With this issue of The Louisville Historian, we’re continuing our look at the many changes that took place in Louisville in the 1950s as it evolved into a modern city. For this, we’ll draw on the information provided by a number of attendees at the “Brown Bag” presentation and discussion in March who shared stories about what Louisville was like during this transformative time. Part One of this topic was the lead article of the Winter 2017 issue of The Historian and was entitled “The Fifties: Louisville’s Transformative Decade.” (It has now been added to the Museum’s website and can be viewed there.) And read ahead for Bob Watt’s reactions to that article on page 3.
For me, it was a revelation to learn at the March “Brown Bag” about how residents were first exposed to television. In Louisville in the early 1950s, there were a few downtown stores where one could see and purchase TVs, including Louisville Electric at 908 Main. As was happening in other towns and cities all over the world, people were drawn to stores to see TVs. Store owners are remembered as setting out chairs in front of televisions to make customers comfortable. No doubt this welcoming gesture resulted in many a sale. As was mentioned at the “Brown Bag” in March, even a store TV showing a test pattern would draw the attention of Louisville children in the time when TVs first arrived.
Television brought world events to Louisville in a new way. According to online sources, the first Denver television station began to broadcast in 1952. Louisville residents who already owned televisions in 1953 were able to watch the inauguration of President Eisenhower and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on TV that year, and some invited friends and neighbors over to watch.
Article by Bridget Bacon, Museum Coordinator
Photo: The Denver-Boulder Turnpike (US 36) as it appeared in 1954. There was not yet an interchange for Louisville and Superior