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Housing Shortage
Levittown was built to provide affordable single family homes for workers in the area around Philadelphia, PA and Trenton, New Jersey, such as U.S. Steel's Fairless Works.


 
why build levittown?


There were three compelling reasons why Levittown, PA was built. 

1. A Housing Shortage
Troops returning home to the Philadelphia and Trenton metropolitan areas after World War II stepped into a housing crisis. Apartments were scarce and houses, when they could be found, were too expensive for veterans. Also, the GI Bill provided money for housing as well as education. Levitt & Sons capitalized on this housing crunch by offering affordable housing to these returning GIs and their families. This came in the form of Levittown, offering small, detached, single-family houses mass produced in planned neighborhoods.

 

2. Increased Mobility
Lower Bucks County was close to population centers of Philadelphia and Trenton. The new and improved road and highway systems, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike, as well as the post-war trend an almost exponential increase in automobile ownership made the world seem a much smaller place and the “suburbs” not so far away.

3. Plenty of Jobs
The Philadelphia and Trenton metropolitan areas had lots of jobs to offer. Also, large numbers of new, manufacturing jobs were located in the Levittown, PA area, by such companies as General Motors and the US Steel Fairless Works. US Steel broke ground for its new Fairless Works Division along the western bank of the Delaware River in early 1951. At the time, the Fairless Works was the second largest integrated plant on the East Coast. Many of the workers were transplanted from as far away as Gary, IN (from US Steel’s Gary Works) as well as from rural central PA, western PA and the coal regions. One thing they had in common was that they all needed housing.

   

 

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