A Special Anniversary
June of 2002 will be an important anniversary for the Levittown Historical Society. Although in existence since 1988 - when the late Tom Carroll joined forces with his fellow citizens to establish an organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of William J. Levitt, the world-famous suburban town he created, and the history of the rural communities of Island Trees and Jerusalem that preceded it - it was not until 1997 that we acquired a public space to display our collections.
That space, thanks to Dr. Herman Sirois and others in the local educational community, is located at the Levittown Memorial Education Center. Much has happened since June of 1997. Membership has grown. We published The History of Levittown, New York by Lynne Matarrese. Our newsletter, Levittimes, has expanded. Attendance at our general meetings, wherein we host films and lectures and exhibits on local topics, is steady.
We have a website at www.levittownhistoricalsociety.org and our work with other civic organizations in the community has grown. But the Levittown Historical Society Museum remains our most diverse and frequently used venue for the general public. Since its opening, thousands of school children, Scouts, and patrons have come for a visit. Some are curious. Some are nostalgic. Some want to learn a little more about their unique community. Some have arrived with more serious goals in mind: foreign exchange students, researching historians, corporate representatives studying the home-building techniques of Levitt and Sons, journalists looking for the "story-behind-the-story" angle, and local politicians looking for another way to keep in touch with the community they serve.
What one discovers at the Levittown Historical Society Museum are the maps, documents, vintage photographs, toys, furniture, artifacts, World War Two relics, home furnishings, and other items that tell the story of the legacy of the "Greatest Generation", the founding of Levittown, and the rise of the Baby Boom era and popular American culture. The exhibits also cover the heritage of the potato farms and rural airfields that operated here before 1950, the Vanderbilt Cup Race (held here 1908-11), and the unique world of the Hempstead Plains.
It's been a busy five years, indeed.
Levittown Historical Society