Bonus points if you recognize this place…

Answer below the break…

Levittown , New York , in 1948 shortly after the mass-produced suburb was completed on Long Island farmland in New York . This prototypical suburban community was the first of many mass-produced housing developments that went up for soldiers coming home from World War II. It also became a symbol of postwar suburbia in the U.S. Using techniques learned in the Seabees, Levitt & Sons built the community with an eye towards speed, efficiency, and cost-effective construction; these methods led to a production rate of 30 houses a day by July 1948. They used pre-cut lumber and nails shipped from their own factories in Blue Lake, California, and built on concrete slabs.

And one for us old car nuts…

I’ll take the old days…




TBT… — 20 Comments

  1. while “urban sprawl” is anathema to Sierra Club members et al., haven’t heard them spouting off about the need for more vertical high density housing since the Kung Flu came n the scene.

  2. Hey Old NFO

    I kinda liked the older version now. You DID notice that urban planning lemmings have quit trying to shove us into all these big cities to “Save Gaia” since the Kung-Flu made its appearance. Humans are not made to live in huge cities, but the social planners who live in the upper strata loove the idea of shoving the “Hoi Pelloi” into the tenements that they designed for the “lesser ones.”

  3. Levittown, but I’ve studied those, so no points for me. 🙂 Interestingly, you cannot find an unmodified Levitt house anymore. In fact, within very few years, all the originals had been improved, repainted, decorated, landscaped, and otherwise modified to suit their owners. The Smithsonian and an architectural group went looking for an original Levitt house, and came up darn near empty-handed. It was easier to find Sears houses in their original form than a like-new Levitt house!

  4. I’ll take the old days, any day of the week (and twice on Sundays!). Urban planners continue to design “dream towns” with lots of green belts, and everyone within walking distance of work. Then, as now, they fail to convince business owners to place stores & factories according the dream. Strange how that works, eh?

    • I actually live in a town of 40,000 that started as a planned community on 35,000 acres. Lots of industrial park. Commercial is woven in to a village configuration. Green belts (judiciously placed to avoid easement issues with lots for homes). Dig a sewer line? Well, lay a golf cart path on top of it. 120 miles of golf cart path in total. It is beautiful and a darn nice place to grow up and in turn raise my own family. Certainly it was designed by a fellow we call our token pinko. There are plans and then their are good plans. And just to be clear about my leanings TRUMP MMXX! MAGAA baby!

  5. Levittown immediately came to mind. I lived in Levittown, PA back in the 50’s, can still remember the street address and the cute girl that lived across the street.

    • Grew up in Fairless Hills and went to school and had friends in Snowball Gate, North Park and Forsythia sections.

      We used to laugh that if the Russians invade PA we would lead them into Levittown and they would be lost forever. Not a straight road to be found.

  6. All- Thanks for the comments, and TXRed, I remember seeing an article on that. Cookie cutter = modify… At least with the Craftsman bungalows, you had those options right out of the gate.

    Posted from my iPhone.

  7. I read an article on the psychology behind no straight lines in the roads. That was really on purpose, as straight roads encouraged people to speed and also made it hard to navigate, something about the mind-numbingness of straight this and straight that.

    So what do you find in a lot of cities? Straight roads, right angles, sameness around every corner.

    The houses and yards were meant to be modified. Fences, bushes and trees, play equipment, maybe a little backyard shack for grilling and hanging out (funny how grilling became popular with the introduction of suburbs and such.)

    You see the same thing in the sameness communities of the late 60’s through 90’s where there are 2-3 basic models one could select, all looking similar, some modification allowed, all come with almost the same bushes and one lone tree in the front yard or back yard. 2-3 basic paint schemes, too. Almost immediate modification by planting this, removing that. Then things get really crazy when repainting and reroofing occurs.

    Of course, almost inevitably right on the heels of the first real boom in changes comes the creation of Home Owner Associations in the next round of planned communities in order to keep the original ‘feel’ of the very boring neighborhood.

    One of my brothers lived in Celebrations, the planned urban community designed by Disney in Kissimmee. Cars that were parked outside could only be so old, not show rust or modification. Houses all had to stay with the original paint scheme. Yards had to be maintained to Disney level. And, of course, first hurricane to go through the area (at tropical storm level, of course) showed that most of the houses were built like crap and leaked. Much lawsuits ensued.

    I’m not even going to touch on the bullscat inherent in the second of the bottom two pictures. All for free expression, not for having it crammed down my throat.

  8. I was reassigned to March AFB, and bought a house in a near by development. Took me a few months to realize that there were only 3 house plans and the mirror-imaged houses. Don’t know when the development went in, but I’m guessing it was 15-20 years earlier. Trees and plantings distracted our eyes.

  9. I have a year or two on Old NFO and now live in rural Alaska. I was born and raised on Long Island in a house built in 1947 on a prewar subdivision lot by ma master builder grand father and family and friends when my father returned from the war. One of my earliest memories was the national guard practicing a landing on dredged up land on the south shore not far from my house. When I was in grade school they built a Levittown like subdivision of about fifty houses on slabs on said dredged up land! When I was in college some of these houses were already getting humpbacked because of slab failure so I said Long Island right away even though I have never seen it from the air!

    • I grew up just south of Levitt town on Long Island in Wantagh. Now I too live in Alaska. Have for 44 years, never going to leave.

      • I lived in Merrick…

        ‘Spent three years on Kodiak while in the military. …’Loved it up there…

  10. My dad lived there… I lived about five miles from there.

    …You can tell a Levitt house from SPACE!

  11. Beans- Which is why I will NEVER live in an HOA or subdivision by choice…

    Sam- Captive audience… If you ever go to DC, drive around northern Virginia just across the river. All the brick duplexes were senior enlisted/officer housing built in WWII for the Pentagon. They’re STILL in pretty good shape, if small.

    Tom- WOW!

  12. “and they’re all made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same”

    • Yeah, said the snooty estate owners… the proles should be happy with tenements, as is their natural lot!

      Levittown houses had more space than most people were used to, “single-family dwellings” when it was unusual enough to have its own term, with actual lawns between them. And they were brand-new, *nice* houses, better then some roach-infested apartment with crazed neighbors beating on the walls.

      You can find a lot of ranting about how horrible Levittown was, but damned little of it from anyone who actually lived there.