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History of Long Island: Levittown and Rise of Suburbia

This guide provides a variety of easily accessible resources that cover the history of Long Island from its original inhabitants to the growth of the suburbs. It is intended for adults who are unaware of its interesting history.

Levittown and the Rise of Suburbia


The end of World War II gave rise to the need for affordable homes for returning GI's and their families.  Abraham Levitt and his sons mass produced houses that could be quickly constructed.  Every finished home was equipped for television and had modern kitchens.  The GI Bill reduced the cost of the homes to $400.  Altogether 6,000 homes were built initially, and within two days of the community's 1947 announcement, half the properties were spoken for.  The community changed its name from Island Trees to Levittown in 1948. By 1951, there were over 17,000 Levitt-built homes in Levittown and the surrounding area.  Although the community seemed ideal, there was an underlying, shameful reality of racism and residential segregation that was indicative of Long Island (The Controversial History of Levittown, America's First Suburb).

Levittown: A Living History

A retrospective in the words of those who were there from the beginning.


The Buy of the Century - Levittown, NY, was one of the earliest and biggest planned communities in the US, providing low-cost home ownership to thousands of young families in the years following World War II. The $7,990 price per unit was an incredible value, even in the 1940's.

Levittown: The Imperfect Rise of the American Suburbs -  Levittown was a symbol of the American Dream to some; to others, it was a symbol of conformity and exclusion. The story of Levittown captures both the hopeful and darker sides of the rise of the American suburbs. Plus, there are informative videos embedded in the article.

A Slice of Long Island History

Defining Moments: The Civil Rights Movement in North Hempstead

 The oral histories of more than a dozen North Hempstead residents who had a role in the Civil Rights Movement and stories related to the African American struggle for equality in the 20th Century during the Civil Rights Movement in North Hempstead are presented in this documentary.