1950-1959: DAYS OF CONFLICT, YEARS OF PROSPERITY


Timeline of the decade


1950

North Korea invades South Korea. United States intervenes, led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Chinese troops join North Korea in a counteroffensive.

Puerto Rican nationalists try to break into Blair House, the Truman family's home, during a White House renovation. One is killed, the other arrested.

"South Pacific" receives the Tony Award for best musical. Chicagoan Gwendolyn Brooks receives the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

The News Publishing Co. and The Journal-Gazette Co. form joint agency agreement, now known as Fort Wayne Newspapers Inc., to save the financially foundering Journal.

1951

Seoul is abandoned to Chinese and North Korean forces on Jan. 4. U.N. forces regroup and on March 14 recapture Seoul. President Truman relieves MacArthur of his command in April after overruling the general's demand to attack China.

The 22nd Amendment is approved, limiting the president to no more than two terms.

UNIVAC, the first commercial electronic digital computer, is unveiled on June 14.

CBS broadcasts the first color television show, but no one has color TV sets to receive signal.

Two influential cultural icons debut: the TV show "I Love Lucy" and the novel "Catcher in the Rye," by J.D. Salinger.

Operators' days are numbered with the testing of the first transcontinental direct-dial telephone service.

1952

Republicans retake the White House for the first time since 1932 when Dwight D. Eisenhower beats Adlai Stevenson for president, with young Californian Richard Nixon as vice president.

Great Britain's King George VI, ruler since 1936, dies. His daughter, Elizabeth, succeeds him.

The real Rocky -- Rocky Marciano -- knocks out Jersey Joe Walcott to win the heavyweight boxing championship.

Americans meet Ralph and Alice Kramden as "The Honeymooners."

1953

A truce brings the undeclared Korean War to an end.

The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Brown vs. the Board of Education that separate is not equal, ending legalized school segregation.

Joseph Stalin dies, leading to a power struggle in the Soviet Union ultimately won by Nikita S. Khrushchev. The Soviets explode a thermonuclear bomb.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are found guilty of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union and become the first U.S. civilians executed for espionage.

Oxford University American biochemist James D. Watson and English physicist Francis H.C. Crick unlock the structure of DNA, the key to life itself.

Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The next year he receives the Nobel Prize for literature.

Coastal storms batter the Netherlands, breaking a sea dike, flooding much of the nation and killing 1,700.

Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Queen Elizabeth II is crowned.

Indiana University beats the University of Kansas 69-68 to win the NCAA men's basketball championship.

Two Fort Wayne landmarks open: Parkview Memorial Hospital and the Sol A. Wood Home (now Wood Youth Center).

Test pilot Chuck Yeager sets a speed record of more than 1,600 mph in a Bell X-1A rocket plane.

1954

Bill Haley & the Comets, the Crew Cuts, Bo Diddley and Fats Domino introduce rock 'n' roll.

The Viet Ninh defeat French forces after a 55-day siege at Dien Bien Phu. Ho Chi Minh becomes ruler of North Vietnam.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, in his hunt for Communists in government, is condemned by the Senate for his actions, ending his career.

Puerto Rican nationalists open fire on the floor of the House of Representatives, wounding five congressmen; all survive.

The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb.

Longtime Fort Wayne Mayor Harry Baals dies in office.

Azar's opens its first Big Boy restaurant in Fort Wayne.

"The Tonight Show," hosted by Steve Allen, debuts.

Tiny Milan High School beats Muncie Central in the state basketball finals.

1955
Pins over Pistons
Pins over Pistons
Fort Wayne turned away an NBA championship series when a national bowling tournament filled the coliseum. The Pistons played their home games in Indianapolis, and the Syracuse Nationals won the series.


Rosa Parks refuses to move from her seat in the front of a Montgomery, Ala., bus. Her arrest sparks a boycott of the city bus system, led by a young minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Metropolitan Opera finally welcomes Marian Anderson as the first black member of the permanent company.

U.S. aid begins to South Vietnam.

Scientist Albert Einstein dies.

West Germany is recognized as a nation, ending postwar occupation.

Fort Wayne turns away an NBA championship series when a national bowling tournament fills the coliseum. The Pistons play their home games in Indianapolis, and the Syracuse Nationals win the series.

The inaugural Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament is won by Beverly Hanson at Orchard Ridge Country Club.

James Dean is killed in a crash of his Porsche Spyder. The next month, "Rebel Without a Cause," opens and Dean becomes a legend.

Ray Kroc opens the first McDonald's in Des Plaines, Ill.; Disneyland opens in Anaheim, Calif.

