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Levittown, Pa: Building the Suburban Dream

High-minded architectural critics derided its very form and cookie-cutter execution and sociologists wrote of the "organization men" who drove out of its bucolic curvilinear streets each morning, but Levittowns (there were three of them in total) were immensely popular with the general public after World War II. This fine online exhibit from the State Museum of Pennsylvania explores the Levittown phenomenon, with a particular focus on the Levittown constructed northeast of Philadelphia in the early 1950s. Using various items of visual ephemera, such as advertisements from trade magazines, editorial cartoons and architectural drawings, visitors are led through three sections that explore the built environment of Levittown, the social fabric of the community during the 1950s, and an in-depth look at a typical kitchen in a Levittown home, replete with various modern time-saving devices. The kitchen section is a real treat, as visitors can move their mouse pointer through an interactive photograph, honing in on a self-cleaning oven and a built-in blender.
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