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.

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