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Henry Ford of Housing
"We are not builders. We are manufacturers. Any fool can build homes—what counts is how many you can sell for how little."
William J. Levitt



 
building a levittown
Built between 1951 & 1958 in Levittown

  41 Sections with 17,311 single family houses
  171 miles of roads
  5 Olympic-sized community swimming pools
  Little League baseball fields
  Lots of green space and neighborhood parks
  Large, multi-purpose Community Hall
  Two large, centralized Shopping Centers
  Sites set aside for churches & schools.
  A great place to live and grow up!

CLICK on the picture above to launch an Aerial Tour of Levittown.

Key Date
July 1951
December 1951
March 1952
June 1952
December 1952
December 1957

Project Milestone
Land Purchase Completed
Sample Houses Open
Construction begins
First Residents Move In
First Section Completed
Slab Laid for House 17,311

Build ‘em Fast
Levittown, PA was built by Levitt & Sons using innovative building methods and an assembly line approach. William J. Levitt said "we channel labor and materials to a stationary outdoor assembly line instead of bringing them together inside a factory." Levitt & Sons broke the construction process down into 27 steps. They used specialized teams to repeat each step at each building site.

 

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Controlling Material Costs
To keep down lumber costs, Levitt & Sons bought their own forests and built a sawmill in Oregon. They purchased appliances direct from the manufacturer, cutting out the middle man. They even made their own nails. Homes on Levitt's plots went up in a single day because they were pre-fabricated in Levitt’s house "factories".

Twenty acres were set aside as an assembly point, where cement was mixed and lumber cut. Trucks would deliver parts and material to homesites placed at 60-ft. intervals. The full bill of materials was delivered; pre-cut, sorted, and stacked. Everything was ready to assemble, so contracting teams put them together quickly. Like an assembly line, each "step" was sequential as each team performed the same specialized task at one house site and then moved to the next. Some teams laid slabs, some teams framed. Then the carpenters, tile setters, painters and roofers arrived, each in his turn. There was a team for white paint, another for red. Levitt’s builders completed up to 200 houses per week.

From J.D. Mullane, Bucks County Courier Times, January 30 1994: "Construction was of mind-boggling proportions: Six thousand men building 17,311 houses, 177 miles of streets, five Olympic-size pools and two shopping centers. By the summer of 1952, Levitt was producing one complete house every 12 minutes. Families were moving in at the rate of 500 a month."

Building Levittown Photo Gallery

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