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Fascinating Vintage Photos of America in the 1950s Show How Different Life Was Before

The 1950s in U.S. history is known as the era of rapid development and prosperity, despite the fear of cold war and looming nuclear threat. World War II destroyed the factories and industries of rivals and allies, which benefited the American manufacturers. Jobs were mainly industrial and agricultural, one third of the workforce belonged to labor unions. Television was becoming more and more a part of everyday life; music was expanding and teenagers were experiencing more independence and freedom than what their parents had as teenagers.

Most of the photographs from the 50s are in black and white, color photography was still a relative novelty and the films were quite expensive for average people. The photos below are in vibrant color and they will take you back to 1950s America. These photographs were captured by Leon Reed’s father Walter Reed, during his trip.

#1 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, D.C., May 1956

Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, D.C., May 1956

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#2 Crowd lined up for White House tour, Washington, D.C., May 1956

Crowd lined up for White House tour, Washington, D.C., May 1956

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#3 Library of Congress and Capitol parking lot from East Front of US Capitol, Washington, D.C. May 1956

Library of Congress and Capitol parking lot from East Front of US Capitol, Washington, D.C. May 1956

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#4 White House,Washington, D.C. May 1956

White House,Washington, D.C. May 1956

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#5 Playing in the snow at Powder River Pass, Wyoming. June 1956

Playing in the snow at Powder River Pass, Wyoming. June 1956

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#6 At Bok Tower, Florida. May 1952

At Bok Tower, Florida. May 1952

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#7 On the beach, Florida. May 1956

On the beach, Florida. May 1956

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#8 In front of Howard Johnson’s at Ft. Wayne, Indiana. May 1951

In front of Howard Johnson's at Ft. Wayne, Indiana. May 1951

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#9 Beach at Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky. April 1954

Beach at Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky. April 1954

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#10 Beach at Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky. April 1954

Beach at Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky. April 1954

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#11 Jumping rope, trailer park in Lexington, Kentucky. April 1954

Jumping rope, trailer park in Lexington, Kentucky. April 1954

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#12 Faneuil Hall Market, Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

Faneuil Hall Market, Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

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#13 Faneuil Hall Market, Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

Faneuil Hall Market, Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

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#14 Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

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#15 Meat and produce shops in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

Meat and produce shops in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. June 1957

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#16 Street scene in Provincetown, Massachusetts. June 1957

Street scene in Provincetown, Massachusetts. June 1957

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#17 Christmas exhibit at Ford Rotunda, Michigan. June 1955

Christmas exhibit at Ford Rotunda, Michigan. June 1955

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#18 Family at campground, Hayes State Park, Michigan. June 1954

Family at campground, Hayes State Park, Michigan. June 1954

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#19 Flooded street, Iron Mountain, Michigan. November 1951

Flooded street, Iron Mountain, Michigan. November 1951

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#20 Ford Rotunda, Dearborn, Michigan. December 1955

Ford Rotunda, Dearborn, Michigan. December 1955

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#21 Kellogg’s parking lot, Battle Creek, Michigan. May 1955

Kellogg's parking lot, Battle Creek, Michigan. May 1955

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#22 Lineup of horses and carriages, Mackinac Island, Michigan. May 1959

Lineup of horses and carriages, Mackinac Island, Michigan. May 1959

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#23 Mackinac Island ferry, St. Ignace, Michigan. May 1951

Mackinac Island ferry, St. Ignace, Michigan. May 1951

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#24 Ship in locks, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. June 1959

Ship in locks, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. June 1959

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#25 Store and wooden Indian, Greenfield Village, Michigan. June 1955

Store and wooden Indian, Greenfield Village, Michigan. June 1955

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#26 Walking toward tour area, Kellogg Cereal, Battle Creek, Michigan. June 1955

Walking toward tour area, Kellogg Cereal, Battle Creek, Michigan. June 1955

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#27 Warren Dunes, Michigan. June 1954

Warren Dunes, Michigan. June 1954

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#28 Railway up Mount Washington, New Hampshire. July 1957

Railway up Mount Washington, New Hampshire. July 1957

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#29 Atlantic City beach and waterfront, New Jersey. July 1959

Atlantic City beach and waterfront, New Jersey. July 1959

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#30 Atlantic City boardwalk and beach, New Jersey. July 1959

Atlantic City boardwalk and beach, New Jersey. July 1959

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#31 Family at beach, New Jersey. July 1955

Family at beach, New Jersey. July 1955

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#32 Looking at beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey. July 1959

Looking at beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey. July 1959

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#33 Boat ride on Fish Creek Pond, New York. November 1955

