USA Government

June 18, 1957 – Los Angeles County’s City of Industry is Incorporated

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San Gabriel Valley’s City of Industry

On June 18, 1957, the founding fathers of the City of Industry in Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Valley received ratification of election results creating the municipality.  Residential development was spreading rapidly in the valley, and local citizens, many of them farmers, wanted to reserve space for industrial expansion as well.  Increased jobs and property values motivated the owners of the largely rural five-square-mile strip between two railroad lines to incorporate.  As of 1957, the residents of the area numbered a little over 600 and the land was valued at about 2 million dollars.  Within five years after designating the town 100% zoned for restricted heavy manufacturing, the number of industrial firms quadrupled, the number of jobs almost tripled, the payroll almost tripled, and, through annexations, the city doubled in size.

City of Industry 1957

City of Industry’ original City Hall building from 1957

Currently, the City of Industry (aka Industry) has approximately 440 residents on almost 12 square miles of land zoned 92% Industrial and 8% Commercial.  A portion of Industry is now designated a Foreign Trade Zone, an customs-free area within the United States that provides advantages for businesses with international trade.  According to the its website, the City of Industry “with only 3.1 percent of the total land area in the San Gabriel Valley, is the economic engine of the San Gabriel Valley. . . generating employment for over 67,000 people and total sales of over $31 billion dollars.”

Image Credit: City of Industry website

June 17, 1957 – The Tuskegee Boycott Begins

 

On June 17, 1957, African-American residents of the city of Tuskegee resolved to stop patronizing white-owned businesses in what came to be called the Tuskegee Boycott.  The population of highly segregated Tuskegee, Alabama, home of the famous Tuskegee Institute (founded to educate newly freed slaves) and the Tuskegee Airmen (the first squadron of African-American pilots in the military), was about 6700 at the time, approximately 70%, or 4800, were African-American.  The white governing minority, afraid that voter registration of the African-American population might catch up and surpass the white voters (in spite of the intentional slowdown of voter registration reviews by the all-white Board of Registrars), decided it was time to redraw the city boundaries.  State Sen. Sam Engelhardt, Jr. proposed legislation to reduce the geographic size of Tuskegee, eliminating the current northwest quadrant where Tuskegee Institute, and the mostly African-American community surrounding it, were located.  The legislature passed the gerrymandering bill and sent it to Governor James Folsom for approval.

Tuskegee GerrymanderThe response of the African-American community was to vote with their dollars, if they were going to be denied the right to vote by ballot.  In a rally at the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Tuskegee Institute’s Prof. Charles Gomillion proposed,

“We will buy goods and services only from those who will recognize us as first-class citizens.  They may hate our guts, but they will respect us.  We can hold out longer than they.  We can form our own businesses if necessary.  We will continue as long as we have to.”

A week into the boycott, white merchants were not yet “openly alarmed” but their businesses were hurting “more than they will admit”.  Prof. Gomillion summed up the sentiment of the African-American community in this way:

“They are hurt to think this could happen.  They are resentful and disgusted. In the past two years, only four colored persons have been examined by the Board of Registrars which grants voting certificates.  For years the board has followed the practice of meeting to register white voters, then disband when colored persons try to appear before it.”

Image Credit: U.S. Supreme Court

June 14, 1957 – Happy 11th Birthday, Donald Trump!

Donald Trump at Paul Onish Bar Mitzvah Age 12

Donald Trump, age 12 (second from left), attending a friend’s bar mitzvah.

On June 14, 1957, Donald John Trump of Queens, New York celebrated his eleventh birthday with his parents, Fred and Mary Anne, and his brothers and sisters, Maryanne, Fred Jr., Elizabeth, and Robert. Donald was a bright but somewhat troublesome student at Kew-Forest School in Jamaica, Queens. Little did he know it, but he was only two years away from shipping off to New York Military Academy, a private boarding school.

