William Levitt used the knowledge he gained while serving in World War II building mass-produced military housing to satisfy the demand of returning veterans by quickly erecting thousands of homes on Long Island. At the same time his construction company created what is considered the first modern American suburb. We dug into the archives to find these historic photos of Levittown from the early years.
From the Levittown Public Library collection, this photo shows moving-in day in Levittown. On October 1, 1947, the first 300 families moved into rental capes.
According to the Levittown Historical Society, prior to 1947, the Levittown area consisted of two settlements: Jerusalem and Island Trees. Jerusalem began in the 1640’s as a Quaker settlement centered around Wantagh Avenue and Southern State Parkway. After the Civil War, German immigrants coming in from Hicksville established farms along Hempstead Turnpike, Division Avenue, and Bloomingdale Road in an area known from colonial times as Island Trees.
Photo: Levittown History Collection. Image is for private, educational and non-commercial use only.
The description of this photo taken on December 24, 1949 says that it shows “Levittown looking west with Wantagh State Parkway across the bottom and Hempstead Turnpike running top to bottom. By November of 1951 the last house was built on Tardy Lane.”
The photo is part of the Levittown Public Library collection and is used here for educational purposes only.
Photo: Levittown Public Library Digital Collection. Levittown History Collection.
Levittown houses. Mrs. Robert Berman, residence at 3626 Regent Lane.
Photo: No known restrictions on publication. Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer. Created / Published. 1958 Aug. 28. [LC-DIG-gsc-5a25985 (digital file from original) LC-G613-72792 (b&w film neg.)]
Levittown houses. Peg Brennan, residence at 25 Winding Lane.
Photo: No known restrictions on publication. Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer. Created / Published. 1958 Aug. 28. [LC-G613-72793 (b&w film neg.)]
Aerial view of Levittown housing development on Long Island, New York. 1954.