Levittown, Pa.
Building the Suburban Dream
 

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Planning, Building and Selling Levittown The Suburban Dream

Ranch House Pioneers

Becoming a Levittowner

Kidsville, USA

Levittown Electronic Hearth

Home & Garden

Main Street


Levittown Kitchen


Exhibit acknowledgements

 

Becoming a Levittowner
COMMUNITY LIFE


for sale cartoon
From J.A. Halperin brochure; Publicity photo for Levittown. Courtesy of Jack Connolly

"Everybody lives on the same side of the tracks. They have no slums to fret about, no families of conspicuous wealth to envy, no traditional upper crust to whet and thwart their social aspirations."
Saturday Evening Post,
1954.

Levittowners came from diverse backgrounds, but as new homeowners with families they shared many of the same concerns and interests. Community life reflected both the inherent diversity of Levittown's residents and their new-found commonality.

Publicity photo for Levittown as featured in a local real estate brochure. [Jack Connolly]

 


Levittown Civic Association

Repro page, community calendar from Suburbia] Courtesy of Jerry Jonas.The Levittown Civic Association encompassed a broad range of interests—from stamp collecting to community theater. Joining helped foster a common identity among new residents, most of whom were strangers to one another before moving to Levittown.

"Community Calendar" from Suburbia Magazine. [Jerry Jonas]

Women dominated the memberships of most civic organizations, including the Levittown Art Association. For housewives in particular, the suburbs offered new opportunities for leisure and self expression.

Levittown Art Association gathering.

 

 

Levittown Art Association gathering. [Jerry Jonas]

 


The Suburban Melting Pot

"From the beginning there has been this unusual mix of liberal and conservative, Bronx born Jew and Nanticoke coal cracker …"
Levittown resident

Dedication Letter from the chancellor of the Philadelphia Roman Catholic Diocese announcing the creation of St. Michael's parish in Levittown.Although Levittown excluded African Americans, it was hardly "lily white." The community boasted a large Catholic and Jewish population. Protestants, often regarded as the suburban majority, were actually underrepresented.

Letter from the Philadelphia Roman Catholic Diocese announcing the creation of St. Michael's Parish in Levittown.

St. Michael the Archangel was the first Roman Catholic church to serve Levittown's substantial Catholic population. With so many young families with school-aged children, the parish built its parochial school first and delayed construction of its church for 14 years. Levittown's Catholics came from the city of Philadelphia, as well as from northeastern and Western Pennsylvania.

 
George Carmichael inspects his new house on Jasmine Road, in the Juniper Hills section of Levittown.

Carmichael enjoys his first dinner„on moving boxes„in his new home.

Pastor Joseph Collins poses next to the proposed site of his parish's first parochial school. With so many young families, schooling was a top priority.

Women participating in Block Rosary devotion in a Levittown house. [Jerry Jonas]


Levittown, Pa.?

Although united by a common builder, Levittown was divided across four municipalities, each with its own school system, regulations and codes, and tax structure. As a political unit, Levittown did not exist.

Levittown's boundaries overlap with four municipalities in lower Bucks County, as shown in this "info" graphic map. [Bucks County Courier Times]

In 1953, some residents promoted incorporation as a means of uniting Levittowners around common issues and concerns. Their efforts were defeated, mainly because residents of some townships feared it would bring higher property taxes.

cover

inside page

Pages from a self-published booklet urging Levittowners to incorporate.
[Levittown Regional Library]

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State Museum of Pennsylvania Copyright © 2003 The State Museum of Pennsylvania