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)
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.
Things to See in Boston, Massachusetts in 1962
As with most major metropolitan cities in the country, Boston, Massachusetts can be reached by several US-numbered routes. The first route, US-1, passes through on its trip down the entire east coast. The longest highway, US-20, begins here and heads west across the continent. Of course, it was not the longest back in 1962. That title was reserved for highway US-6, until it was shortened by the state of California in 1964. Rounding things out is US-3, which has a much shorter journey through only New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Today, Roadtrip-'62 ™ is wandering around Boston to see tourist attractions that have been there since at least 1962. Though I will mention quite a few places, there is no way you could do them justice in a single day. I suggest at least three days in Boston, which is what I spent the last time I stayed here.
Many of these attractions are related to the American Revolution, as Boston was an important center of revolutionary activity. In the years before the Revolution, Great Britain had passed several taxes that the American colonists opposed. One of the most famous acts of opposition was the Boston Tea Party, and you can still visit the Old South Meeting House, where the Tea Party was planned and launched in 1773. The building was a church at that time, and the largest building in Boston. Estimates are that five thousand colonists gathered there for the protest. The British occupied the Meeting House in 1775 due to its association with the Revolutionary cause, gutting the building. They then filled it with dirt and used it to practice horse riding. They also destroyed much of the interior and stole various items of historical value. It was damaged in the Great Boston Fire of 1872 and the congregation moved out a few years later to a new church. The building was saved from demolition by a determined group of local women and has been a museum and meeting place since 1877. It was one of the nation's earliest museums of American history.
Another historic site from the American Revolution is the Paul Revere House. The home was built about 1680 and is downtown Boston’s oldest building. It is also one of the few remaining 17th-century dwellings in any large urban area in the United States. Paul Revere purchased the home in 1770, just prior to the war, and he lived here when he took his famous midnight ride. He sold it in 1800, and since the site was downtown, it was used as various shops over the years. Revere’s great grandson purchased the house to prevent demolition in 1902 and worked with architect and historic preservationist Joseph Chandler to renovate it, removing several later additions. It was returned to its historic state and has been open as a museum since 1908.
Another site associated with Paul Revere’s midnight ride is the Old North Church. Built in 1723 as Christ Church in the City of Boston, it is Boston’s oldest surviving church building. It is also the city’s most visited historical site and is still an operating church. Its part in the Revolution occurred on April 18, 1775, when a church sexton and vestryman held two lanterns in the steeple, giving a signal that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea across the Charles River and not by land. The lanterns were hung for just under a minute to minimize the chance that British troops occupying Boston would see them, but it was long enough for the message to be received by local militia awaiting the signal. The event is all the more notable because in 1775 the majority of the congregation were loyal to the British King, with many holding official positions in the royal government. The church’s campus also includes other buildings with views of colonial history, such as The Printing Office of Edes & Gill, where you can be part of Boston’s only colonial printing experience with an operating 18th century printing press.
The Old State House, which is the oldest public building in Boston, was built in 1713 and served as a meeting place prior to the Revolutionary War. John Adams observed that, "the child Independence was born” here in 1761, when James Otis argued against the Writs of Assistance, the British Crown policy which permitted warrant-less searches of private homes and businesses. Otis lost the case, but his impassioned speech about the rights of privacy was one of the events that led to the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence was later read to the public for the first time from the building’s balcony. Historical artifacts, like John Hancock’s coat, are on display in the building. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. Twice during its history, the Old State House was rented out to businesses, when not occupied as a public building. But in 1881, when possible demolition loomed, The Bostonian Society was formed to preserve the Old State House. It was renovated in 1881–1882, with replicas of the lion and unicorn statues installed to replace the originals that had been burned in 1776, and has been a museum since.