In his 1987 memoir co-written with Tony Schwartz , The Art of the Deal, Donald recounts one incident that contributed to his “troublesome” reputation. In second grade, he recalls, “I actually gave a teacher a black eye – I punched my music teacher because I didn’t think he knew anything about music and I almost got expelled. I’m not proud of that, but it’s clear evidence that even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a very forceful way. The difference now is that I use my brain instead of my fists.”

Trumps’ military academy experience proved of great value. Academy teachers wouldn’t tolerate disrespect. Donald learned, as he expressed in his memoir, to channel his “aggression into achievement.”

Becoming our nation’s 45th president is quite an achievement.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Image Credit: Chuck Hadad/CNN

June 7, 1957 – Ronald Reagan Commencement Speaker at Eureka College

 

Ronald Reagen GE Theater

On June 7, 1957, future Governor of California and President of the United States Ronald Reagan delivered the commencement address at Eureka College.  Reagan was currently appearing on television as the host of General Electric Theater, a popular weekly drama series.  As part of his contract with GE, Reagan spent ten weeks each year touring company production facilities, speaking a conservative, pro-business message to employee groups up to fourteen times a day.

At Eureka College, Reagan reviewed the history of America’s fight to “make the world safe for democracy and advance the cause of freedom for all men”.  From the Declaration of Independence, to World War I, World War II, and now the Cold War, the United States fought the same battle, he explained.

“And now, today, we find ourselves involved in another struggle, this time called a “cold war”.  This Cold War between great sovereign nations isn’t really a new struggle at all.  It is the oldest struggle of human kind, as old as man himself.  This is a simple struggle between those of us who believe that man has the dignity and sacred right and the ability to choose and shape his own destiny and those who do not so believe.  This irreconcilable conflict is between those who believe in the sanctity of individual freedom and those who believe in the supremacy of the state.”

Reagan’s speeches often championed the conservative ideals of anti-communism, free markets, lower taxes, and limited government.  These themes were featured prominently in the speech that launched Reagan’s political career.  Often called the “Time for Choosing” speech, Reagan delivered it in support of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign.

Image Credit: CSU Archives/Everett/Alamy

November 14, 1957 – Apalachin Mafia Summit Bust

Home of Joseph Barbara, Apalachin, New York. Photo: Gordon Rynders, New York Daily News

Home of Joseph Barbara, Apalachin, New York. Photo: Gordon Rynders, New York Daily News

On November 14, 1957 approximately 100 key Mafia bosses, advisors, and their bodyguards converged on Apalachin, New York to meet at the 53-acre estate of Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara.  On the agenda: resolve conflicts among the families of La Cosa Nostra (the American version of the Sicilian Mafia) regarding gambling, casinos, local and international narcotics smuggling and dealing, garment industry rackets (manufacturing and loansharking), trucking, labor and unions, and other operational issues.  Recent hits and attempted hits on leaders of individual families also needed attention to prevent all-out war, particularly between the Genovese, Scalice, and Anastasia factions.

Edgar Croswell, a local New York trooper, had grown curious about Barbara estate activities after several suspicious encounters with previous guests.  Learning that many local motel rooms were being reserved by Barbara’s son, he started keeping a close eye on the residence.  As the luxury cars and limos flocked to Barbara’s house, state police began taking down license plate numbers.  Background checks revealed the presence of known criminals, reinforcements were called in, road blocks were set up, and eventually a lot of expensive tailoring was ruined as mob bosses and underlings tried to escape into the brush.  Guns and $100 bills were scattered across the hillside, continuing to turn up for months afterward.

Joseph Barbara

Joseph Barbara. Photo: Geocities/Organized Crime Syndicates website

Fifty-eight men were apprehended, roughly fifty escaped.  Among those consigned to the “paddy wagon”: top figures Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, Joseph Profaci, and Joseph Bonanno.  Their explanation that the gathering was a “get-well-soon” coffee clatch for Barbara went over like a set of cement overshoes.  Up to this point, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had been reluctant to admit the existence of organized crime in America.  The Apalachin summit bust made the syndicate and its influence painfully clear, and Hoover responded by creating the “Top Hoodlum Program” to pursue Cosa  Nostra bosses throughout the country.

