Levittowners are generally well-versed in the origin story of their neighborhood. We know the story of William Levitt, a WWII veteran who saw in the vast potato fields of Long Island the promise of a booming housing industry, catering to the returning hordes of young soldiers who were eager to put down roots in their own plots of land. We’ve heard how Levitt and his sons turned the building of houses into a mass industry, churning out compact homes complete with appliances and able to be rented for as little as $65 a month.
Over the years, these homes have changed shape and size, with cosmetic enhancements far ahead of William Levitt’s time; our school classrooms have added iMacs and SMART Boards; and our fashion trends have certainly changed many times over. More importantly, our community has changed. When Levittown made its debut in 1947, we were a community of one color. Today, we are a mix of many backgrounds and faiths. It is this diversity that is the greatest indicator of our progress as a community and the spirit of who we are today: open, welcoming, and forward-thinking.
To celebrate 70 years of Levittown, the LPL will be hosting Levittown Cultural Day on Saturday, September 9th from 10:30 to 3:30. In conjunction with the Levittown Historical Society, we will showcase vintage fashions, historical pictures, and other special artifacts from our shared past. If you’ve ever explored the LPL’s History Collection, you know we have an abundance of photographs, maps, articles, and other documentation that together trace the progression of our town. One of my favorite parts of our collection are the local yearbooks, including those for the now-defunct Levittown Memorial High School. These will be on display, as well, so you can sneak a peek at the high school photos of your parents grandparents. We will also host writers, musicians, and other guest speakers with ties to Levittown’s past and present. If you have a special talent and a tie to Levittown, consider volunteering your time to participate in this special day. Applications can be found on our website and will be accepted until September 1st.
Lastly, it was a happy surprise to discover The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article about our little town. There is no link to the article because unfortunately, like many online periodicals, there is a paywall. Thankfully, the Levittown Public Library provides a great selection of databases for cardholders, including The Wall Street Journal, which carries full-text articles from 1984 to the present. To read Jerry Ciancolo’s article “Happy 70th to True American Suburbia,” follow these instructions or ask a librarian for help:
- Research & History
- Letter → “W”
- Wall Street Journal (If you are not in the building, click “home”)
- Enter your library card number
- Search for the article by title or author, and enjoy!
We hope to see you at Levittown Cultural Day on September 9th!