SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Early Levittown, PA: 1954

Early Levittown, PA: 1954

The great post-World War Two social phenomenon of suburbia is demonstrated in this 1954 photo of my father Howard standing behind the first home he ever bought, which was in the Dogwood section of Levittown, Pennsylvania. At the time my parents chose the house only the mid-century modern Levittowner ranch model was being built. He qualified for the $12,500 home by having a GI Bill guarantee for the 3.75% mortgage, and by being Caucasian (Levitt would not sell to any other race).

As an original Levittowner owner he had three choices to make: first was which lot your house would be on; second was which color the accent sands in the asbestos sheet siding would be; and third was whether your house would be built with air conditioning. (My mother said red for the sands, my father said yes for the AC). The houses in Dogwood were built in 1953. Though there was an electric dryer, my mother liked the smell of line-dried sheets, so the clothesline (which did not come with the house) was added to the back yard. Every house got the same twigs for landscaping, which included two fruit trees, two pines, and a sycamore. He is standing by the apple tree. In the background are the neighbor’s pines.

Photo was taken by my mother on a camera she had brought with her from before they were married. Scan was made from a negative.

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SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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