Levittown Historical Society And Museum

Levittown Historical Society And Museum The society is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to preserving the Legacy of Levittown. The museum is closed during all school holidays/breaks.

06/03/2019

A History of the Levittown Fire Dept.
Russell Curley, firefighter, local historian, and board member of the Levittown Historical Society & Museum explores the history of firefighting in Levittown and the men and women who protect this community. June 17, 2019 7:30pm Levittown Museum. Levittown Memorial Education Ctre. 150 Abbey Ln. Levittown.

06/03/2019

D-Day +75
The key to being able to mass-produce more houses in a single day than the average homebuilder ten years ago could have built in a single year - and with more modern features and lower asking price - was organization of logistics, manpower, and material. Levittown, as Abraham Levitt pointed out in a 1957 interview, was as much a revolution in business management as of construction. Levittown is amongst a number of enormous undertakings that would have seemed utterly impossible just a few years earlier: The Manhattan Project, the Interstate Highway System,the Apollo missions to the Moon, and D-Day........June 6, 2019, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.It is easy to compose a list of all the things that could have gone wrong. That it was a success is owed to the organizational genius of Gen. Eisenhower and the other Allied military leaders. The choreography of this vast operation is incomprehensible even today. But the genius of D-Day ought not distract us from the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of the soldiers involved. There were an estimated 209,000 Allied casualties that day. .....Many never returned home from the war. Many never got beyond the beaches of Normandy. But, over the years, I have had the good fortune of personally knowing a few who were there.They are a wonder to contemplate:The most ordinary men who were called upon to do the most extraordinary deeds and approached the task - and indeed, life in general - with a blend of courage and humility. -PM

Historical Society members in our Memorial Day Parade!Frank McKenna, Jessie Koenig, Geri Raab, Paul Manton, Jonny Koenig...
05/29/2019

Historical Society members in our Memorial Day Parade!

Frank McKenna, Jessie Koenig, Geri Raab, Paul Manton, Jonny Koenig, and Bob Koenig all marched in this beautiful weather day.

It was a special event for both spectator and parader alike. The Memory of our Veterans lives on.

05/22/2019

JOIN US MEMORIAL DAY.
It's frequently the case of human nature that we are wont to very quickly take our good fortune for granted and, as such, sometimes the best way to truly appreciate that good fortune is to contemplate never having had the opportunity to enjoy it. Levittown was initially created for homecoming GI's on the heels of both the greatest housing shortage in American history and the greatest military de-mobilization in American history. Those row-upon-row-upon-row of mass-produced Levitt houses were 'homes for heroes' and nothing better symbolized a nation everlastingly grateful for the men and women in the armed services than our community. Alas, not everyone enjoyed the fruits of those toils, travails, hardships, dangers, and sacrifices. Not everyone came home to Levittown. Not everyone came home.
On Monday we will commemorate, celebrate, salute,and poignantly pause to recall those who never came home. Come join the Levittown Historical Society & Museum at 9:00am behind the Island Trees Memorial Middle School on Wantagh Avenue as we march in the annual Levittown Memorial Day Parade. -PM.

05/20/2019

May 20th.
May 20th is a date of some significance in local history. One May 20, 1648, Robert Williams, a Welshman and convert to Quakerism, met with Pugnipan of the Matinecock Indians whereupon the English were granted settlement rights to what would today be Hicksville. The southernmost bounds of the treaty - "thence upponne a Est line to the wodes..." - was adopted in 1653 as the Town Line and is consequently the boundary between Hicksville and Levittown.....On May 20, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opened for business. The span in the years that followed allowed for more extensive population growth and commercial expansion and the merging of the City of Brooklyn with the City of New York.......On May 20, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh made his famous solo Atlantic crossing turning him into an overnight international celebrity. Two years later, he presided over the opening of the Long Island Aviation Country Club which was located in the future Levittown where Blacksmith, Horn, Haymaker,Tanager,and Restful roads are located today. -PM

Throwback Thursday. OK,this one is only from 2016.But here is the point: A community is only as strong, vital,as good a ...
05/16/2019

Throwback Thursday.
OK,this one is only from 2016.But here is the point: A community is only as strong, vital,as good a place to live as the degree to which its people volunteer their time and talent in supporting local organizations.

Chamber of Commerce Plaque for the Levittown Historical Society.

