BABY BOOMER TIMELINE

Demographers assign the "Baby Boom" to the years 1946 to 1964. Some events in Oregon, the United States and the World during that time:

1946

  • Tupperware introduced.
  • Portland State University (PSU) founded.
  • Winston Churchill calls Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe an "Iron Curtain."
  • First programmable computer created at University of Pennsylvania.
  • Oregon's Rural School Law encourages consolidation of districts.
  • Philippines granted independence by United States.  
1947
  • Oregon Gov. Eugene Snell, Senate president and secretary of state among killed in plane crash in Lake County.
  • Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers becomes the first black player in Major League Baseball
  • Col. Chuck Yeager pilots Bell X-1 plane beyond the sound barrier at Muroc AFB in California.
  • Polaroid camera introduced.
  • Britain approves India and Pakistan independence in major move to dismantle colonial empire. 
1948
  • President Harry S. Truman narrowly wins election.
  • Berlin Airlift starts to get around Soviets cutting off land access to German capital.
  • Israel created as Jewish state.
  • Gandhi assassinated.
  • Columbia River Flood destroys Vanport, major Oregon population center for Blacks.
  • Daytona Beach hosts first NASCAR racing event..
  • Tektronix founded.
  • Velcro created.
  • Long-Playing (LP) record introduced. 
1949
  • Mao Zedong establishes People's Republic of China.
  • Oregon Supreme Court invalidates Alien Land acts used to seize property of Asian residents.
  • NATO established for joint defense of U.S. and Western Europe
  • 45 RPM record is introduced.
  • Dorothy McCullough Lee if first woman elected Portland mayor.
  • State Department of Forestry begins replanting Tillamook Burn
  • Fair Labor Practices Commission established.
  • Volkswagen Beetle introduced in U.S. 
1950
  • Korean War begins.
  • "Peanuts" cartoon strip debuts.
  • Sen. Joseph McCarthy begins anti-communist campaign.
  • Diner's Club issues first credit card. 
1951
  • First coast-to-coast television broadcast. "I Love Lucy" debuts
  • President Truman fires Douglas MacArthur as commander of troops in Korea.
  • Cleveland radio disc jockey Alan Freed coins term "rock n' roll" music.
  • Oregon law prohibiting interracial marriages repealed. 
1952
  • Former Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower elected president. First GOP win since 1928.
  • US detonates first hydrogen bomb.
  • Oregon Constitution amended to provide for equal representation in state legislature.
  • Elizabeth II becomes Queen of England.
  • First issue of "Mad" magazine published. 
1953
  • Jonas Salk develops the first polio vaccine.
  • Oregon Public Accommodations Law prohibits racial discrimination by businesses.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenburg executed as spies.
  • "Double Helix" model of DNA first described.
  • Korean War armistice ends combat
  • Texas Instruments creates transistor radio.
  • NY Yankees win last of five consecutive World Series.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first to climb Mt. Everest, world's tallest mountain.
  • The first James Bond novel, "Casino Royale," is published by British author Ian Fleming.

1954

  • U.S. Supreme Court upholds Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, abolishing segregated schools in U.S.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average passes 382 points for first time since 1929 Stock Market crash that set off the Great Depression.
  • Swanson frozen "TV dinners" go on sale.
  • France pulls out of Indochina after defeat by North Vietnamese. US increases activity.
  • Senate censures McCarthy over hearings on the Army — end of the "McCarthy era."
  • U.S. detonates a 15-megaton Hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll — it is 1,000 times more powerful than bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
  • Congress terminates Western Oregon Indian tribes.
  • Democrats win both house of Congress in mid-term elections. Remain Senate majority until 1981 and House majority until 1994.
  • Roger Bannister of Britain runs first under-four minute mile at Oxford.
1955
  • Rosa Parks refuses to move from white section on Montgomery bus. Emmett Till murdered.
  • Disneyland opens in Southern California.
  • Soviet Union creates Warsaw Pact alliance with eastern European communist governments.
  • First of chain of McDonald's restaurants opens
  • "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets first rock and roll song to top Billboard chart.
  • Congress adds "In God We Trust" on currency.  
1956
  • Congress authorizes Interstate system: 41,000 miles to be built in 20 years.
  • Congress terminates Klamath Indian Tribe.
  • Elvis Presley has first charting song, "Heartbreak Hotel."
  • CBS broadcasts first NFL football games.
  • First nuclear power station developed in Britain.
  • Video Tape developed to replace film. 
1957
  • Peak of baby boom, with families having average of 3.7 children.
  • Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1 satellite, igniting "Space Race" with U.S.
  • Oregon Fair Housing Act passes.
  • European Economic Community, forerunner of EU, is created by six countries — but does not include Britain. 
1958
  • Mt. Bachelor, Oregon's largest ski area, opens near Bend.
  • NASA created.
  • Hula-Hoop created.
  • New York transplants, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants bring baseball to West Coast.
  • Micro-chip developed.
  • Bobby Fischer, 14, wins U.S. Chess Championship 
1959
  • Alaska and Hawaii become 49th and 50th states.
  • Oregon ratifies 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 89 years after it is adopted by Congress.
  • Cuban Revolution brings Fidel Castro to power in communist regime. 
1960
  • John F. Kennedy elected president
  • Enovid, the first FDA approved mass market oral contraceptive becomes available.
  • Soviet Union shoots down U.S. U-2 spy plane.
  • US sends 2,500 troops to Vietnam.
  • US runner Wilma Rudolph wins three gold medals at Rome Olympics.
  • First female U.S. Senator from Oregon, Maurine Neuberger, elected.
  • Aluminum cans introduced.
  • First heart pacemaker.
  • "The Twist" sung by Chubby Checker starts dance craze. 
1961
  • U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba fails
  • Yuri Gaugarin of USSR is first man in space — Alan Shepard of U.S. later first American.
  • Soviets and Easter Germany begin building Berlin Wall.
  • Eisenhower warns of growing danger of  "military-industrial complex" in farewell speech.
  • Pampers disposable diapers go on sale. 
1962
  • Cuban missile crisis almost leads to nuclear war with Soviets.
  • Columbus Day "Big Blow" cyclone kills 50 and causes $5 billion damage on northwest coast.
  • OSU Beavers QB Terry Baker (QB) state’s first Heisman Trophy winner.
  • Wilt Chamberlain of NBA's Philadelphia Warriors scores record 100 points.
  • Space Needle opens for World Fair in Seattle.
  • Golf Jack Nicklaus beats Arnold Palmer in US Open playoff for his first PGA victory.
  • First Wal-Mart opens in Arkansas. 
1963
  • Kennedy assassinated in Dallas. Assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, murdered soon after capture.
  • March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan fuels women's movement.
  • Postal Service institutes zip codes.
  • Cassette tape developed in the Netherlands. 
1964
  • Lyndon Johnson wins landslide in presidential race.
  • Surgeon General reports smoking may cause lung cancer.
  • Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan Show.
  • Death penalty abolished in Oregon.
  • Civil Rights Act outlaws segregation in public places, ensured voting rights
  • Last year that more than four million births in U.S., ending "Baby Boom."
 
 
-- Compiled by Gary A. Warner, Oregon Capital Bureau
 
Sources: Library of Congress, Oregon Blue Book, National Museum of American History, US Census, Oregon Secretary of State, New York Times.

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