One easy way to find all the historic sites in Boston is along the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile, route that leads you to 16 sites. The trail was organized and dedicated in 1951, and is a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, and historic markers, and even a ship. These sites tell the story of the American Revolution and more. You can get tours led by 18th-century costumed guides who tell tales of treason, mobs, revolutionary actions, and the partisan fights of the American Revolution. While wandering around Boston, I suggest stopping for lunch at Faneuil Hall. This marketplace was opened in 1742 and was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. It now has over 70 shops and 40 offices, including 14 restaurants and pubs and another 36 international food vendors inside of the Quincy Market Colonnade.
After lunch, there are even more places we could have seen in 1962 that are connected with the American Revolution. The Boston Common was founded in 1634 and is the oldest city park in America. In its early years, it was used for grazing cattle, which, because it was free, led to the disaster of over-grazing. This led to a limit of 70 cows at a time in 1646 and a formal ban on cows in 1830. It was also used as an encampment for eight years by the British just before the American Revolution, from which they left for the Battle of Lexington and Concord. In the 1860s, the park was used for Civil War recruitment and anti-slavery meetings. And during World War I, victory gardens were cultivated. Boston Common has also always served as a place for free speech and there are plaques and memorials throughout the park for various events. Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II both made speeches here. Concerts are often held and you can ice skate in the winter or play in the spray pool of the Frog Pond in the summer.
Another historical park is the Public Garden, adjacent to Boston Common. This was the first botanical garden in America and was created in 1837. The form, plantings, and statuary all show the garden’s Victorian heritage. The seasonal floral displays are the legacy of the garden’s second superintendent, William Doogue, who guided the Public Garden from 1878 until his death in 1906. He practiced a “gardenesque” style of landscaping, using extravagant and ornamental plantings, with flowers and foliage massed together in elaborate patterns. But of all the flowers in the Public Garden, the tulips are perhaps the most historical, going back to its earliest years . The prize tulips that bloomed around 1840 were imported from England and were said to be the first such display in America. Today, the blooming of 26,000 tulips in the spring is one of the most photographed views in Boston. The garden also hosts many sculptures in a variety of styles and the Swan Boats. The Swan Boats began operating in 1877 and are a tourist attraction you can ride around the pond in. They were started and are still run by the Paget family. The 20-minute ride is pedaled by a tour guide and you can watch the real waterfowl on the pond.
Also on the Freedom Trail is the Battleship USS Constitution and the nearby Bunker Hill Monument and Museum. The USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. It was named by President George Washington and is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat. It was launched in 1797 and is one of six original frigates authorized by the United States Congress. It is nicknamed “Old Ironsides” and your visit will be guided by active US Navy sailors who act as historians to inform you about the ship’s past. The Constitution was retired from active service in 1881, and served as a receiving ship until 1907, when it was designated a museum ship. She has continued to sail for special occasions, including in 1934 on a 90-port tour of the country, in 1997 for her 200th birthday, and in 2012. Current museum exhibits include information on construction of The Constitution, A Sailor’s Life in 1812, and restoring the ship.
Bunker Hill Monument is a 221-foot granite obelisk completed until 1842, commemorating the Battle of Bunker Hill of June 17, 1775. The battle was the first major battle of the Revolutionary War. The hill is the site of a temporary earthen fortress known as a redoubt, where Provincial soldiers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire wounded or killed around 1,000 British soldiers, out of some 2,400 who engaged them. The British won the battle but the Provincial soldiers showed they could organize well enough to fight effectively. The cornerstone of the monument was laid in 1825 by Revolutionary War hero Marquis De Lafayette. Located across from the Monument is the Battle of Bunker Hill Museum. The museum is a more recent addition, opened in 2007. It houses dioramas and murals, and artifacts from the battle.
I think it’s finally time to see something in Boston that isn’t related to the Revolutionary War. Let’s look at some museums! The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opened to the public in 1903 and has more than 2500 items in its collection. The collection spans painting, textiles, and furniture. During Mrs. Stewart’s lifetime, the gallery installations were very different than they appear today. She often mixed objects from different cultures and periods among well-known European paintings and sculpture. Isabella Stewart Gardner amassed her collection during extensive travels. She was a patron and friend of leading artists and writers of her time, including John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, and Henry James. The building was designed to emulate a 15th-century Venetian palace, as Venice was her favorite overseas destination.
