At work in the '50s.The 1950s

In the post-World War II "I like Ike" culture, America saw massive changes in Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage and construction of both schools and public housing. The courts set key rulings regarding segregation and civil rights.

It was an era of subdivisions on concrete slabs, shopping centers and the advent of the business computer. The white-collar workforce surpassed the blue-collar labor force, and the nation had its first taste of so-called "fast food." In 1958, you could buy a house for $30,000, a car for $2,000, a gallon of gas for a quarter and a loaf of bread for 19 cents. A postage stamp cost four cents, and tuition at Harvard was $1,250 a year.

The late fifties brought significant milestones to the San Diego region in terms of building the local workforce, especially in the areas of aerospace engineering and defense. Major changes were also made to San Diego's growing and planned-for infrastructure, which had implications in school construction and transportation.

1954

Dr. Ralph C. Dailard serves as superintendent for San Diego City Schools from 1954 through 1969.

Brown v. Board of Education landmark civil-rights court case overturns Plessy v. Ferguson rule of "separate but equal."

A consortium of local women's clubs, including the San Diego Woman's Club, the Women's Press Club and the San Diego branch of American Pen Women, begin a campaign to restore the city's first school house, the Mason Street school in Old Town. It reopens as a historical attraction on July 1, 1958.

1955

Supreme Court requires desegregation "with all deliberate speed."

1956

Supreme Court rules bus segregation illegal, giving victory to the Montgomery boycott started in December 1955 by Rosa Parks and led by Martin Luther King.

Campus in La Jolla area is proposed for a University of California site.

One of the county's last one-room schoolhouses, the Miramar school house, is sold at a September auction. The buyer, D. B. Elms, pays $275, plus $111 in sales tax.

1957

An incident at a school in Little Rock, Arkansas, is viewed as one of the "most explosive civil rights crises." Federal troops are used to enforce integration in the district's public schools.

Using a 225-word list focused on improving children's literacy, Theodor Seuss Geisel, a La Jolla resident best known as Dr. Seuss, publishes The Cat in the Hat, changing the way American children learn to read. At the time of his death in 1991, his 46 children's books had sold more than 200 million copies, and his last, Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990), was a bestseller.

1958

The Miramar School District is annexed and absorbed by San Diego City Schools.

School Openings

Except where noted, all are elementary schools.

  • Edward F. Beale – name approved by Board 4/6/54; opened for classes 9/13/54

  • Charles Wakefield Cadman – name approved by Board 9/20/55; opened for classes 12/3/56

  • George Washington Carver – name approved by Board 5/18/54; opened for classes 9/12/55

  • Clairemont Sr. High – name approved by Board 4/22/58; opened for classes 11/58

  • Henry Clay – name approved by Board 1/24/56; opened for classes 9/11/56

  • Grover Cleveland – name approved by Board 1/24/56; opened for classes 2/21/56

  • D.C. Collier Jr. High – name approved by Board 3/19/57, opened for classes 9/15/58

  • Will C. Crawford Sr. High – name approved by Board 9/20/55; opened for classes 7/10/57

  • Ellwood P. Cubberley – name approved by Board 7/2/57; opened for classes 1/19/59

  • Stephen Decatur – name approved by Board 6/17/58; opened for classes 9/14/59

  • Colonel Ed Fletcher – name approved by Board 6/24/58; opened for classes 9/12/60

  • John F. Forward – name approved by Board 4/11/59; opened for classes 3/28/60

  • Stephen Collins Foster – name approved by Board 12/7/54; opened for classes 3/30/55

  • Elizabeth Freese – name approved by Board 4/21/59; opened for classes 12/9/59

  • Mildred L. Hale Jr. High – name approved by Board 11/18/58; opened for classes 9/59

  • Edward L. Hardy – name approved by Board 9/20/55; opened for classes 9/11/56

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne – name approved by Board 3/19/57; opened for classes 9/10/57

  • Phoebe A. Hearst – name approved by Board 1/24/56; opened for classes 2/2/59

  • Alonzo E. Horton – name approved by Board 3/19/57; opened for classes 9/58

  • Henry C. Johnson – name approved by Board 3/19/57; opened for classes 12/12/57

  • John Paul Jones – name approved by Board 1/24/56; opened for classes 12/12/57

  • Harley E. Knox – name approved by Board 10/23/56; opened for classes 2/25/57

  • Robert E. Lee – name approved by Board 7/2/57; opened for classes 1/12/59

  • Harvey L. Lewis Jr. Jr. High – name approved by Board 2/26/57; opened for classes 1/12/59

  • John Marshall – name approved by Board 9/20/55; opened for classes 11/28/57

  • John G. Marvin – name approved by Board 9/20/55; opened for classes 9/56

  • Francis Mead – name approved by Board 4/21/59; opened for classes 9/12/60

  • Mabel E. O'Farrell Jr. High – name approved by Board 12/3/57; opened for classes 9/14/59

  • Paul Revere – name approved by Board 7/2/57; opened for classes 11/3/58

  • James Whitcomb Riley – name approved by Board 3/19/57; opened for classes 9/59

  • Pete W. Ross – name approved by Board 12/3/57; opened for classes 9/14/59

  • Stephan Rowan – name approved by Board 5/18/54; opened for classes 9/12/55

  • Sequoia – name approved by Board 4/21/59; opened for classes 2/15/60

  • Kate Sessions – name approved by Board 5/18/54; opened for classes 1/3/56

  • William P. Toler – name approved by Board 7/2/57; opened for classes 11/22/57

  • Noah Webster – name approved by Board 4/6/54; opened for classes 3/30/55

  • Harry M. Wegeforth – name approved by Board 3/19/57; opened for classes 121/8/57

  • Walt Whitman – name approved by Board 1/24/56; opened for classes 11/6/58

  • Kate Douglas Wiggin – name approved by Board 7/2/57; opened for classes 1/8/59