2009 and returned to greenfield. The much larger Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station was then constructed three miles north in the 1970s. It began operating in 1984 and is still running today.
The area these reactors are in is near Sumter National Forest, which was officially designated in 1936. It’s a nice place to stop on a trip along US-176, as you travel between historic South Carolina sites. Sumter has hiking or riding trails, paddling, fishing, hunting, camping, and more to enjoy. And, you can enjoy the forest year-round because of the mild southern winters. We pass through the Enoree Ranger District, in the piedmont section of the state between the mountains of North Carolina and the coastal plains at the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, the waterfalls in Sumter are in a different ranger district. Like the fort in Charleston, the forest is named for Thomas Sumter, a patriot military leader during the American Revolution. Like so many national forests, the lands that became the Sumter were predominantly eroding old farm fields and gullies or extensively logged forests. Once the lands became part of the Sumter, the process of controlling soil erosion, regulating the flow of streams and the production of timber began. Over time, the land has been slowly restored and has become productive again.
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Opens
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is on the border between the two cities, just south of US-29. Originally called “The Jetport”, it was the first real collaboration between two competitive communities. The idea for a regional airport was first pushed in 1945 by Eastern Airlines President, Eddie Rickenbacker. By 1958, a site straddling the Greenville-Spartanburg County line was acquired and architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of New York were hired to design the airport. In October, 1962, the first private plane landed and a month later The Greenville-Spartanburg Jetport opened to commercial traffic. Officials estimated nearly 100,000 people crowded into the new airport for its official dedication, where they admired its 2,000 landscaped acres and art-lined concourse. Today, more than 1.9 million passengers per year are served by 5 major airlines operating from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. And, up to 3000 packages per hour can be sorted and sent on their way in the FedEx facility completed in 2001.
Well, that’s about enough news for the day. By the way, on our trip through South Carolina Roadtrip-'62 ™ traveled almost the entire distance of highway US-176. The route runs only 238 miles, from US-52 north of North Charleston, South Carolina to Hendersonville, North Carolina. And, it had the same routing in 1962! See you next time for more fun travel and history.
Fun with the Boy Scouts in 1962
I was never a Cub Scout or Boy Scout: I don’t remember why. But quite a few of the guys in my neighborhood were, as the local Catholic School had troops of both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. So, I had chances to read Boys’ Life, the official Boy Scouts’ magazine. I found it both an interesting and fun magazine. Interesting because it contained articles on topics I was trying to learn about anyway, and fun because it contained comics. I recently bought a copy of the October, 1962 issue from an antique shop, so let’s see what it can tell me and all you Roadtrip-'62 ™ readers about the Boy Scouts and our favorite year.
The magazine immediately reminded me of things that interested me when I was around 10 years old: science, stamp collecting, sports, and mapping. And I can see that articles on hiking, camping, guns, model building, and future employment would interest other boys of the time. There were also ads on the same topics, and other ads that would be useful for parents or scout leaders, such as ads for military schools, guns, and how to train boys. And of course, there’s comics!
The issue starts with a cover photo by Ansel Adams, America’s premier outdoor photographer, which is the teaser for an entire article illustrated by his photos inside. Philmont was established in 1938 as Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp. The site, just a few miles off US-64 near Cimarron, New Mexico, is one of four major outdoor bases owned by the Boy Scouts of America. These are Northern Tier, located in Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario; Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico; Sea Base, Florida; and Summit Bechtel Reserve, West Virginia. The Scouts’ attention to low-impact camping techniques has helped maintain the Philmont Scout Ranch's wilderness, which is displayed well in the photos. The article discusses daily life for the Scouts at the ranch, with burro trips into the hills, camping, hiking, target shooting, and fishing, all designed to give the boys a sense of self-reliance and respect for nature. But it’s the photos that I found most interesting. The cover photo is the only one in color, all the rest are in Ansel’s favorite medium, the black-and-white photograph. They fit the format of the magazine perfectly, as most of it is also in black-and-white (magazines had not yet become all color in 1962 due to high cost). My favorite photo of the article is a two-page spread showing the low hills and cloudy sky of New Mexico, where the sky takes up about 2/3 of the photo. It perfectly displays the vastness of the American west and makes me yearn for another roadtrip.
Hobbies are a major topic in the issue, with the ‘Hobby Hows’ column discussing hiking tips, card tricks, and collecting records, toy soldiers, fossils, and even carnivorous plants. Seems like boys will collect anything! A full page ad adjacent to the column highlights the Cam-A-Matic cam steering system for model cars. Hobbies make their appearance throughout the magazine and that was one of the most interesting features for me and other boys reading it. There are plans for an HO scale building for your model train layout, an ad for Aurora’s plastic monster models and Pyro’s plastic ship models, metal-crafting tips, and a full page of stamp collecting information and ads. I instantly recognized the Big Bag of Foreign Stamps for $1 from H.E. Harris, that I bought one of around 1962!
Some informative articles are included, such as one about chimpanzees, one describing exercises you can do to build muscle tone, and a couple on working with compass and maps for hiking. An article about the value of space exploration proposes a space-based missile interception system which sounds very much like the so-called “Star Wars” system proposed by President Reagan in the 1980s. The article also notes that much of the research needed to create the systems for space travel will bring benefits to things we do on earth. For example, Corning Glass Company uses a ceramic material developed for space capsule nose-cones as a new type of ovenware. And methods for creating solid state circuits will allow miniaturization of electronic components for computers, allowing room-sized computers to one day sit on your desk. Looks like they got that one right!
