Time Travelers: Ice Cream and Sock Hops (2020)


In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun food that is enjoyed by over 90 percent of the nation’s population.

Ice cream is a frozen dessert made from cream, with added flavors and sweeteners. This mixture is quickly frozen while it is stirred, so that large ice crystals do not form.

In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the “soda jerk” emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda. The ice cream soda was a popular treat at the soda shop or ice cream parlor. During the American Prohibition, the soda fountain to some extent replaced the outlawed alcohol establishments such as bars and saloons as a gathering place.

Before the development of modern refrigeration, ice cream was a luxury reserved for special occasions. As refrigeration became more common in the mid 20th Century, packaged ice cream became very popular. Soda fountains and ice cream parlors became less popular.

It was during the time of refrigeration that Schwan’s Dairy, now the Schwan Food Company started and grew in Marshall. On March 18, 1952, Marvin Schwan loaded his truck with 14 gallons of ice cream and took it directly to the farmers. Every gallon was sold and the Schwan Food Company was born!

Sock Hops became popular in the 1950’s. These informal high school dances go their name from the requirement that the students remove their shoes so they didn’t scuff up the wooden floors of the school gyms that hosted the dances.

Girls often wore pencil skirts with a button down blouse. Another popular outfit was a sweater and a long skirt with a poodle on it. Boys wore white tee shirts with rolled up blue jeans or a button up shirt with a pair of dress pants.

Many of the dance moves were related to swing dancing in the early 1950’s, but they evolved to rock and roll music by the late 1950’s and into the early 1960’s. Common dance styles in the 1950’s and early 1960’s included the boogie-woogie, bop, bunny hop, the chalypso, the mashed potato, the twist, the hand jive, and the swim.


Homemade Ice Cream

Alternative Method:

Use quart size zip top bag for ingredients and place in large plastic coffee container (2 lbs or larger). The container should be half full of ice and 1/3 cup of rock salt. Secure lid and shake or roll for 10 minutes. This method may be easier for younger children.

Sock Hops

Check out our video to see some of the dance moves that were popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s!

Information on popular 1950’s dances

Visit this website for Sock Hop Party Craft Ideas for Kids!

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