Greenbelt is a planned community built in 1937 as part of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal. One of three green towns established during the Great Depression, the project put struggling Americans to work, provided low-income housing in the Washington, DC, region, and was a bold experiment in town planning and cooperative living. Its first residents enjoyed modern homes, schools, a pool, a library, and a town center complete with cooperative businesses and a movie theater"all within walking distance and in a utopian ...
Greenbelt is a planned community built in 1937 as part of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal. One of three green towns established during the Great Depression, the project put struggling Americans to work, provided low-income housing in the Washington, DC, region, and was a bold experiment in town planning and cooperative living. Its first residents enjoyed modern homes, schools, a pool, a library, and a town center complete with cooperative businesses and a movie theater"all within walking distance and in a utopian parklike setting. Despite nearly doubling in size to accommodate World War II"era housing and steady growth through the second half of the 20th century, Greenbelts original streamlined architecture, ample green space, and innovative design have been preserved and recognized as a National Historic Landmark. After 75 years, the city continues to thrive as it looks towards sustainability and the future.
Choose your shipping method in Checkout. Costs may vary based on destination.
A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (including dust cover, if applicable). The spine and cover may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting. This item was a donation to Goodwill of Greater Washington. Thanks for your order from Goodwill of Greater Washington.
There is always a great deal to be learned close to home. The town of Greenbelt in Prince Georges County, Maryland is about 15 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. I knew it only as a Metro stop on the Green Line, as the home of a favorite restaurant, and as the site of a large man-made lake that I have passed by on the road. I learned a great deal more about Greenbelt and its fascinating history in this book from the Images of America series of photographic local histories, "Greenbelt", by Jill Parsons St. John and Megan Searing Young, the former and current directors of the Greenbelt Museum. The book celebrates the 75th anniversary of Greenbelt, held in 2012.
Greenbelt has an unusual and celebrated history. It is one of only three planned communities designed, built, and initially owned by the Federal government (the other two are in Wisconsin and Oho) under the auspices of the New Deal to help provide work and housing to relieve the Depression. In 1935, the government acquired about 12,000 acres of depleted farmland and proceeded to construct and town with amenities, including the artificial lake. English planned communities of the late 19th Century, used to relieve urban overcrowding, were used as models.
In well-chosen photographs and clear texts, St. John and Young tell the story of Greenbelt from its beginnings to the present. The book begins with the New Deal and it shows the project in its planning stage with the unusual, for its day, lay-out of the town and the modern style of the homes. The authors then show the construction of the community from 1935 -- 1937 by a large diverse workforce. In order to maximize employment, all possible work was performed manually even if machines could have done the job.
In 1937, the project was ready for occupancy, and the Federal government chose its tenants from a long list of applicants. Occupancy was available to lower and middle income families in which the husband held a full-time job. Only whites were eligible at first, but the selection was made to provide for religious, age, and economic diversity. The original settlers of Greenbelt are known as the "Pioneers".
With the coming of WW II, the original town was expanded (the 12,000 acres allowed much room for growth) to include an additional 1000 housing units. The plan was to demolish the units at the end of the War, but they remained and are still occupied today. The book devotes a chapter to the change in the community resulting from the WW II expansion.
In 1952, the Federal government decided it no longer wished to be in this particular housing business. It sold most of the original Greenbelt to a cooperative consisting in part of military veterans. This group and its successor continues to own and operate much of the cooperative housing units. Other portions of the property were also sold to other cooperatives, and much of the land eventually became available to individual purchasers. The book describes the transitional years of the early 1950s. Then, the authors show how the community grew and expanded still further beginning in the 1960s to become the town it is today. In 1997, the Department of the Interior designated Greenbelt a National Historical Landmark.
The book emphasizes the camaraderie and spirit that developed among the residents of the town from the early days and that still remains. Beginning with the Pioneers, the townspeople understood that they were part of a new approach to community planning. They became attached to the community, developed a spirit of cohesiveness, and were not afraid to work together as a group to protect their interests. At one point, the town had to raise money for litigation which ultimately reached the Supreme Court to protect itself. The photos in the book show the homes, the buildings, community facilities such as meeting rooms, youth clubs, and movie theaters, the lake, baseball fields, picnic areas, sculptures, and more. It also includes information about and photos of long-term residents.
The Greenbelt community has been the subject of both national and international attention in the field of urban planning. The bibliography of this book refers to several extended academic studies. My primary interest was local. I was pleased to learn something important about the area in which I have lived that was entirely new.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.