Levittowners living in any of the two-story models, know all about the second floor comfort challenge. These upstairs bedrooms, originally built as unfinished attic space, tend to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Back in 1952, William Levitt and his sales team provided homeowners with ideas on how to convert the space into additional bedrooms.
These helpful how – to’ s, were designed to assist Levittown homeowners (men) in finishing the upstairs attic of a Levittown home, while the women were left to focus on decorating the rest of the house. To read more about Levittown decorating trends from the 1950′s , check out: LevittownDecorating
Saturday June 23, 2012, Bolton Mansion, Levittown , PA
When I signed up to volunteer at the Levittown 60th Anniversary celebration, I envisioned a day of selling pretzels and water, and maybe seeing some familiar faces. Having lived in Levittown for most of my life, I was excited to play a part in a day focused on honoring its history. What I got, was a whole lot more.
By mid-afternoon, I was pulled from pretzel and water duty and assigned a seat as an interviewer for Levittown oral histories. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of people and their stories, and on this day I got to hear quite a few. I listened to stories of Levittown,and its beginning, direct from the people who were there.
I heard stories about young brides moving to Levittown, some not even old enough to sign the deed. Housewives who spent their days scrubbing black tile floors, impossible to keep clean, from the dirt of a brand new housing development. Husbands, who on return from second shift work, were challenged to find which house was theirs, on a street of identical new homes. Streets filled with loads of children, spending their days watching homes being built. It was a magical time for many young families, all living the American dream. Many of the people who reminisced about the early days of Levittown, and the house they bought in 1952, still occupy them today, 60 years later.
Local politicians with ties to the town, joined the celebration. Jim Cawley, Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, was on hand to share his Levittown story. Cawley, who was raised in the Appletree section, shared that he also spent some time living in the Bolton Mansion on Holly Hill Drive, as a caretaker of the property. Pennsylvania State Representative Tina Davis, though not a Levittown native, was there to celebrate with her constituents.
It was a day to honor the legacy that is Levittown. A day to be proud of being a part of this community that has stood the test of time. Only hours after the close of the celebration, conversations had already begun planning a Levittown’s 65th Anniversary celebration.
Our family of five lives in a Levittown Rancher, a term that’s confusing to those who do not subscribe to the Levittown lingo. Anywhere else in the world, a rancher would mean a one-story home. This is not the case in Levittown. Our Rancher boasts two floors, with the kitchen at the front of the house. It is quite similar to the Jubilee model, with the exception of the kitchen location. Jubilee kitchens are at the back of the house. I prefer my kitchen right where it is, the windows sit perfectly above my sink. It’s an ideal set-up, when stirring sauce or soaking dishes, I can steal a quick glance out my kitchen window to see what’s happening in my neighborhood.
My children have reached an age where they can play in the front yard, unattended, or so they think. My spying eye is often at that kitchen window. It is also handy for watching to make sure the trash men take everything we leave for them, and the local recycling junkers do not. Am I the only one annoyed that people are helping themselves to our recycling cans? It may be trash, but it’s my trash. I feel it is safer left to professionals.
Our rancher, with four bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths is a perfect layout for our three kids- one dog family. We feel we have plenty of sprawling room. That is until the end of the school year when teachers send home the entire contents of each child’s desk. Papers, projects, and broken crayons sit in piles as we kick off the summer break. As much as I would love to deposit the entire book bag into a garbage can, I must sift, sort, and save the important things.
Three kids times 12 years of school equals A LOT of papers. That’s why I have vowed to only save one or two special things from each year, for each child. This, along with their school picture. I plan to neatly organize them into file boxes. I’m a little crafty, but I didn’t come up with the idea on my own, I found it one day while trolling Pinterest. I have shared the link here:
With the schoolwork organized I will be able to move onto other things like finding a home for baseball cleats, getting the LEGOs off the floor, and sorting through baby pictures before I forget who is who.
At times, this Levittown home may not seem big enough, but with a little organization, it’s all the space we need.