As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the town of Greenbelt was the first and largest experimental "ideal" community.
One of three green towns established during the Great Depression, the town was planned and built by the federal government; despite opposition, the project put struggling Americans to work, provided low-income housing to the overcrowded D.C. region, and was a bold experiment in town planning and cooperative living. Its first residents enjoyed modern homes, schools, a pool, movie theater, library, and a town center--all within walking distance from your modern, new home. Despite nearly doubling in size to accommodate World War II-era housing and steady growth through the second half of the 20th century, Greenbelt's 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.
About the Author
Authors Jill Parsons St. John and Megan Searing Young graduated from Parsons School of Design with master of arts degrees in the history of American decorative arts and design. As the former and current directors of the Greenbelt Museum, they have curated and installed numerous exhibits on the history and culture of Greenbelt. The Friends of the Greenbelt Museum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Greenbelt.
Table of Contents
1 Planning a Greenbelt Town 9
2 Building Greenbelt 25
3 Greenbelt Pioneers Settle In 43
4 World War II and the 1940s 61
5 A Cooperative Buys the Town 79
6 Greenbelt Expands in the 1960s and 1970s 95
7 The 1980s and Beyond 109