Following WWII, America had pretty much returned to normal by 1949. The recession that followed the war, as US plants converted from war time to peace time production. The Cold War was on, and on June 24, 1948, the Berlin airlift began. Had the USSR shot down one of the US planes involved the Cold war might have become hot, but fortunately this is not happen. So the class of 1949 had pretty clear sailing in terms of world conflicts, and could concentrate on planning for the future. The economy was good enough by 1949 that the people coming home from the war could also finally get jobs. Prior to this, the thanks many servicemen got for risking their lives was to find that all the domestic jobs were taken, and the folks back home didn't want to hear a lot about a war that was mostly an inconvenience for them.
The baby boom was in full swing, and farmland was being carved up everywhere for more housing. Buchanan woods, west of Buchanan Street, and bounded by 32nd and 34th streets, and the Grand Rapids and Indiana railroad tracks, was plow down to create a housing complex which included the west side of Buchanan Street. Birchwood and Hillcroft were extended north from 34th street to 32nd street. A few farms would continue to exist within walking distance of Godwin, but for the most part the area was thoroughly urbanized by 1949, and populated by a lot of people from Godwin, who worked in the very industries, stores, and shops that supplied the growth of the area.
In a political sense the 1950s were dominated by the rivalry between the US and the USSR, but like most US wars after the Civil War, things were not adversely affected on the home front, and for most people the Cold War mainly created more demand for military goods. A door to the 1950s, life in America would be something of a joy ride for the next ten years or more.
The cover of the 1949 class annual.
Left click on the image for a larger image.
The entire 1949 class annual, made available for scanning by by Edna (Carpenter) and Forrest Keyes, Godwin class of 1934 and 1932 repectively, is presented below. To view the pages, simply left click on the page numbers. Each page has been scanned at about 150% of its original size in order to make some of the details easier to see. You might have to move the image around in your browser in order to see it all. Be sure to make your browser full screen size for easier viewing.
Also be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of each page; comments and notes are included on some of the pages. Use the "Back" button on your browser to return to the main menu. People should consider contacting me if they have additional information, or comments.
If anyone has any other photographs pertaining to the class of 1949 they'd like to see included here please contact me.