America's First Suburb Turns 60

Levittown, Long Island held a 60th birthday bash for itself on Sept. 30, complete with parades, to celebrate its creation from a potato field for GIs returning from World War II. It would go on to become America's iconic suburb.

"It was October 1947 when developer William Jaird Levitt opened the first of what became 17,544 Cape Cod and ranch houses rising from blighted potato fields 40 miles east of New York City, handing post-World War II GIs the keys to their American Dream.

It was an instant success, a prototype widely chronicled and duplicated nationwide."

"Levitt initially prohibited blacks from joining the suburban exodus. After Supreme Court rulings and the civil rights movement, minorities were eventually permitted to purchase homes, but Levittown remains a largely white community."

"I think black people were hurt and offended by the blatant rejection, and simply when given the opportunity chose to go elsewhere," said Barbara Kelly, former director of the Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra and author of "Expanding the American Dream: Building and Rebuilding Levittown."

Thanks to Mark Boshnack

Full Story: Pioneer baby boom community turns 60


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