The Cold War, the space race, the Korean and Vietnam war all dominated this time period. Elvis Presley became popular in the new genre Rock and Roll and Oakwood High School was hit by lightening and burnt all but the gym having to be rebuilt.
OAKWOOD BOY SCOUTS WIN EAGLE AWARDS
A trio of Boy Scouts achieved Eagle rank at a court of honor Wednesday evening at McMillan School which featured the annual Little Vermilion District meeting. Their scoutmaster, C. J. (Pete) Rebmann, who was awarded a 10-year service pin, presented Monte Foley, Lorin Kinney and Marion Foley with the coveted eagles during a pot luck dinner attended by about two hundred scouters, boys and their parents. Field scout executive James Reed read a brief history of the three candidates before the presentations. Monte Foley is 17, his cousin Marion, and Kinney are both a year younger. Al G. Robert, scout executive, lauded the efforts of the district chairman and commissioner, Robert Jeakins of Georgetown and William Alexander of Fairmount, respectively, who were given certificates of appreciation for their activity during the year.
“There are many difficulties in which it is better to fail—than to succeed by being helped by a wrong hand,” E. F. Paul, manager of manufacturing and relations of the General Electric Co. Ballast Division, asserted. Paul, who delivered the feature address, told the assembly of Thomas A. Edison’s contributions, made despite the fact that Edison was often thought of as a fool. “Edison became a success because of hard work and a never-flagging desire to progress. There are many older men here who can’t help envying these young Eagle Scouts, who, like Edison, must forget their current successes and strive to accomplish more,” Paul said. Jeakins introduced the six operating committee chairmen who gave their annual reports: Organization and extension, John Gossett of Tilton; finance, Lyle Trisler of Fairmount; health and safety, Howard Decker of Chrisman; advancement, Raymond Houghton; camping activities, Robert Stephen, and leadership training, John Bigger, all of Georgetown. After the report of the nominating committee, made by Edward Klaman of Westville, John Gerrib of Westville was appointed health chairman and the other officers were reappointed for 1955. Myron Walker,principal of Tilton and Grant Schools, was master of ceremonies, introducing Paul Sudlow of Danville, council president; his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Roberts, and other guests. The Rev. John Kwak of St. Mary’s Church, Westville, gave the invocation. Westville Troop 33 had charge of the opening ceremony, with Oakwood Troop 24 giving the closing.
TV’s IKE & SPUTNIK
The Nineteen Fifties was a good decade for most. There was a ‘police action going on in Korea, but most of us were tired of war and ignored it A national hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower, became the thirty-fourth President The Oakwood Township News for Friday, September 11, 1953 gave us the following article: “Fred Barnes becomes partner in Rogers IGA Market”, (this partnership wished for nearly 30 years and was the forerunner of the present grocery store). There were ads for Crawford’s standard oil, on Route 10 in Oak.wood.* Caw-than and Johnson, Funeral Director, Deweys Diner (2 miles east of Oakwood on Route 10), – Andrew’s Implement Company of Oakwood (featuring New Idea one row corn pickers) – Rogers IGA with punch outs of Mickey Mouse and his friends on the back of each 5 pound bag of IGA Enriched Flour. Also the Homer Theater was showing ‘Ma & Pa Kettle on Vacation” with Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride.
The end of the decade saw Oakwood, like most little towns, lose its depot. An era passed and most of us never noticed. ‘Ike” signed into law bills admitting two new states to the Union, Alaska and Hawaii. Now there were 50 States. Ike also signed the bill for our present day Interstate system of Highways. Elvis Presley became the latest teenage craze and the Russians beat us into space with something called “Sputnik”. We finally put our own satellite up aboard an Atlas Rocket in 1959. Television became popular at the beginning of the Fifties and by the end of the decade nearly everyone had them.
*Note-Route 10 never did go through Oakwood on North Main Street as some said, but followed the same route as the present day US 150. There was an earlier route that did come through Oakwood on North Main Street prior to 1920 but the State never gave it a number.
When the Village of Oakwood became fifty years old in 1920, the Census of that year registered 506 people. In the next forty years the village gradually grew to 8 61 people for the 1960 Census.
By the 1970 Census the village had increased its population to 1367. In the single decade of the sixties the population had increased an amazing 506 people, the exact same amount as the first fifty years! This was due in part by the addition of Dolbee Street on the north edge of town and Seymour’s second addition on the west. The biggest increase however, was due to Floyd Lee’s large Trailer Court on the south edge of town. The Trailer Court was the first in the village to have Cable TV.
Interstate 74 came through and an exit was put here which greatly increased the popularity of our village with new home buyers. A t`ruck Stop and a gas station were soon built at the Interstate. A new post office was built downtown. The grade school was added onto again.
Not all was rosy in the sixties as the town saw the passing of a respected citizen, Ernest Seymour and the closing of the doors on the UB Church, the Lumber Yard and the Hardwar