Germanie VanTrease and Tyler Tetzloff

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Germanie VanTrease and Tyler Tetzloff


Mega project


The 1880s was a very eventful decade. Four territories turned to states. The Chinese Exclusion was put into action. There was Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla all inventing things. All of these people helped the United States to what it is today. These events and people did not just change the United States; the changes in history of the entire world.

When the light bulb was put into stock, it changed the course of history for people to purchase. It gave people the ability to see in the dark. It gave people hope in humanity. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, it gave people the idea that they could talk to each other without having to write a letter or meet them in person. It is still changing the course history with advancements in the product and its service.

When Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota became states, it changes the course of history for the United States. When Seattle was established, it opened up opportunity for jobs. There were many trees that needed to be logged. This also opened up opportunity to trade with other places.

All of these great achievements have changed the course of history, and still do. With every year, each American invention or innovation from the 1880s is still changing the course of history. The telephone is becoming very advanced with service and with its technology. The light bulb is being advanced with green power and being able to be powered by the sun with a solar panel and lighting up while using green energy.

Section 1 (decade prior) 1870-1879

The decade prior to 1880-1889 is 1870-1879 just to catch you up on basic events during that decade, I found some events that most stood out to me.

I did realize over the past decade there was a couple of new inventions and discovery’s. Not only that there was some migration and disappointments.


Date: 2/20/12

Author: hennery ford





The 15th amendment guarantees that no male citizen will be deprived of the right to vote because of race, color or previous condition of servitude


A fire destroys the city of Chicago Illinois

The first professional baseball association, the National Association of Professional Baseball Players, is organized.

The United States experiences an economic depression, as over 5,000 companies go out of business after a stock market panic.



The typewriter offers Americans an alternative to writing business letters and reports by hand.

America gets its first public zoo, the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens.


Congress passes a Civil Rights Bill prohibiting discrimination in public places.


United States celebrates 100 years as a nation.

Almost 10 million people attend the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, which featured recent American inventions and products.

Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone.



Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.


A constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote is rejected by Congress.


Thomas Edison invents the first practical incandescent electric light at Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Large numbers of disillusioned African Americans leave the South, many settling in Kansas and Oklahoma.

United States map of 1880.

Over the 1880s, there were many new geographical boundaries such as the formations of new territories, states, landmarks and etc. Washington State was established in 1889. There were 6 territories: Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Dakota, and New Mexico Territory. The territories that became states in the 1880s were Washington, North and South Dakota, and Montana.

At one point Washington was part of the Oregon Territory. Until 1853, the Oregon Territory requested more land to increase population in their settlements. This request for more land from Oregon created the Washington Territory. In 1878, the Washington Territory requested statehood from the government. Eventually in 1889, the Washington Territory became its own state.

North Dakota became a state mainly to the railroads. The Northern Pacific Railway came through and brought supplies and work. Eventually there was an act called the Enabling Act of 1889. Once president Grover Cleveland signed out of office, his successor Benjamin Harrison was left to sign the document. This act lead Washington, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota to statehood.

Built in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is the country’s oldest suspension bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. Since it has been built, it has become a large tourist attraction.

No Author .2013. Brooklyn Bridge.

No Author. 2013. Montana.

No Author. 2013. North and South Dakota.

Section 3- events

from March 11 1888-March 14 1888. Snow as deep as 40 to 50 inches fell from New Jersey to Connecticut. What was originally supposed to be rain turned out into snow after temperatures dropped down to a freezing -9 degrees.

The storms nickname was called the White Hurricane. Freezing everything out side even in Montreal Canada. When the telegraph infrastructures froze, there was no communication in the North East. In the New York Harbor, 200 boats sank and killed around 100 men. Over 400 people lost their life in the storm due to fires, flooding, and hyperthermia.

No Author.2013.Great Blizzard of 1888.




Population growth.

The national population in the 1880 reached 50,189,209 people, an increase of 30.2% over the 1870 census.  The geographic center of the U.S. population now reaches west/southwest of Cincinnati, Ohio in Kentucky.  Five states now have more than two million in population; New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri.


Telephone company

20th president shot

African Americans training as teachers

January 25- Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company.

May 21- The American Red Cross names Clara Barton president, a post she would hold until 1904 through nineteen relief missions.