Boat ride on Fish Creek Pond, New York. November 1955

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#34 Campsite along St. Lawrence River, Alexandria, New York. July 1959

Campsite along St. Lawrence River, Alexandria, New York. July 1959

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#35 Circle Line boat, lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridge, from Staten Island Ferry, New York. March 1959

Circle Line boat, lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridge, from Staten Island Ferry, New York. March 1959

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#36 Corning Glass Center, New York. March 1955

Corning Glass Center, New York. March 1955

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#37 Empire State Building from the top of Rockefeller Center, New York. November 1959

Empire State Building from the top of Rockefeller Center, New York. November 1959

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#38 Frontiertown in the rain, New York. August 1955

Frontiertown in the rain, New York. August 1955

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#39 Mom looks off overlook at Rock City, New York. November 1951

Mom looks off overlook at Rock City, New York. November 1951

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#40 New York Coliseum and Soviet Cultural Exhibit, New York. November 1959

New York Coliseum and Soviet Cultural Exhibit, New York. November 1959

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#41 On a toboggan at Lake Placid, New York. November 1955

On a toboggan at Lake Placid, New York. November 1955

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#42 Pile of firewood, Adirondacks, New York. November 1955

Pile of firewood, Adirondacks, New York. November 1955

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#43 Stagecoach, Frontiertown, New York. November 1955

Stagecoach, Frontiertown, New York. November 1955

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#44 Standing on the top of the RCA Building, Rockefeller Center, New York. November 1959

Standing on the top of the RCA Building, Rockefeller Center, New York. November 1959

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#45 Times Square, well before the cleanup, New York. November 1959

Times Square, well before the cleanup, New York. November 1959

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#46 Times Square, well before the cleanup, New York. November 1959

Times Square, well before the cleanup, New York. November 1959

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#47 Airstream factory, Jackson Center, Ohio. December 1959

Airstream factory, Jackson Center, Ohio. December 1959

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#48 Central Christian strawberry festival, Ohio. 1955

Central Christian strawberry festival, Ohio. 1955

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#49 Helping dad mow the lawn, Ohio. May 1951

Helping dad mow the lawn, Ohio. May 1951

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#50 Hiking in the snow at Bullhead Pond, Warren, Ohio. December 1959

Hiking in the snow at Bullhead Pond, Warren, Ohio. December 1959

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#51 Kindergarten class at Emerson school, Ohio. December 1954

Kindergarten class at Emerson school, Ohio. December 1954

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#52 Playing in the snow in the driveway, Ohio. December 1951

Playing in the snow in the driveway, Ohio. December 1951

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#53 Playing on the beach at Cedar Point, Ohio. December 1954

Playing on the beach at Cedar Point, Ohio. December 1954

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#54 Posing in front of the house, Ohio. December 1959

Posing in front of the house, Ohio. December 1959

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#55 Amish harvest, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. July 1957

Amish harvest, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. July 1957

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#56 Carnegie Museum and church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. March 1959

Carnegie Museum and church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. March 1959

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#57 Cathedral of the Pines, Cook Forest, Pennsylvania. July 1959

Cathedral of the Pines, Cook Forest, Pennsylvania. July 1959

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#58 Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. July 1959

Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. July 1959

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#59 Pennsylvania Monument, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. July 1957

Pennsylvania Monument, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. July 1957

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#60 At Carnegie Park, Pennsylvania. May 1952

At Carnegie Park, Pennsylvania. May 1952

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#61 Statue of Ben Franklin and Mall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. May 1959

Statue of Ben Franklin and Mall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. May 1959

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#62 Trail at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania. May 1955

Trail at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania. May 1955

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#63 Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota. June 1956

Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota. June 1956

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#64 First boardwalk of the trip, Yankton, South Dakota. June 1956

First boardwalk of the trip, Yankton, South Dakota. June 1956

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#65 Main street, Brigham, Utah. July 1956

Main street, Brigham, Utah. July 1956

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#66 Parking lot and roller coaster at Saltair Park, Utah. July 1956

Parking lot and roller coaster at Saltair Park, Utah. July 1956

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#67 Swimming in the Great Salt Lake at Saltair resort, Utah. July 1956

Swimming in the Great Salt Lake at Saltair resort, Utah. July 1956

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#68 Campsite with Esso station at Mount Bromley, Vermont. August 1955

Campsite with Esso station at Mount Bromley, Vermont. August 1955

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#69 Street scene with church, Middlebury, Vermont. August 1955

Street scene with church, Middlebury, Vermont. August 1955

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#70 Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. July 1957

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. July 1957

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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