Oh my gawd, Levittown is turning 60 years old. The Long Island subdivision and hamlet that became the poster child for suburbia has been going at it for 60 years now. Growing up not far from the town it was always an icon. Those that moved there were fiercely proud of the homes they had bought, and many from Manhattan were intensely condescending to the community.
But those that bought the seven thousand dollar ranches being build after the war have seen the properties improve in value. Homes in Levittown now sell for over four hundred thousand dollars, not a bad appreciation over 60 years.
And all the countless subdivisions and builders that owe their existence to William Levitt for taking the risk and building his namesake should take a moment to give thanks. They may not be the most exciting homes, but over the past 60 years they have been homes to thousands of families. And that is not all bad.
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.
Cape Cods originally sold for $6,990; ranches were slightly more expensive. Each house had four rooms, a bath, an unfinished attic and amenities — steel kitchen cabinets, Bendix washer, GE refrigerator, Hotpoint electric range.
None had basements, since excavations would have slowed the almost assembly line construction. Today, “you can’t get a house in Levittown for less than $400,000,” Cassano said almost incredulously. via The Associated Press