July 2- The 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield, is shot by lawyer Charles J. Guiteau in the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station in Washington, D.C.  He would die two months later on September 19, 1881 from an infection and be succeeded in the presidency by Vice President Chester Arthur on September 20.
July 4, 1881 - The Tuskegee Institute for black students training to be teachers was opened under the tutelage of Booker T. Washington as instructor in Tuskegee, Alabama.


Future president born


January 30 - Future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born at his home in Hyde Park, New York.
Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act, which completely prohibits both immigration from China and the naturalization of Chinese immigrants already in the United States for a period of ten years.

Congress passes the Edmunds Law, making polygamy a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison and denying convicted polygamists the right to vote, to hold office and to serve on juries. 


Jesse James

April 3- Western outlaw Jesse James is shot to death by Robert Ford, a member of his own band, for a $5,000 reward.  The Ford brothers had been recruited to rob the Platte City Bank, but opted to try to collect the reward for their infamous leader


Entertainment (first theatre)

Brooklyn bridge

Time zones

February 28, 1883 - Vaudeville, the entertainment and theatrical phenomena, begins when the first theatre is opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

May 24, 1883 - The Brooklyn Bridge is opened.  It was constructed under a design by German-American Johann A. Roebling and required fourteen years to build.  Six days later, a stampede of people fearing a rumor about its impending collapse causes twelve people to be killed.

November 18, 1883 - Five standard time zones are established by the United States and Canadian railroad companies to end the confusion over thousands of local time zones.





Congress passes the Dawes Severalty Act, imposing a system of private land ownership on Native American tribes for whom communal land ownership has been a centuries-old tradition. 



Section 4 –people

Now a day’s famous people affect our day to day life, from how we dress to how we act. From as far back as time goes it still hasn’t changed.

Below is listed a couple of people that were famous back in the 1800’s and why they are famous.

Famous people.



James A. Garfield

The 20th President of the United States James A. Garfield

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

OCCUPATION: Journalist, Poet

  • BIRTH DATE: May 31, 1819

  • DEATH DATE: March 26, 1892

  • PLACE OF BIRTH: West Hills, New York

Walt Whitman was an American poet whose verse collection Leaves of Grassis a landmark in the history of American literature.

  1. Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)


NAME: Henry Ward Beecher


BIRTH DATE: June 24, 1813

DEATH DATE: March 08, 1887

EDUCATION: Amherst College, Lane Theological Seminary

Henry Ward Beecher was an American Congressional clergyman, best known for his Protestant sermons and his involvement in a high-profile adultery scandal.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Best known for

Florence Nightingale, a nurse, spent her night rounds giving personal care to the wounded, establishing her image as the 'Lady with the Lamp.'

  • NAME: Florence Nightingale


  • BIRTH DATE: May 12, 1820

  • DEATH DATE: August 13, 1910

  • EDUCATION: Institution of Protestant Deaconesses at Kaiserswerth

Louisa May Alcott


Louisa May Alcott was an American author who wrote the classic novel Little Women, as well as various works under pseudonyms.

  • NAME: Louisa May Alcott

  • OCCUPATION: Author

  • BIRTH DATE: November 29, 1832

  • DEATH DATE: March 06, 1888

  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Germantown, Pennsylvania

Section 5 places

Section 6- everyday living

Life during the 1880’s was nothing like life now in the 21 century from entertainment to inventions to just normal day to day tasks.

Here are some basic things humans use now days that were different during the 1800’s



Electrical power

Edison had just invented the electric light

(Although the streets of Paris had been lit by electric carbon arc lights for some time).

Electrical power systems did not exist. Electric lights were so rare that in 1885 the folks of Austin, Texas, put up a string of electric street lights specifically for a celebration. There were no electric motors or appliances. Electricity did not reach the area for another 60 years or so.


New Orleans had had a commercial ice making plant for about 15 years, but ice was not readily available out in the country. Most rural people stored milk and butter in cold spring water, if they had access to a spring or they just drank the milk warm.

There was a thriving natural ice distribution system in the northern states which delivered ice by clipper ship all along the Atlantic coast. There was a commercial ice cream plant at an ice cream parlor in Austin, Texas, in the 1880's and the owner used the steam powered refrigeration system to cool his parlor.


Wood was used for cooking and heating. Wood was readily available for the labor. Some may have used coal. Many older homes used fireplaces, but others used cast iron cook stoves and heaters.


