News 11 Remembers: Pink Kitchen

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(KPLR) – When you think about a history museum, you probably picture exhibits about events long before you were born.  But one of the most popular displays at the Missouri History Museum is taking visitors back to something most of us have seen happening in our lifetimes.

Paul Schankman has the story in this week’s news 11 remembers.
“You can almost date people by what color kitchen they remember, if they say they remember avocado appliances that dates them to the 1970`s period, turquoise and gold are just a little after the pink that came in the 50`s.”

And at the Missouri History Museum, the pink kitchen lives again, not just as an artifact of a different time; but as a representation of social change.

“It actually came out of a house in Clayton, but we used it as a way of symbolizing what happened in post war two St. Louis and post world war two in most cities, which is as the soldiers came back rejoined with their wives and got married and started new families, the pent up demand for housing just exploded.”

In St. Louis, the first suburb to blossom was St. Ann, which had or held the promise of everything people needed in a new era.

“They were looking for a different kind of housing because now they could live at some distance from the city or from where they worked because after the war automobiles really too over. And so now you could live in a suburb and commute to wherever you needed to go using an automobile and most people middle class folk could afford automobiles after the war.”

Who look at the pink kitchen don`t talk about suburbanization, they talk about memory.”

The suburban boom may have been born of necessity, but it was nurtured by the federal government, through the GI bill.  Which gave veterans money to buy homes and the interstate highway system which made it easier to get to them.

And the very first section of it was a portion of interstate 70, built in a suburb we know today as St. Charles, Missouri.

News 11 remembers is brought to you by the Missouri History Museum and America’s Best Contacts And Eyeglasses.  I`m Paul Schankman.