Our History: The 70s In America

Hey, it’s time to take a chill pill. We’re headed for the groovy 70s. Let’s set the stage for this significant decade. President Nixon was inaugurated to his second term in office (73). The Supreme Court ruled in what was at that time a landmark case and Roe v. Wade was born (73).
On January 27, 1973, the Paris Peace Accord was signed, and thankfully the Vietnam war was over. It was a war that created conflict with other countries and especially within our own USA.
The decade was an investigation into music, art, drugs, science, exploration, and noncompliance (the 60s too!). It was also a decade that transformed Flagler County. Palm Coast was created in 1969 and in 1970 started celebrating with growth, parties, celebrities, golf and finding its way in the South. New York City (ITT) meet Flagler County, Florida. Over time a relationship was forged but neither party backed down because neither wanted to lose their identity. As opposed to the young people who were trying to find it.
It was the Me Decade in the 70s and good, bad, and scary memories were created. Do you remember Jaws (75), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (75) and never mind The Exorcist (73).
Fabulous bands produced music never heard before. If you can relate to Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), Aqualung (Jethro Tull), and Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin) you were there.
But the 70s wasn’t enjoyed by only the young getting down with rock and roll. There were other songs that spoke to generations. If you know “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” (73) you are now singing the lyrics. Other top chart songs included, The Morning After and Touch me in the Morning. Do you still dance like Saturday Night Fever or remember who yelled, Adrian? Groovy.
The 70s was a decade of many fashions — but surely it was out with Dior and Chanel and in with threads like bell bottoms, tie dye, bohemian style, and collars up. Garments of stripes, plaid and large patterns were abundant at social gatherings in the original Palm Coast Yacht Club, at the Centennial Celebration, and I’m sure at the now famous free buffets on Friday night.
Retired folks were moving to Palm Coast, but it was not intended to be a retirement community. Swim teams, soccer teams and more were created, and a new high school built. In one decade, the population of Flagler County grew by 5,969 people. Others were buying property for their future.
Palm Coast marketing sought buyers around the world. They were selling the perfect place to live, and the appeal was real. The Palm Coast Welcome Center played Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles continually, keeping Palm Coast in the times and creating a sense of sunny days and bright futures.
As the decade evolved the world turned in unexpected ways. Apollo 13 barely made it home safely, Watergate stunned the world, Kent State stunned the country, as did the turmoil felt by so many and normal relations with China were established. The Bicentennial (76) was a huge celebration as well as the first earth day. The environment was then and continues to be an ongoing priority as we see and feel the influence of poor past decisions.
The environment was a highly discussed topic in Palm Coast as well. The Flagler settlers who lived here for decades, if not centuries, watched as some 42,000 acres of pine forests, home to wildlife and human entrepreneurship, were cut down. Original streams and rivers were altered to accommodate canal homes. Unknown historic treasures were forever lost and turned over into deeper ground to hide what should have never been disturbed.
The first decade of Palm Coast was naturally a first for many things. Many celebrities visited Palm Coast and the news hype was high. But the most important feature of the decade was the people moving here and beginning a new life. The Civic Association and Volunteer Fire department were started. The first store (Handyway 73) and church (St. Mark by the Sea 76) would be built. Dr. Dunn and Dr. George Ledger were the first doctors and PCHS Board member, Greg Johnston (76) was the first dentist. Businesses opened and a community began to develop into a city.
Naturally, prices were lower. To complete this short review of what you might have considered the best time to be alive also remember that a loaf of bread was .25, gas was .57 and milk was $1.32 per gallon. Palm Coast homes started $15,990 and the minimum wage was $1.45 in February of 1970. Did you have fun waiting in line for gas during the embargo? During that time gas could only be bought on odd or even days…. all based on your license plate.
The 70s was a unique time with much more to share but for now that’s the skinny for early Palm Coast and our Country. As for me, it’s the Dancing Queen here serving you some American Pie and asking just how Deep Is Your Love? The magic of the 70s would soon fade but, as you know, the influence of history experienced first-hand is memorable and life altering. Let’s create some great history today for the future tomorrow.