Levittown Then… The Homeowner’s Guide

February 9, 2017 2:33 pm0 commentsViews: 79
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When Levitt & Sons sold one of their original Levittown homes, they provided the proud new homeowner a little handbook, 24 pages long. The covers of the handbooks came in patriotic colors—red, white or blue—but the content was the same in all. The first page set the tone:

 

“WELCOME TO LEVITTOWN! You have just purchased what we believe to be the finest house of its size in America. We wish you health and happiness in Levittown for many years to come. In order that you may enjoy your house, and derive the utmost pleasure from it, we have undertaken to prepare this handbook so that you may better understand our position and your responsibilities.”

 

The handbook took the new homeowner almost literally by the hand. “Now let us start at the front door and walk you through your new home. The two electrical switches as you enter control the foyer light…”

 

It states that 30 days after title date, an inspector would visit your home and take note of anything that needed repair. “In the meantime, if an emergency should occur, phone Windsor 6-0600.”

 

It gave very specific instructions about caring for the new home:

 

“Keeping an even temperature—70 to 72 degrees, for the first year—will help minimize the shrinkage of the lumber [that formed the frame of the house].”

 

“Your overhead garage door should be lubricated three times a year with motor oil.”

 

But the strictest instructions referred to landscape maintenance—Abe Levitt’s personal passion—to which nine full pages are devoted in the guide. “The height of grass should be kept to about 1 ½ inches during all months except from June 15 to August 15…”

 

“There is one way and only one way to water a lawn. Use an OVERHEAD SPRINKLER on one spot for a short time, then shift the sprinkler to another spot.” ■

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Original Homeowner’s Guide courtesy of David Marable, curator of Levittown Exhibit Center North.

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