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The Birth of the Suburbs

While it was officially Levittown's 60th birthday on October 12th, I wanted to wait until Veterans Day to talk about this historic suburb. Sixty years (and one month) ago, the nation's first postwar living community — or suburb — was established in Nassau County, New York, in what is now known as Levittown, Long Island.

Built by the firm of Levitt & Sons, Incorporated, between 1947 and 1951, Levittown provided affordable housing for World War II veterans and their families, and a home could be bought for as little as $7,000. Levittown quickly became the model for similar suburban communities, which soon exploded all over the country. Unfortunately though, Levittown was far from a utopian dream. A written clause stated that a Levitt home could not “be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race." While this clause was dropped in 1948, an unwritten policy of racial exclusion continued.


Join The Conversation
ovenmitt ovenmitt 9 years
i grew up on long island and never knew the racist side of the levitt and sons. random trivia - billy joel grew up in a levitt home in old hicksville and references levittown in his songs.
HoneyLuv89 HoneyLuv89 9 years
ahhh! i had no idea this existed, how disturbing!!! very interesting stuff though, gives some insight into modern-day suburbs and that whole situation. (lol @ terry!!!) but seriously...this is my country. hard to fathom sometimes.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
Levitt & Sons also built a Levittown in Puerto Rico and one just a few minutes north of Philly. My step-grandmother lived in Levittown, PA. It reminded me of the town from The Stepford Wives.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
Are non-Caucasians allergic to these homes? Maybe they were looking out for the health...
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
and so it remains to this day. my parents live in the suburbs of louisville, ky, and there is one black family and one asian family in their neighborhood. the one jewish family moved. i never, ever want to live in that kind of willfully homogenized environment.
Rachel419 Rachel419 9 years
My grandmother lives in Levittown. It is the nicest suburb i've ever been in. My mother grew up there and every other Thanksgiving (including this one!) we go to visit. I love how all the streets are named after flowers!
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