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History of Shawnee, KS

1920s Timeline

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  • Life Expectancy: 53.6 years – men; 54.6 years – women
  • U.S. Population: 106.5 million
  • Average annual income: $1,236
  • Average Family Size: 4.1
  • The speed limit in Shawnee was 12 mph in town and 40 mph on the paved highways
  • Average electric bill: $2.22 per month
  • At the neighborhood grocer 24 lbs flour cost 83 cents, 2 melons were 19 cents and a picnic ham would run you 18 cents/lb
  • A man’s suit cost $15, cigarettes were 10 cents a pack, a Chevy sedan was $500
  • The Charleston, Shimmy and Black Bottom were popular dances
  • 1920s inventions included zippers, band-aids and Kleenex
  • Manufactured cosmetics and ready-to-wear fashion became widely available
  • Shawnee installs street lights
  • Favorite slang phrases of the decade:
    • Bee's Knees= something great or extraordinary;
    • Bum's Rush=ejection by force;
    • Gams=women's legs;
    • Giggle Water=alcohol;
    • Jalopy=dumpy car;
    • Moll=gangster's girl;
    • Palooka=oaf;
    • Scratch=money;
    • Struggle Buggy=back seat of a car;
    • Whoopee=to have a good time