Since there was no electricity, there were no electric lights. However, there was plenty of kerosene from the Pennsylvania oil boom of recent years. President Lincoln had studied by candlelight, these youngsters studied with the faint aroma of 'coal oil.'


Entertainment was totally different back then; it consisted of social activities and sports like baseball. Basketball had not been invented. Edison had just invented the phonograph, the first system for recording and reproducing sound. Very few people had phonographs for many years. There were no movies, radio, or TV of course. Because of this, many cities, even small towns, had their own bands. Only later, in the early 1900, did the traveling "Circuit Chautauquas" (or colloquially, Tent Chautauquas) present programs for entertainment and education.


There were two choices: the Postal Service or the telegraph; both had been in use for many years. The telephone had been exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, but it took many years to provide phone service out to rural areas.


The steam locomotive railroad train was the ultimate in modern transportation by land. Any other land travel was by foot, horseback, or horse or ox drawn wagons, carts, or carriages. There were probably few carriages in rural Adair. Roads were usually prepared by scraping the surface and digging ditches to keep most of the water off the road. Very few had crushed stone surfaces; much less all-weather paving so travel was limited in wet weather. Travel by water was much more common then, but since the trans-continental railroad had been completed in 1869, fewer people made the trip around Cape Horn or the alternate, transferring by rail across the Isthmus of Panama. Air travel was limited to joy rides in hot air balloons, which had been in use for 100 years.


There was no indoor plumbing or water supply in the rural areas (and perhaps none in most small towns).

Water had to be drawn from a spring or from a ëdugí well. (Drilled wells may have been in use also.) Some people collected rainwater in cisterns. Some people had hand pumps for pumping water from wells or cisterns, but I think they were rare in this area. Those were the days of weekly baths in a washtub in the kitchen or at the swimming hole in the summer, if there was one near by.

I think that many homes didn’t even have an outhouse; the men simply went outdoors or to the barn, the women used a pot or ëslopí jar which could be emptied outdoors later. Well-to-do families had a commode seat to hold the pot at a nice sitting height and to provide a cover for the pot. 'Toilet paper' was not common either.

Materials- During the 1800’s they didn’t have as much materials/resources as we did. I found some interesting facts about the materials they had back then.

Rubber was the new material of the century. Although the natives of Central and South America had used the sap of the rubber tree for balls and coatings for their feet, it was not until 1823 that Charles Macintosh of Scotland produced the 'mackintosh' a rubberized cloth raincoat. In 1839, Charles Goodyear, accidentally discovered the 'vulcanization' process to make rubber into stable, elastic, airtight, and watertight products. Solid rubber tires were mounted on Queen Victoria's carriages in 1846.

During the 1880s the clothing trends were very different then what they are now. People back then wore many layers of clothing, thick dresses, and long overcoats. Remnants of the past still co-exist in todays society.

Men’s clothing in the 1880s was very different then it is today. Back in 1880s, men wore a type of suit called a Ditto. This consisted of a Sack Coat, a Waist Coat along with a button up shirt and a Ascot Tie. This was considered as informal wear. However formal wear would consist of a Tail Coat, Trousers, Waist Coat, a white Bow Tie, and a winged collared shirt. As you go farther in the decade, you notice that people start to wear tuxedo jackets and more formal attire.

Women of the 1880s wore many layers to show modesty. What women would wear on an informal occasion would consist of decorated skirts worn over different patterned skirts. Women would also wear corsets to form a snug fit. For a formal occasion, women would wear a slim sleeveless gown with gloves traveling up past the elbow. Some gloves went up to the shoulder.

Most working class citizens of the 1880s would wear jackets, waistcoats, and corduroy trousers. The working women would wear ankle length skirts with boots and a blouse. Most women and men would wear long coats to protect their clothes from the elements.

No author.2013. 1880s in fashion.




Jenny Williams. 2/17/04. The Chinese Exclusion Act.

No author. 2006. Men and Women fashion of the 1880s.

No author. 2013. 50 famous people of the 1880s.'s_period

Peggy Whitley. 2003. American cultural history.

No author. 2011. U.S. population of the 1880s.

No Author. 2013. Territorial Evolution of the U.S.

No author. 2013. American Frontier.

No author. 2003. American outlaws.

No author. 2005. Religious leaders.

No author. 2013. American timeline.

No author. 2013. Largest American cities.

No Author. 2013. Thomas Edison.

No author. 2013. Walt Whitman.

No author. 2013. James A. Garfield.

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