Not everything can be fact-based or real life though: there are three fiction articles in this issue. One is a sports story about the school science nerd going out for the football team. Another is an adventure story of an escape from a moose herd in Montana. There’s even a short story that includes Daniel Boone. The issue also includes a letters page with readers’ letters, a discussion on the upcoming 1963 Boy Scout World Jamboree to be held in Greece, and an article about a road rally that a troop of Explorers held in Delaware, criss-crossing the area around US-202 that I discussed a couple of weeks ago. Many people forget that the Boy Scouts include a bracket for high school boys, the Explorers. But in August, 1962, the first National Explorer Delegate Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan was attended by over 3,000 high school boys, representing over 286,000 members nationwide.
Go back a minute, you say: Boy Scouts in Greece? Actually yes, the Boy Scouts are a worldwide organization. The Boy Scouts originated in Great Britain in 1908, when Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant general in the British Army, wrote his book “Scouting for Boys” and held an encampment to test ideas for the book. The next year, American businessman W. D. Boyce was visiting London, where he was helped by a Scout and decided to learn more about the organization. After he met with staff, he founded the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in the United States in 1910. Many other countries also have or had Boy Scout organizations, including Greece as noted above, and Afghanistan and Portugal as seen on postage stamps. Times of war and political upheaval can be rough on Scouting organizations, as is seen in the history of the Myanmar Scouts Association. Myanmar was previously known as Burma, and scouting there began in 1922. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in Burma merged in 1962 to form the Union of Burma Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Just two years later, General Ne Win led a military coup d'état and the new government dissolved the scouting organization. The assets of the Union of Burma Boy Scouts and Girl Guides were turned over to the Ministry of Education, which then formed its own socialist youth organization within the Burma Socialist Programme Party. Since recent reforms in Myanmar, though, a new scouting organization was formed in 2012 and is now a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
Besides the articles, the ads in the issue are also interesting. There are plenty of ads for official Boy Scout merchandise: clothing, accessories, shoes, and medals. The U.S. Air Force has a recruiting ad. General Motors, Bell Telephone, Eastman Kodak, and Chrysler all have full-page ads designed to interest graduating Scouts in applying for work at the companies. There are ads for guns, and not just B-B guns, ads for sports equipment, hiking equipment, acne medicine, dozens of small ads for hobby supplies and novelties, and even a color cartoon ad for US Savings Bonds featuring Rocky and Bullwinkle! One group of ads is strictly targeted to parents, the half-page of ads for military academies. There are even a couple of contests to enter, including the Boys’ Life Switzerland Contest, where you can write an essay and maybe win a trip to Switzerland. Abraham Ribicoff, the US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare issued a big challenge to the Boy Scouts in 1962 and advertisers responded. Picking up President Kennedy’s interest in promoting physical fitness, Ribicoff launched the “Fit for Tomorrow” program. Hickok Manufacturing, a maker of belts, jewelry, gifts, and accessories for men and boys, mentioned the President’s call to fitness in their ad in this issue and that the company was sponsoring professional sports figures as speakers who may come to your city. I’m figuring that many ads in Boys’ Life were effective because there are several clipped out of this copy and apparently mailed in for merchandise.
Finally, there is just fun stuff, like a jokes page and a color comics section. (I did mention comics, didn’t I?) The first comic page features Pee Wee Harris, a Boy Scout who, with his friend Westy, gets into improbable trouble each issue. He began as a series of novels in the 1910s and 1920s by Percy Keese Fitzhugh, and his name was originally spelled Pee-wee. In Boys’ Life cartoons, he was written and drawn by Bill Williams from 1952 to 1963. There is also a True Story of Scouts in Action, which highlights the brave or kind acts of a Scout each issue. In this issue, Assistant Scoutmaster Nelson LaPlante saves a couple of children in a runaway car and is awarded the Certificate of Merit. Then, there is the Tracy Twins by Dik Browne, who is more widely known for his Hi and Lois and Hägar the Horrible newspaper strips. Browne won the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Hi and Lois in 1962. One more humor strip in each issue is Rocky Stoneaxe, by Mal Eaton. In this strip set in prehistoric times, an elder fills Rocky’s head with tall tales. This strip originally ran under the name Peter Piltdown from 1935 to 1946, but had a name change when it moved to Boys’ Life. A Bible story fills out the color section, this month is the story of Nebuchadnezzar.
The heyday of the Boy Scouts seems to be past, as membership has fallen since about 1970. I imagine the main cause is the aging of the Baby Boom generation and lack of enough boys to join. Cleveland, Ohio notes that their troops peaked at 35,340 in 1965 despite new programs for disabled and inner-city boys that came after that. In recent years, controversy about homosexual troop leaders has hit the news, and may have hit membership. The Mormon church, the largest sponsor of Boy Scouts troops in the United States, recently announced that it is pulling older teenagers out of the organization, as the religion takes a step toward developing its own global scouting-like program. That move alone will take an estimated 130,000-180,000 teenagers ages 14-18 out of the Boy Scouts of America. But it’s been fun to visit the Boy Scouts in 1962! Come back another time and Roadtrip-'62 ™ may take a look at the Girl Scouts or Campfire Girls.
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