Evansville, 1943 - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Evansville, 1943

Chad Sewich, reporter
Michelle de Boer, web producer

The year was 1943. Bread cost a dime, a gallon of milk slightly more, and meat was rationed as part of the war effort.

The 1940's was a big decade for Nadine Kolb. She got married and gave birth to two children. Her husband Sidney worked in the LST shipyards, and Nadine was choosen to christen one of the ships,The LST 1110.

"I don't know how he was chosen. I said, 'Maybe we were the bottom of the barrel,'" Nadine said.

The Kolbs purchased their home for $2,700, which was a lot of money considering Sidney's $30 a week paycheck.

The big multi-plexes of today didn't exist back then., but you could see Bogart in the 1943 Academy Award winner "Casablanca" for under a quarter. And Glenn Miller kept Americans glued to their radios.

But Nadine says entertainment was a luxury in those days. "We worked, you might say, 12 hours a day, and you were just almost too tired to do anything else," she says.

In 1943 the Evansville shipyards, now home to Mead-Johnson, bustled with thousands of workers building the LST transport ships.

Even with all of the hardships, Nadine says life was good. "It was easier to live then, I think because it's fast, too fast now, and I don't think that teenagers and the young generation appreciate.. realize what my generation went through," she says. 

Club Trocadero was the happening spot in Evansville to bring your best girl. Trocadero burned down in 1990, and the site became a gas station. Another hip place to jitterbug in 1943 was Colonial Gardens. No, not that Colonial Garden.

"The name Colonial Gardens and McCarty's Colonial Gardens Center, Inc., which is where we're standing now, is coincidental," Jim McCarty's with Colonial Gardens Center said.

Jim McCarty was a teenager in 1943 and remembers the nightspot on outer Boonville Highway well.

"They had wonderful food," McCarty says. "They had an outdoor dance area, and we were all into the jitterbug and the foxtrot. Those various dances that were timely at the time."

Dance styles aren't all that's changed in the past 60 years. Main Street in downtown Evansville prospered in the 40's compared to today. And if you wanted to go out into the country, you went down Weinbach Avenue, which is considered centrally located now.

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