image of Turn of the Century
The Turn of the Century
(January 2000)

image of William McKinleyWhat was it like at the turn of the century? Here's a quick look back at the year 1900. William McKinley was our 25th President (1897-1901). The depression of 1893 had almost run its course and with it the extreme agitation over silver currency. McKinley enacted The Gold Standard Act (1900) that declared the gold dollar to be the sole standard of currency. 

image of 1900 WomanBy 1900 the American nation had established itself as a world power. The West was won and the continent was settled from coast to coast. The Indians were on reservations and the buffalo were gone. Homesteading and the introduction of barbed wire in 1874 had brought an end to the open range. The McCormick reaper had made large-scale farming profitable and, in 1900, the U.S. was by far the world's largest agricultural producer. The nation had 193,000 miles of railroad track with five railroad systems spanning the continent. Major oil fields were being tapped in Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. The supply of American oil seemed limitless. John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust dominated the world's petroleum markets and controlled more than 90 percent of the nation's refinery capacity. The United States was the largest steel producer in the world, turning out 10,000,000 tons a year.

By 1900, telephones were in wide use, cities were being electrified, moving pictures were a curiosity, Guglielmo Marconi was conducting experiments that would lead to the development of the radio, and the Wright brothers were at work on a heavier-than-air flying machine. The Kodak Brownie camera was introduced in 1900 making photography cheaper and simpler.

What did it cost back then?
Sugar 4 cents a pound
Eggs 14 cents a dozen
Potatoes 40 cents a bushel
Butter 25 cents a pound
Wheat 70 cents a bushel
Turkey dinner 20 cents
Supper or breakfast 15 cents
Hotel rates $1 per day
Ladies' nightgowns 19 cents
Gingham 5 cents a yard
Men's suits $13 to $17
Store cashier wages $8 a week


image of Happy New YearEl Dorado County is quite thankful for the comforts and conveniences of this century and look forward to the next 100 years .