In the Summer of 1900:
The average life expectancy in the United States was
Only 14 percent of the homes in the United States had a
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A
three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost
There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles
of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was ten mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each
more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4
million residents, California was only the twenty-first
most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Towel.
The average wage in the US was twenty-two cents an
The average US worker made between $200 and $400
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per
year, a dentist $2500 per year, a veterinarian between
$1500 and $4000 per year, and a mechanical engineer
about $5000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births in the United States
took place at home.
Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college
education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many
of which were condemned in the press and by the
government as ‘substandard.’
Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents
Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month and
used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from
entering the country for any reason, either as travelers or
The five leading causes of death in the US were:
- Pneumonia and influenza
- Heart disease
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma,
New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn’t been admitted to
the Union yet.
Drive-by shootings “in which teenage boys galloped
down the street on horses and started randomly shooting
at houses, carriages, or anything else that caught their
fancy” were an ongoing problem in Denver and other
cities in the West.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was thirty. The
remote desert community was inhabited by only a
handful of ranchers and their families.
Plutonium, insulin, and antibiotics hadn’t been discovered
Scotch tape, crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced
tea hadn’t been invented.
There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
One in ten US adults couldn’t read or write. Only 6
percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Coca-Cola contained cocaine instead of caffeine.
Punch-card data processing had recently been developed,
and early predecessors of the modern computer were
used for the first time by the government to help compile
the 1900 census.
Eighteen percent of households in the United States had
at least one full-time servant or domestic.
There were about 230 reported murders in the US