Peace and prosperity were the words of the day in 1959. Godwin was a mature school system. All of the farm land in the area had by then been chewed up for housing plats, and there would be no major new numbers of students entering the system. The US was involved in no major wars. Oil was cheap and plentiful. The Japanese had not yet started to seriously affect the US auto and electronics industries. Godwin graduates in all three areas of commercial, industrial, and college prep, could mostly look forward to decent, secure jobs, in the area if they chose. The after affects of Sputnik would provide jobs in science and engineering for those that prepared. The next dark cloud on the horizon would be Vietnam.
But just in 1959, life in the US was about as good as one could hope for, all in all. There was still open land, and people could think about a cottage on a lake if that was their interest. Urban renewal had not yet hit Grand Rapids. In general people considered America safe, in the sense that people had the freedom to move around without much fear of strangers. In general, it was a good time for someone to get out and join the wider world. 1959 was a part of a rare time in which the opportunities were largely boundless, and the problems relatively few.
The cover of the 1959 class annual.
Left click on the image for a larger image.
The entire 1959 class annual, made available for scanning by by Bob Traetz, class of 1962, 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 1959 they'd like to see included here please contact me.