A recent photo of the house
Click on pix to enlarge
Color photos by Marilyn Monsrud Frese
The blog series of stories with photos of early
Old Levittowners enjoy the photos of the early houses, before there were so many improvements that you could not recognize what Levitt and Sons had built more than 60 years ago. However, I would have appreciated living in a house with more than one bathroom.
By BETH CUMMINGS
Class of 1960
I love these old photos that appear in the blog. It’s always a special treat to look at photos from the earliest days of Levittown, especially the ones showing the houses sitting on a sea of mud, the teensie-weenie baby trees (and dreaded sticker bushes) and the wooden boards we walked on till they were replaced by sidewalks. I always enjoy the old photos of the houses "before they were pumped up on steroids," to quote Frank Barning. Pumped up was the sad fate of our family’s poor little Levitt house.
Beginning in 1949, our family lived at
Only absolutely necessary changes, driven by living space needs of our growing family, were made to the inside of the house: the kitchen was "squared off," and the attic was made into two bedrooms and the world’s tiniest powder room.
When my folks finally sold the house and moved to
The notice they ended up publishing said – among other amusing things – that our house included "a lovely upstairs wrap-around bedroom" (because the chimney came up through it), and that the living room had "wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling windows offering a panoramic view of a park" (that is, a panoramic view of weeds in Redwing Park). My father was delighted when he read the ad, and he joked, "Wow, this place sounds great – I’d like to live there."
Fast forward to the weekend of the 30th (or was it the 40th?)* Class of 1960 reunion, when my sister and I drove around
Worst of all, ours was completely unrecognizable. We had to check the house number on the curb before we’d believe it – there in front of us was this unbelievably tacky behemoth of a structure squatting all over the lawn we used to play on. The new owners had attached an enormous garage (with driveway to match), and the whole structure had been expanded in every possible direction, with its sides nearly reaching the next-door property lines, and a roof line whose height probably tests the outer limit of legality.
The construction looked really cheap, and we couldn’t believe this eyesore could possibly be in compliance with construction and zoning laws. Betcha Mr. Levitt would turn over in his grave if he could see it now.
I suppose it’s true what they say, that you can’t go back. But we can still "visit," courtesy of our old photos.
* You know you’re getting old when you can’t tell decades apart.