A change in decades?
By David Hall
Dec 28, 2020
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Depending on what you believe this 2021 New Year will either signify the beginning of a new decade or the end of one just past. Convincing arguments can be made for both points of view. A decade signifies ten years of course, usually thought of as one to ten rather than zero to nine. 

The biggest decade controversy I remember was that of Y2K, it stood for year 2000 since K is the Roman numeral for the year 2000. The Y2K scare was the belief that when the year 2000 arrived computers would quit working because of the change from 1999 to 2000. There may have been some minor problems, as with computers anytime, but for the most part not much happened.

All that aside we know that the year 2020 will forever be known as the year of the coronavirus. Hopefully the decade of the 2020s will later be known for much more than that.

I've heard the 1920s referred to in association with the Great Depression, however that actually began on October 24, 1929 and continued through the 1930s. The decade of the 1920s is often referred to as "The Roaring Twenties" and, like any decade, it had some problems but it also is remembered for a lot of positives.
The 1790 census showed that 94.9% of our population lived in rural areas. The decade of the 1920s was the first time that the United States had more people living in the urban areas than the rural areas, it was just the beginning of a major population shift.

1920 - At the beginning of the 1920s only one out of four families owned a car, by the end of the decade four out of five families were car owners.

WWJ was the first radio station licensed by the federal government, it began broadcasting from Detroit.

Another important thing to remember about the 1920s is that on August 18th the 19th amendment was ratified which gave women the right to vote.

Johnny Gruelle patented the Raggedy Andy doll, this was to be a companion to his invention of the Raggedy Ann doll from 1915. 

On September 16, an explosion rocked Wall Street in New York City killing 38 people, at the time it was the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. That is until the 1995 terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City and then the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

One of the strangest things I've read about ended in 1920, it was the mailing of children in the U. S. mail and it had been going on since 1913. Back then you could send kids to visit their grandparents by mail much cheaper than buying a bus ticket. I read about a couple who shipped their 8-month-old son to his grandmother for 15 cents.

1921 - The first religious radio broadcasts in the United States begins on KDKA in Pittsburgh.

The Pig Stand becomes America's first drive in restaurant, today the only one of the original restaurants is still operating in San Antonio, Texas and it no longer has drive in service.

White Castle opens its first restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, later it becomes the very first fast food hamburger chain to sell over 1 billion burgers.

Margaret Gorman from Washington, D. C. was the winner of the first Miss America Pageant. For many of us who grew up watching the annual pageant it was never quite the same once Bert Parks was no longer the host, once the winner was crowned Bert would sing "There She Is, Miss America."

Congress approved the burial of an unidentified World War I soldier in Arlington Cemetery, now unidentified soldiers from other wars can be buried there as well.

Some more decade trivia:
1922 - President Warren G. Harding gave the first radio broadcast to the nation. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald published a collection of short stories titled "Tales From the Jazz Age," the name stuck. Another name given to the decade was "The Roaring Twenties."

1923 - The first home baseball game is played at the original Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 4 - 1. Warner Brothers Film Studio was established in Hollywood, California. The famous Hollywood sign was erected in California, it originally spelled out Hollywoodland.

1924 - J. Edgar Hoover became the first director of the Bureau of Investigation, it later became known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He remained the head of the FBI until his death in 1972. The first annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York City. William Einthoven won the Nobel prize for the electrocardiogram. 

1925 - The nation's first motel (motorist's hotel) opened in San Luis Obispo, California. Sears opens its first store in Chicago. The Burma-Shave roadside advertising slogans began this year. The Grand Ole Opry began on WSM radio, it is still the longest continuously running weekly radio show with 4955 consecutive Saturday night broadcasts as of December 19th, 2020.

1926 - The historic Route 66 is created and runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. The restoration of colonial Williamsburg, Virginia begins.

1927 - Lindbergh's famous non stop flight across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis plane. The final Model T automobile rolls off the assembly line. 

1928 - Mickey Mouse made his debut in the cartoon "Steamboat Willie." Researcher Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.

1929 - The first Popeye character debuted in the Thimble Theater cartoon strip.  7 Up was first created in 1929, it was first known as "Seven Ounces of Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda."

1930 -  CBS broadcasts the Philharmonic live over the radio for the first time. Also this was the deadliest year for America's police officers as 206 lost their lives by gunfire; so far this year through December 22, forty-five of our nation's police officers have lost their lives by gunfire.

I included 1930 because of the uncertainty about just when each decade begins and ends.

If you have any comments or questions my e-mail address is