1956

Polio vaccine goes on the open market.

President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal, previously owned by a corporation dominated by Great Britain and France. Nasser becomes a hero to Arabs for standing up to the West.

Don Larsen pitches only perfect game in World Series history. Yankees beat Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0 and win series.

Eisenhower becomes the first Republican re-elected since William McKinley in 1900.

U.S. Supreme Court declares segregation on the Montgomery, Ala., bus system unconstitutional. Boycott ends.

American film star Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Albert Woolson, last surviving Union soldier from Civil War, dies at 102.

Khrushchev denounces Stalin in a secret speech before the Communist party congress.

Elvis Presley appears on "The Ed Sullivan Show" from the waist up.

"My Fair Lady" opens on Broadway.

Fort Wayne Fine Arts Foundation (now Arts United) and Fort Wayne Ballet form.

Lutheran Hospital completes new building.

Dime Bank sold and reorganized as Indiana Bank, the predecessor of current Bank One operations.

Floyd Patterson knocks out Archie Moore to become at age 21 youngest heavyweight boxing champion.

1957

Soviet Union launches first Earth-orbiting satellite -- Sputnik.

Sen. McCarthy dies.

Hurricane Audrey and resulting tidal waves kill 531 in Louisiana and Texas.

Maj. John Glenn Jr. sets transcontinental air speed record -- 3 hours 23 minutes 8.4 seconds.

Sen. Strom Thurmond, D-S.C. (now a Republican) sets filibuster record in U.S. Senate, arguing for 24 hours, 26 minutes against civil rights legislation.

1,000 Army paratroopers sent to Little Rock, Ark., to enforce enrollment of nine black students at Central High School.

Mackinac Straits Bridge, world's longest suspension bridge, opens.

AFL-CIO expels Teamsters Union after the Teamsters refuse to oust International Vice President James R. Hoffa.

Gold Coast becomes independent nation of Ghana, marking beginning of end of colonial rule in Africa.

West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg form the European Economic Community, or Common Market.

W. Kettler and Walter Helmke present proposal to the boards of Purdue University and Indiana University to establish a joint campus in Fort Wayne.

Indiana Institute of Technology moves to former Concordia College campus on East Washington Boulevard, and Concordia moves to North Clinton Street campus with buildings designed by Eero Saarinen.

Actor Humphrey Bogart dies.

"Around the World in 80 Days" is Best Picture and Yul Brynner in "The King and I" Best Actor at the Oscars.

"West Side Story," with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, opens on Broadway on Sept. 26. The next month Bernstein is appointed principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic.

New York loses its two National League baseball teams as the Dodgers move to Los Angeles and the Giants to San Francisco, becoming first West Coast teams.

Althea Gibson becomes the first black player to win the U.S. Tennis Association title.

1958

First U.S. satellite, Explorer I, launched.

Charles de Gaulle establishes the Fifth Republic in France.

Fort Wayne Newspapers, The News-Sentinel and Journal-Gazette move to new building at 600 W. Main St.

120 acres on Coliseum Boulevard bought for IPFW campus.

Sugar Ray Robinson regains middleweight boxing championship for fifth time.

1959

Fulgencio Batista resigns as president of Cuba and leaves the country, bringing Fidel Castro to power.

Alaska becomes 49th state.

Hawaii statehood bill signed March 18. Days later, Hawaii is admitted as 50th state.

Unitarian and Universalist churches merge. Evangelical Lutherans and United Evangelical Lutherans join to form the American Lutheran Church.

United Steelworkers strike 28 companies, almost halting steel production. Workers are ordered back to work after U.S. Supreme Court upholds Taft-Hartley Act.

Nixon visits Moscow July 23 for "kitchen debate" with Khrushchev. Khrushchev visits United States two months later.

Consumers warned against buying cranberries raised in Washington and Oregon because of contamination by weed killer linked to cancer.

Walter Williams, last Civil War veteran, dies in Houston on Dec. 19 at age 117.

"Raisin in the Sun," starring Sidney Poitier and Claudia McNeil, opens on Broadway.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright dies.

"Lady Chatterley's Lover," by D.H. Lawrence, is banned from the U.S. mail as pornographic; federal judge declares ban unconstitutional.

Frank Sinatra wins Grammy awards for Best Album, "Come Fly with Me," and Best Male Vocalist, and Ella Fitzgerald wins for Best Female Vocalist. Best Group is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

American Football League organizes.

Ingemar Johansson of Sweden defeats Patterson for world heavyweight boxing championship.

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