You have heard of Levittown right?
Levittown, New York, is now notorious in American 20th century history as the first suburban mass-produced housing development. It cropped up after WW2 when service members were returning from overseas en masse and needed affordable housing.
An enterprising developer – Levitt & Sons – capitalized on that great need by pioneering the on-site home building assembly line which allowed them to produce houses at a rate of 30 per day!
[Note: The photo above is actually NOT of Levittown, as was pointed out to me by an astute reader with personal knowledge of the community. Read the explanation in the comments below]
Levittown houses sold for between $7,000 and $9,000 with payments as low as $57 a month. In all, 17,447 homes were constructed in Levittown between 1947 and 1951.
You can read more about the origins of Levittown here.
Over the decades, the homes of Levittown have grown with their owners. Most Levitt houses are nowhere near their original form after having been added onto – often haphazardly – as families grew and Americans grew to love their square footage.
I have been on the prowl for a Levittown home that is in as close to original condition as possible and I think I have finally found one!
This 1,114 square foot house was built on Jerusalem Avenue in Levittown in 1950. At first I thought it may have had the roof line modified and popped for more space. But I did a little research and sure enough, this home is an original Levitt & Sons design.
It was called “The Rancher” and it was one of the later models that prospective home buyers could choose from in the planned community.
The only alteration I can see from the historic brochure above, is that the garage has been enclosed as opposed to being left in the original carport style.
Have a look inside…
I would hazard a guess that the original owners still live in this house.
Since I love all things vintage, I think the decor is granny-fabulous!
In the kitchen, the cabinets and counter tops look like they could be original…
Typical of Levitt designed homes, this one has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
Apparently, I am not the only one on the hunt for an original Levittown home:
Levittown has become so ingrained in American culture that the Smithsonian Institution in Washington would like to put on display an entire Levittown house. Bill Yeingst, a historian with Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Domestic Life Division said “An original ranch model would be ideal. We would like someone to donate their Levittown house, or we would like to find a donor to provide the funds so that we could secure a Levittown house.” He noted that “The stories played out in suburban Levittown are the stories of America. They are stories important to everyone.” Although “None of this is set in concrete,” according to Mr. Yeingst, “the Levittown house would be dismantled at the site, transported to Washington and reconstructed. Then it would be exhibited along with other innovations in American home life.
But the Smithsonian needs to act fast because these Levittown cuties fly off the market. In the time I was writing this post, this particular house went under contract and will soon be sold.
Asking price for this near original Levittown house?