Levittown: Hard to find one of those original boxes now
The Cape Cods that first became available in 1947 — with four rooms, one bathroom and among other modern amenities a Hotpoint electric range in every kitchen — were offered for $6,990, and 800-square-foot ranch homes went for $7,990.
These days, the little boxes have been individually renovated, remodeled and enlarged beyond recognition. A decade ago, there were perhaps 200 unaltered Levitts left, but only a handful remain today. Even the Smithsonian Institution has been unable to obtain one to display.
On a walk down any of the fabled “thousand lanes” making up this famous suburb, there are ornate white-columned entranceways on boxy warehouse-looking homes next to gaudy miniature mansions with boxy extensions jutting out in all shapes and sizes.
comments powered by Disqus
Jonathan Dresner - 10/18/2007
It's true that the song was written for the Oakland hills -- I'm not a friend of Malvina Reynolds, but I've seen a documentary or two -- but the song resonated with people precisely because of the Levittown-style mass-produced housing became widespread.
William Mandel - 10/18/2007
The song was written by my friend Malvina Reynolds of Berkeley, California. She was struck by the little box residences built in San Francisco after World War Two, not by Levittown, N.Y. It is interesting that the word "ticky-tacky" she invented to describe what they were made of has gained the status of inclusion in dictionaries.
- Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism
- In a county that tried to amend U.S. history course, a lesson in politics
- Overhauling La Guardia, an Airport With a Historical Name but a Tarnished Image
- Japanese textbooks may sanitize history, but comic art books don't
- Academic Seeks Death Certificate for Outlaw Billy the Kid
- Murderer of historian of Czech Jewry goes on trial
- Election results are in for the American Historical Association
- Nial Ferguson warns Obama’s bet on Iran has low odds of success