Another art museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, was opened in 1876 and moved to its current location near the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1909. There are eleven different collections, including art from America, Europe, Asia, and Africa as well as photography, musical instruments, and drawings. American artist John Singer Sargent painted the frescoes that adorn the rotunda and the associated colonnades. Some highlights of the collections include French impressionist and post-impressionist works by Paul Gauguin, Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh; Egyptian artifacts, American art including John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, and Gilbert Stuart; Chinese painting, calligraphy and imperial Chinese art; and the largest museum collection of Japanese works under one roof in the world outside Japan. The museum we see today has been greatly expanded since 1909, with multiple additions, including the latest one in 2010.
Boston’s Museum of Science was founded in 1830 in temporary facilities, and had its first permanent building constructed in 1862 as the New England Museum of Natural History. The current museum opened in 1951 and is now one of the world’s largest science museums. It includes the Charles Hayden Planetarium and even an indoor zoo! Current permanent exhibits include dinosaurs (of course), birds, butterflies, light, mapping, and The Hall of Human Life. There are over 700 interactive exhibits! They also have live demonstrations frequently during the day, including the world's largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator in the Theater of Electricity, donated by MIT in 1956.
If you’re looking for more animals than the Museum of Science’s indoor zoo can hold, you can stop to the Franklin Park Zoo. Franklin Park Zoo was opened to the public in 1912, and managed by the City of Boston until 1958, when the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) took control. Franklin Park was designed by landscape architect and planner Frederick Law Olmsted, who included a future zoological garden. This planned garden was not a traditional zoo and was later changed to include more exotic animals. Many changes and additions have been made over the years, such as the Children's Zoo, which opened in 1962. The zoo now features more than 220 species of animals in a linear walking arrangement on 72 acres. It does not have modern naturalistic settings that some newer zoos have. There’s also a playground, carousel, and a tram ride. And though it might be nice to add the New England Aquarium to a day of animals, it did not exist in 1962. It was in the planning process that year, but did not open until 1969.
I left one place for last along the Freedom Trail because it was not directly involved in the Revolutionary War. But the Massachusetts State House does have connections to war figures. It was completed in 1798, built on what was originally John Hancock’s cow pasture. The golden dome was originally of copper, overlaid by Paul Revere, but has since been gilded. Besides the state legislature meeting here, the building houses the offices of the Governor of Massachusetts. A major expansion was completed in 1895 and in 1917, the east and west wings were added. The second floor under the dome is decorated with murals by artist Edward Brodney, done under sponsorship of the Works Progress Administration in 1936. The mural is entitled "Columbia Knighting Her World War Disabled." The marble-floored corridors are lined with portraits of Massachusetts governors, and there are statues of colonial figures. You can see this and more, as tours are available.
Our last stop of the day will keep us busy until after dark, and provide dinner. We’re going to Fenway Park to see a Boston Red Sox night game. Fenway has been the home of Boston Red Sox baseball since 1912. It is now the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Because of its age and tight location in midtown Boston, the park has been renovated or expanded many times, but it is still the fourth smallest among Major League ballparks by seating capacity. These changes have also given the park some quirky features including "The Triangle" and, most famously, the Green Monster in left field. The Green Monster is the nickname of the left field wall. It is only 310 to 315 feet from home plate, a short distance for Major League ballparks, and has been said to benefit right-handed hitters. Guided, one-hour walking tours of the park are given, but we’re here to eat and watch a game! The Red Sox finished 8th in the American League in 1962, so there were no World Series games here that year. See you later on Roadtrip-'62 ™ and maybe I’ll remember to tell you who won tonight’s game.
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