PEOPLE

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

.       Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during WWII, then Republican president from 1953 to 1961

.       As young man, he was member of Transcontinental Motor Convoy, which investigated conditions of America's roads

.       Experiences with TMC inspired him to advocate construction of highways

.       Signed Interstate Highway Act as national defense measure in 1956

 

Betty Friedan

.       Feminist author best known for her book The Feminine Mystique, 1963

.       Founded the National Organization of Women, 1966

.       Wrote of "The Problem that Has No Name": restlessness of middle-class American housewives during the 1950s

 

Robert Moses

.       City planner who played role in building of highways, major public roads, and parks in New York

.       Influenced city planning in major cities all over the country

.       Promoted auto-centered patterns of development

 

Franklin Roosevelt

.       Democratic president from 1933 to 1945

.       Best known for authoring New Deal programs, which helped Americans regain some confidence during the Great Depression

.       Oversaw creation of the Homeowners Loan Corporation to help Americans purchase homes and to protect them from foreclosure

.       Also created the Federal Housing Administration, which helped Americans invest safely in real estate

.       Housing policies instituted by Roosevelt structured patterns of postwar suburban development

 

 


EVENTS

 

1929 Stock Market Crash

.       Marked the beginning the Great Depression

.       Set into motion a major economic recession, severe unemployment, and a sharp rise in homelessness

 

1932 Presidential Election

.       Held at height of Great Depression

.       Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover

.       Marked the beginning of sweeping federal reforms under FDR's New Deal, including several measures to deal with the housing crisis

 

1933 Homeowners Loan Corp. Created

.       Government agency organized under New Deal

.       Intended to help homebuyers and protect them from mortgage foreclosure

.       Refinanced restrictive home loans and set up long-term mortgage payment plans with manageable monthly fees

.       Established new opportunities for most Americans, but limited homeownership options for ethnic and racial minorities

 

1939 New York World's Fair

.       Featured "Futurama" exhibit, which depicted the future as a world shaped by cars

.       "Futurama" exhibit featured superhighways, skyscrapers, and massive parking lots

.       Displayed integration of car into everyday life as mark of progress

 

1941 U.S. Enters World War II

.       Following Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war against Axis powers and joined the Allies in the war

.       Employment created by war mobilization ended the Great Depression

.       Sparked an economic boom

 


1946 Invention of Tupperware

.       New plastic kitchenware, used for food prep and storage

.       The product's "burp seal" was the company's claim to fame

.       Used direct marketing strategy to sell product to women inside their suburban homes rather than in department stores

.       Offered post-WWII housewives who had been pushed out of the workforce the opportunity to gain some financial independence by selling Tupperware

 

1954 Opening of First McDonald's

.       First hamburger stand in chain opened in Illinois, selling burgers for 15 cents each

.       By mid-1960s, it had become a franchise with 700 restaurants

.       Most early restaurants built along highways

.       Marked beginning of trend in American business development toward auto-serving chain franchises

 

1959 Kitchen Debate

.       Debate between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon

.       Held in full-scale model of an American kitchen at the American National Exposition in Moscow

.       The two leaders discussed technology, militarism, and political power

.       Nixon's strong showing helped earn him Republican nomination for president the following year

 

 

GROUPS

 

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

.       Government agency established before World War II

.       Practiced racial and ethnic discrimination by devaluing homes and neighborhoods inhabited by ethnic and racial minorities

.       Aided white homebuyers but made it difficult, sometimes impossible, for many minorities to own property

 


Homeowners Loan Corporation (HOLC)

.       Government agency created in 1933 during the New Deal

.       Intended to help prospective homebuyers and protect them from mortgage foreclosure

.       Refinanced restrictive home loans and set up long-term mortgage payment plans with manageable monthly fees

.       Like FHA, practiced racial and ethnic discrimination

 

Levitt & Sons

.       Homebuilding business established in 1940s by Abraham Levitt and two sons

.       Pioneered suburban tract development at Levittown, N.Y., transforming 4,000 acres of farmland outside New York City into thousands of homes

.       Revolutionized the business of home production, helping to grow nation's housing supply and usher in era of suburb

 

 

CONCEPTS

 

"Hoovervilles"

.       Nickname for makeshift shantytowns erected by those rendered homeless by the Great Depression

.       Name derived from President Herbert Hoover, who led the nation during the first years of the Depression and failed to bring aid to millions left homeless and jobless

.       Characterized by cardboard, tin, and tar-paper structures

 

"Nuclear Family"

.       Unit consisting of a father, mother, and their biological children

.       In the 1950s, seen as the center of the modern suburban paradise

 

PLACES

 

Levittown, New York

.       Sprawling suburban development built by Levitt & Sons on Long Island shortly after WWII

.       Pioneered auto-centric model of suburban development that came to dominate postwar period