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The Turn of the Century

Decade Facts
76,000,000 Americans in 48 states
Policeman arrests woman for smoking in public
$46,000,000+ in the U.S. treasury
8,000 cars - 10 miles of paved roads
1900 - Auto deaths 96; lynchings 115
1906: San Francisco Earthquake took 700 lives and cost over $4,000,000 in damage
Average worker made $12.98/week for 59 hours; annual salary for teachers was $325
Life expectancy: 47.3 female, 46.3 male - 33.0 Blacks

Tea Party At the turn of the century, America had been established as a world power. The West was won, The frontier was no more and the continent was settled from coast to coast. By 1900 the Indian wars were over and the Indians were living on reservations. The buffalo were gone. The open range was fenced by barbed wire and the McCormick reaper had made large-scale farming profitable, making America the world's largest agricultural producer. By 1900, the nation had 193,000 miles of railroad track, with five railroad systems spanning the continent.

John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust company controlled more that 90 percent of the country's refinery capacity. The country had become the world's largest steel producer, turning out 10,000,000 tons yearly.

Family Photo With the founding of the Ford Motor Company in 1903, the age of automobiles was under way. The Model T was introduced in 1909, available only in black.

By the turn of the century, telephones were in wide use and cities were being electrified. Guglielmo Marconi was conducting experiments that lead to the invention of the radio and the Wright Brothers were working on their heavier-than-air flying machine, which debuted in 1903.

William McKinley, the fifth of the six Ohio presidents who served between 1868 and 1908, was re-elected in 1900.

The Spanish-American war of 1898 was immensely popular with the American people. For the first time since the Civil War, men from the North and South came together, marching to war to bands playing the marches of John Philip Sousa.

PicnicWorld Fairs were popular at the turn of the century. The World's Columbian Exposition took place in 1893 and the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 was in Buffalo, New York. These fairs celebrated the country's technological achievements such as incubators and electric lights. They exhibited exotic architecture and peoples of other nations and the American West.

CostumesThe movie industry was in its infancy, the earliest venues being nickelodeons — peep show parlors in which machines played short film loops, or films on flip cards called mutoscopes. By 1900, films were being shown in store-front theaters and traveling carnivals. Films were being shown in vaudeville and burlesque theaters, alongside "entertainments" featuring live dramas, singers and comedians.

The 1910s


Photos & Website © 2003 Julie Smith