05/14/2019
Levittown Historical Society And Museum

Levittown Historical Society And Museum

Ford and Levitt.
On October 24, 1908, a few weeks after he introduced his first Model T, industrialist Henry Ford sat in the grandstand of the 4th Vanderbilt Cup Race (today's Orchid and Skimmer roads in Levittown) and watched the state-of-the-art in horseless carriage technology being showcased. An automobile back then could fetch up to $30,000 - that's in 1908 dollars. But, within a year, Ford mass-produced 10,666 Model T's and sold them for $825 each. By 1920 he was mass-producing 941,042 units at $395 each. At its cheapest, in 1926,a Model T could be purchased for $260. Working class people could now afford to live where rent/mortgages were less expensive and commute to work where jobs were available and paid better and they could afford to save money in the bank. Ford had increased the standard-of-living of millions of Americans.......On October 1, 1947, exactly thirty-nine years to the day the first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line,the first families were moving into their new, modern, efficient, and highly affordable mass-produced Levitt & Sons homes. At a time when a new suburban house could cost between $14,000 and $20,000, Levitt was building them for under $8000. Production was as extraordinary as Ford's:1947 (800 houses), 1848 (5,200 houses), 1949 (4,192 houses),1950 (4,755 houses), and 1951 (2,500 houses). Not included in these figures are the roads, parks, pools, landscaping, and community facilities. Levitt would then go on to build real estate developments throughout the world and, like Henry Ford, would see his mass-production techniques and business model emulated in many industries......What both Ford and Levitt preached and practiced was a philosophy grounded in the idea that a more modern, prosperous, peaceful, and progressive society comes about through mass-production, high wages, affordability, profitability, and re-investment. -PM

05/14/2019
Levittown Historical Society And Museum

Levittown Historical Society And Museum

Ford and Levitt.
On October 24, 1908, a few weeks after he introduced his first Model T, industrialist Henry Ford sat in the grandstand of the 4th Vanderbilt Cup Race (today's Orchid and Skimmer roads in Levittown) and watched the state-of-the-art in horseless carriage technology being showcased. An automobile back then could fetch up to $30,000 - that's in 1908 dollars. But, within a year, Ford mass-produced 10,666 Model T's and sold them for $825 each. By 1920 he was mass-producing 941,042 units at $395 each. At its cheapest, in 1926,a Model T could be purchased for $260. Working class people could now afford to live where rent/mortgages were less expensive and commute to work where jobs were available and paid better and they could afford to save money in the bank. Ford had increased the standard-of-living of millions of Americans.......On October 1, 1947, exactly thirty-nine years to the day the first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line,the first families were moving into their new, modern, efficient, and highly affordable mass-produced Levitt & Sons homes. At a time when a new suburban house could cost between $14,000 and $20,000, Levitt was building them for under $8000. Production was as extraordinary as Ford's:1947 (800 houses), 1848 (5,200 houses), 1949 (4,192 houses),1950 (4,755 houses), and 1951 (2,500 houses). Not included in these figures are the roads, parks, pools, landscaping, and community facilities. Levitt would then go on to build real estate developments throughout the world and, like Henry Ford, would see his mass-production techniques and business model emulated in many industries......What both Ford and Levitt preached and practiced was a philosophy grounded in the idea that a more modern, prosperous, peaceful, and progressive society comes about through mass-production, high wages, affordability, profitability, and re-investment. -PM

05/14/2019

Ford and Levitt.
On October 24, 1908, a few weeks after he introduced his first Model T, industrialist Henry Ford sat in the grandstand of the 4th Vanderbilt Cup Race (today's Orchid and Skimmer roads in Levittown) and watched the state-of-the-art in horseless carriage technology being showcased. An automobile back then could fetch up to $30,000 - that's in 1908 dollars. But, within a year, Ford mass-produced 10,666 Model T's and sold them for $825 each. By 1920 he was mass-producing 941,042 units at $395 each. At its cheapest, in 1926,a Model T could be purchased for $260. Working class people could now afford to live where rent/mortgages were less expensive and commute to work where jobs were available and paid better and they could afford to save money in the bank. Ford had increased the standard-of-living of millions of Americans.......On October 1, 1947, exactly thirty-nine years to the day the first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line,the first families were moving into their new, modern, efficient, and highly affordable mass-produced Levitt & Sons homes. At a time when a new suburban house could cost between $14,000 and $20,000, Levitt was building them for under $8000. Production was as extraordinary as Ford's:1947 (800 houses), 1848 (5,200 houses), 1949 (4,192 houses),1950 (4,755 houses), and 1951 (2,500 houses). Not included in these figures are the roads, parks, pools, landscaping, and community facilities. Levitt would then go on to build real estate developments throughout the world and, like Henry Ford, would see his mass-production techniques and business model emulated in many industries......What both Ford and Levitt preached and practiced was a philosophy grounded in the idea that a more modern, prosperous, peaceful, and progressive society comes about through mass-production, high wages, affordability, profitability, and re-investment. -PM

