Skip to main content

Highlights at the Beginning of 1960s’

My Sweet mother was living when I started this list and she remembered some of these events. I used my old typewriter and encyclopedias'.

President John F. Kennedy


President John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address

Early 1960s


  • January 3rd. 1960----------John F Kennedy wins presidential Election


  • The United States announces that 3,500 American soldiers are going to be sent to Vietnam


  • American Heart Association Links smoking to heart disease and death in middle aged men


  • Soviet missile shoots down the US U2 spy plane


  • Sir Francis Chichester arrives in New York aboard Gypsy Moth 11 - he has made a record solo Atlantic crossing in 40 days


  • September 9, 1960, Hurricane Donna kills 50 in Florida and the New England area


  • US Pilot of a U-2 Spy Plane Francis Gary Powers sentenced to 10 years for espionage in the Soviet Union


  • In Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay (who later took the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight after having won the Gold Medal in Rome in the Olympic games

Cassius Clay--18-Year-Old Muhammad Ali Wins

Scroll to Continue


  • The United States launches the world's first nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier the USS Enterprise.


  • The Winter Olympic Games are held in Squaw Valley, California, United States
  • US Experimental rocket powered airplane travels at 2,200 MPH
  • Xerox introduces the first Commercial Document reproduction Machine
  • The United States launches the first weather satellite, TIROS-1.
  • Dr Kazuo Hashimoto Invents the Ansafone sold in the USA as a
    Automatic Telephone Answering Machine


How Much things cost in 1960s?
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.46%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 1.1%
Average Cost of new house $12,700.00
Average Monthly Rent $98.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 25 cents--WOW!!!
23 inch Television $219.95
Average Cost of a new car $2,600.00
Piaggio / Vespa Scooter $319.95
Can of Beef Ravioli 30 cents
Adding Machine $49.95
Loaf of Bread 20 cents
Men's Electric Shaver $20.30
Polaroid Land Camera, looking back it seems quite expensive but this was the only way to see your photo nearly instantly
Polaroid Camera $93.45.

  • Lady Chatterley's Lover goes on sale in England 32 years after it was banned.
  • Coronation Street Soap premieres on ITV in the UK,
  • The Flintstones premiers.
  • Rawhide.
  • Chubby Checker and The twist start a new dance craze.

Chubby Checker "The Twist & Let's Twist Again"

Americans financed anti-Castro Cubans for an invasion at the bay of pigs which was an unmitigated disaster.

The Soviets put the first man in space in April Yuri Gagarin followed by the US in May with Alan Shepard.

Popular music included Chubby Checker's “Pony Time” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles.

Top movies included "West Side Story" and "The Parent Trap


Cost of Living 1961

How Much things cost in 1961?
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.07%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 2.9%
Average Cost of new house $12,500.00
Average Income per year $5,315.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 27 cents
Average Cost of a new car $2,850.00
Bacon for 1LB 67 cents
Eggs per dozen 30 cents

Below are some Prices for UK Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 2,770


  • John F. Kennedy inaugurated as President of the United States


  • President John F. Kennedy advises American families to build bomb shelters


  • The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution is Ratified which permits electors in the District of Columbia to choose Electors for President and Vice President.


  • The Peace Corps is established by John F. Kennedy


  • President Kennedy asks Congress for $531 million to put a man on the moon


  • Segregation on railways in the south ends

President Kennedy established the Peace Corp


  • Texas Sales Tax Introduced


  • Construction of the Berlin Wall begins.


  • The first six flags theme parks open "Six Flags Over Texas" at Arlington, Texas


  • Pampers the first disposable diaper introduced


  • "Freedom Riders" test the United States Supreme Court decision Boynton v. Virginia by riding racially integrated interstate buses into the South. Some are attacked and beaten by white supremacist supporters of racial segregation.

1961-Most popular recorded songs of 1961 in the US:

  • Wonderland by Night Bert Kaempfert
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow? The Shirelles
  • Calcutta Lawrence Welk
  • Pony Time Chubby Checker
  • Surrender Elvis Presley

Technology 1961

  • Yuri Gagarin is the first human in space.
  • The First inflight movie is shown on TWA
  • The First electric toothbrush is produced Squibb Co.
  • Alan Shepard makes first US Space Flight
  • Niagra Falls starts producing hydroelectric power
  • The first quasar is discovered by Allan Sandage at Mt Palomar, California
  • IBM introduces the Selectric typewriter Golfball

Dwight D. Eisenhower, gave his last speech to Congress

Elvis Presley--'Surrender."

Johnny Carson --The First Show of the Tonight Show in October 1, 1962


Marilyn Monroe Death in 1962

Cost of Living 1962

How Much things cost in 1962?
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.20%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 3.6%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 652
Average Cost of new house $12,500.00
Average Income per year $5,556.00
Average monthly rent $110.00 per month
Tuition to Harvard University $1,520.00
All Wheel Drive Scout off road $2,150.00
Renault Imported car $1,395.00
Average Cost of a new car $3,125.00
Eggs per dozen 32 cents
Gas per Gallon 28 cents

Factory Workers Average Take Home Pay with 3 dependents $94.87
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 2,950
New Ford Cortina 591


  • Marilyn Monroe is found dead on August 5th after apparently overdosing on sleeping pills


  • Rioting on University of Mississippi campus following Black student James Meredith attempting to enroll ending when federal troops and U.S. marshals take control.


  • The First Wal-Mart discount store is opened by Sam Walton in Bentonville Arkansas


  • First Ever Flavored Crisps / Chips sold Salt and Vinegar


  • The first Kmart department store opens in Garden City, Michigan


  • Oral Polio Vaccine developed by Albert Sabin given to millions of children to combat Polio

Popular Culture

  • Beatles Turned Down By Decca Records
  • Release of first Beatles recording: the single "Love Me Do"
  • Andy Warhol's famous painting of a can of soup
  • Beverly Hill Billie's is on TV
  • The Dick Van Dyke show on TV
  • Johnny Carson begins as presenter for The Tonight Show

Popular Films

  • West Side Story
  • Spartacus
  • El Cid
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Popular Singers

  • The Beatles
  • Bob Dylan
  • Chubby Checker
  • Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  • Neil Sedaka
  • Roy Orbison
  • Shirley Bassey

Technology 1962

  • 12 European countries form European Space Agency
  • Telstar relays the first live trans-Atlantic television signal
  • US Airforce investigates using lasers to intercept missiles
  • 90% of US households own a Television Set
  • Britain and France agree to develop the Concorde
  • The first use of silicone breast implants by Houston plastic surgeons

The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961, to June 1, 1966


© 2022 Barbara Purvis Hunter

Related Articles