Its good to be the King of Suburbia

William Levitt was born on February 11th 1907. He was the son of Abraham who during the Great depression would start his own Housing Company with his sons appropriately called Levitt and sons. Before the Second World War William Levitt would take over his father’s company as president and with his brother Alfred he was able to gain a government contract in 1941 to create 2350, units of housing for military workers in Virginia.  After the war on July 1st, 1947 they would build a new series of homes along the coast of Long Island and would lead to 17,000 homes, which would later be known as Levittown . In Levittown the houses were so Low that with a $58 a person could buy a house and with it came the benefits of a free washing machine and television. With its low costs it was a welcome place for a returning American soldier who after serving in the army had made very little income. The houses that Levitt built would also be marketed to the average common American.

William Levitt’s legacy however would be a mixed one. One issue that would harm William Levitt’s Legacy was the racism in Levittown. This would lead to civil rights demonstrations at another Levitt housing development in Bowie, Md. With his selling of so many houses even though they were cheap he made incredible profit and sold his company to ITT Corp for $92 in stock. He would use the stock to fund housing projects in other places including Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria however when the stock’s value plummeted he lost most of money to fund housing projects and died in massive debt on January 28th 1994.

Questions for consideration:

What were the benefits of William Levitts Levittown to returning American Soldiers?

Is it possible to overlook the negatives of racism and government dependency Levitt and Sons when building Levittowns?

How effective were the methods of the assembly line that William Levitt used in creating his new suburbs?


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