Levittown museum in Virtual Second Life!  Can you tell who that avatar is supposed to be?
05/13/2019

Levittown museum in Virtual Second Life! Can you tell who that avatar is supposed to be?

Our Society members contribute in all sorts of ways. Levittown Historical Society Vice President Bob Koenig is featured ...
05/12/2019

Our Society members contribute in all sorts of ways. Levittown Historical Society Vice President Bob Koenig is featured in a World AIDS Marathon t-shirt and will be singing our national anthem at the 12th annual 5K AIDS Cancer Run Walk in Baldwin Park on June 9, 2019. He is standing with the hosts of the run, Jodi and Richard Brodsky.

Bill Wilson. Like all of our teaching staff, board,and docents, Bill is a volunteer. He gets paid nothing and yet, like ...
05/10/2019

Bill Wilson. Like all of our teaching staff, board,and docents, Bill is a volunteer. He gets paid nothing and yet, like all our teachers,he is priceless.

Geri Raab,one of the Levittown Museum's teachers. Heritage is not just about the past, it is about bringing the past to ...
05/10/2019

Geri Raab,one of the Levittown Museum's teachers. Heritage is not just about the past, it is about bringing the past to the next generation.

One of our teachers, Irene Metzler. Passing the legacy of our community on to the next generation is the most important ...
05/10/2019

One of our teachers, Irene Metzler. Passing the legacy of our community on to the next generation is the most important thing we do at the Levittown Museum.

The Abbey Lane second graders came to tour the museum today.  They had a wonderful time and were so well behaved.  The t...
05/10/2019

The Abbey Lane second graders came to tour the museum today. They had a wonderful time and were so well behaved. The tour was led by "Miss Geri, Miss Irene and Mr. Bill." They played games, answered questions, learned about Levittown history and won prizes.

Levittown Historical Society & Museum Vice President Bob Koenig with a photograph of the Levitts. It would be impossible...
05/10/2019

Levittown Historical Society & Museum Vice President Bob Koenig with a photograph of the Levitts. It would be impossible to overstate Bob's contribution to our community as an historian, songwriter, singer, and activist.

05/10/2019

What than,is the Levittown story?
Imagine a book about Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and most of the book is about racial segregation in the U.S. Navy with the Japanese air raid and subsequent entry of America treated almost as an afterthought.And imagine if,as a result of this kind of reporting, there are millions of people who know very little about the events of December 7, 1941 except for segregation in the U.S. Navy. That's how Levittown's history has been treated by many individuals and by many media sources. .....Now, it's true that the 1947/1948 Cape Cod rental contracts had a "whites only" clause in them. That was because virtually every housing development in the U.S. prior to 1949 had such clauses. Banks,mortgage companies, and the Federal Housing Administration would not lend money to developers who did not have such clauses and it did not matter if - as in the case of William Levitt - the builder was personally opposed to such policies. The author who makes segregation in the U.S Navy the prime focus of December 7, 1941 has completely missed the Pearl Harbor story and the cynical, almost fetish-like preoccupation with "whites only" clauses has missed the Levittown story by a mile.........So what, than, is the Levittown story? ....The Levittown story is the story of the most fundamental industry is society, save agriculture, being brought into the modern era. Before Levittown, homes were built the way they were built when George Washington was born. After Levittown, homes - entire communities -were built the way Henry Ford built cars. The mass-production, labor, purchasing, civil-engineering, and business management techniques pioneered here by Levitt & Sons turned home-building into a modern industrial process that came to be emulated throughout the globe.......The Levittown story is the story of the transformation of a nation from rural/urban to largely suburban; from a nation of renters to a nation of homeowners........The Levittown story is also the story of human potential and possibilities; of the power of a nation to unleash its creative energies and genius towards constructive national goals.The people who settled Levittown in the late 40's and 50's were people who lived through the poverty of the Great Depression and the hardships and horrors of the War. In just a few years,all of that was completely reversed and Levittown was an important part of that.........The Levittown story is these and countless others and can't be reduced to clause in a 1940's rental agreement any more than America entering World War Two can be reduced to a footnote about naval personnel policy. -PM