The Apalachin summit of “Who’s Who” in 1957 American, Canadian, and Italian mafiosi inspired many portrayals in books and film.  A version of the event appeared in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather Returns, and was also referred to in Hollywood’s Goodfellas and Analyze This.

November 12, 1957 – Moorpark First Town Powered by Nuclear Energy

On November 12, 1957, the small town of Moorpark, California, became the first town in the United States to be entirely powered by electricity generated from a nuclear reactor.  At 7:30 PM, the lights went out for all 1100 residents of the rural Ventura County burg; twenty seconds later, when they came on again, history had been made.  Local farmers and townspeople, shop owners and newspaper editors, all had different reactions to the new technological marvel.  Barton Miller, Moorpark’s postmaster, was “pretty excited”.  “My wife and I drove up on a hill that night so we could see the town all lighted up.”  Grocery store owner Ruben Castro experienced the event as a “mystery”.  He admitted, “I didn’t know anything about atomic power, other than it was used for a bomb.  I guess I should have been happy that we were using this warlike energy for peacetime purposes.”  Whitaker’s Hardware owner James Whitaker felt let down by the whole event.  “It was very undramatic.  We were like, ‘Oh, so what.'”  An editor of the local newspaper was downright suspicious.  He accused the power company of indulging in “hocus-pocus” in a column titled, “Interesting No Doubt, but Partially Phony”.

Credibility and wider interest came with television coverage two weeks later on Edward R. Murrow’s See it Now program.  The footage obtained by a New York reporter and three-man camera crew put Moorpark on the map.  “We were more impressed with being on national television than about the event itself,” said resident and featured homeowner Charles Sullenbarger.

The Moorpark experiment had originated from President Dwight Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program, which sought commercial uses for the new atom-splitting technology developed for military applications.  All through the 1950’s, the federal government encouraged the national power industry to take advantage of nuclear power as a cleaner, more efficient alternative to fossil fuels for generating electricity.  Moorpark’s “nuclear-flavored electricity” was generated from a small reactor in nearby Simi Hills, operated by Atomics International, a division of North American Aviation, which eventually became Rockwell International.  Southern California Edison transferred the 6500 kilowatts of energy generated by 20,000 kilowatts of nuclear reactor heat to the entire town for only about one hour, although the reactor continued to fill part of the town’s electricity needs for years.  “It was a very successful experiment,” A.C. Werden Jr., an Edison engineer explained, “We proved we could do it.  We could furnish electricity to a community from a nuclear reactor.”

Hardware-purveyor Whitaker’s slightly humorous, slightly ironic assessment of Moorpark’s scientific milestone illustrated the disconnect that can exist between visionaries and grass-roots folks.  “There was a feeling around town that the whole thing had been much overrated,” he explained.  “It was just a short little zip on TV.”

Atomics International reactor control room, 1959

Atomics International reactor control room, 1959. Photo: EnviroReporter website

November 11, 1957 – Eero Saarinen-Designed War Memorial Center Dedicated

War Memorial Center, Milwaukie, Wisconsin

War Memorial Center, Milwaukie, Wisconsin. Photo: Milwaukee War Memorial Center website

On November 11, 1957 – Veterans Day – the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center opened and was dedicated to the men and women who had served in the United States Armed Forces.  Designed as a floating cruciform structure by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the magnificent building features cantilevered portions and has since been named a Milwaukee Landmark.  On the west-facing facade, a 1,440,000-piece mosaic mural by Air Force veteran and Milwaukee resident Edmund Lewandowski displays Roman numerals honoring those who gave their lives in World War II, the War on Japan, and the Korean conflict (1941-1945, 1950-1953).

On this Veterans Day, on behalf of grateful Americans everywhere, 1957 Time Capsule wants to express a most heart-felt thank you to all veterans and service members of United States Military forces past and present, at home and around the world.  I am grateful for your service and your sacrifice for us and for your country.

May we never forget.

Memorial Mosaic by Edmund Lewandowski

Memorial Mosaic by Edmund Lewandowski. Photo: Milwaukee War Memorial Center website