05/10/2019
05/07/2019

May 7, 1947.
On this day Levitt & Sons publicly announced plans to erect 2000 Cape Cod rentals on land purchased from the Merillion Estate Company in 1943. They would be exclusively for veterans, would be to let at $56/month, and would be built using experimental mass-production techniques Levitt & Sons had been working on since building for U.S. naval personnel and shipyard workers in Virginia during the War. Within forty-eight hours, they received some 4,600 phone calls from GI's interested in applying....Here began the first inkling that the Company would be mass-producing not merely houses but entire communities. The building industry had entered the era that in many ways was first defined by Henry Ford. Construction began on July 5, 1947. -PM.

05/02/2019

THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
Join the Society as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI landing on the Moon with a discussion of the Apollo missions, memorabilia related to the Moon landings and early space program, and the prospects for future space exploration. Levittown Museum. May 20, 2019. 7:30pm.

04/22/2019

Ceaselessly defending our history.
As President of the Levittown Historical Society& Museum,I frequently contend with the same issues confronting churches, synagogues,preservationist groups,literary societies,museums, and -of course - other historical societies. To wit: A decline in recent yeas in donations,membership, attendance, and volunteerism in an era of increasing public apathy. But unlike the historical societies in other communities, we contend with the fact that our community is world-famous as the prototype for modern suburban living. It has larger socioeconomic, cultural, and political ramifications as the quintessential example of "the American Dream". Our Museum welcomes patrons from overseas and I frequently field e-mails and phone calls from journalists, social studies professors, and business people out-of-state and beyond this nation's boarders.With that,however,also comes our share of "hate mail".
Now such "hate mail" represents a very tiny proportion of all correspondence and is easily dismissed as the moronic tommyrot of crackpots, ignoramuses, and philistines. But it ought be taken seriously. We live in an era when academic institutions, hitherto associated with the free inquiry into knowledge,now practice the censorship of speech and ideas, the banning of books, and the dumbing-down of intellectual standards to placate ethnic and gender politics. We live in an era when statues and monuments of historical interest are now assailed not by common street thugs and vandals,but by mayors, city councilmen,and the management of professional sports franchises.
For praising the thousands and thousands of workers who built our Levittown homes, the decent working class families who settled here and toiled to make their community a better place, and such governmental programs as the GI Bill and Housing & Rent Act that assisted builders like Levitt&Sons,I have been called "a communist".(Evidently by persons who've never read a word of Marx).For praising the airmen,the marines,the soldiers,and the sailors who served in this nation's wars and came home to Levittown, I have been accused of promoting "xenophobic nationalism".For observing that "whites only" clauses appeared in Levitt& Sons' 1947/48 contracts because,prior to 1949 the banks, mortgage companies,and Federal Housing Administration would not extend loans and/or mortgage protections to real estate developers throughout the country who did not have such clauses,I have been called "a racist". (William Levitt donated millions of dollars to veterans and refugee charities and hospitals,spoke out against discrimination,and hired black people in his company at a time when many unions would not allow a black person to become a member and few white-owned companies would have considered a black man in a supervisory position.He is attacked today by critics who never did anything in their own lives for anyone other than themselves).
Doubtless I will continue to be called "a communist",a "xenophobic nationalist",and a "racist" and a host of other things because there is no dearth of philistines and fanatics out there.But I will be tireless in defending our community, its history, its founder,and its people against the slanderous and cowardly smear campaigns launched by people who have never made a single contribution to society. -PM

Address

Memorial Educaton Center 150 Abbey Lane
Levittown, NY
11756

Opening Hours

Wednesday 14:30 - 16:30
Friday 19:00 - 21:00

Telephone

(516) 434-7140

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