Houses for a New World: Builders and Buyers in American Suburbs, 1945-1965 by Barbara Miller LaneHouses for a New World: Builders and Buyers in American Suburbs, 1945-1965 by Barbara Miller Lane

Houses for a New World: Builders and Buyers in American Suburbs, 1945-1965

byBarbara Miller Lane

Hardcover | October 6, 2015

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While the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, and their contemporaries frequently influences our ideas about house design at the midcentury, most Americans during this period lived in homes built by little-known builders who also served as developers of the communities. Often dismissed as "little boxes, made of ticky-tacky," the tract houses of America's postwar suburbs represent the twentieth century's most successful experiment in mass housing.Houses for a New Worldis the first comprehensive history of this uniquely American form of domestic architecture and urbanism.

Between 1945 and 1965, more than thirteen million houses-most of them in new ranch and split-level styles-were constructed on large expanses of land outside city centers, providing homes for the country's rapidly expanding population. Focusing on twelve developments in the suburbs of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Barbara Miller Lane tells the story of the collaborations between builders and buyers, showing how both wanted houses and communities that espoused a modern way of life-informal, democratic, multiethnic, and devoted to improving the lives of their children. The resulting houses differed dramatically from both the European International Style and older forms of American domestic architecture.

Based on a decade of original research, and accompanied by hundreds of historical images, plans, and maps, this book presents an entirely new interpretation of the American suburb. The result is a fascinating history of houses and developments that continue to shape how tens of millions of Americans live.

Featured housing developments inHouses for a New World:


Boston area:



  • Governor Francis Farms (Warwick, RI)

  • Wethersfield (Natick, MA)

  • Brookfield (Brockton, MA)

Chicago area:



  • Greenview Estates (Arlington Heights, IL)

  • Elk Grove Village

  • Rolling Meadows

  • Weathersfield at Schaumburg

Los Angeles and Orange County area:



  • Cinderella Homes (Anaheim, CA)
  • Panorama City (Los Angeles)

  • Rossmoor (Los Alamitos, CA)

Philadelphia area:



  • Lawrence Park (Broomall, PA)
  • Rose Tree Woods (Broomall, PA)
Barbara Miller Laneis Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritusin the Humanities and Research Professor in Growth and Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College. Her books includeArchitecture and Politics in Germany, 1918-1945, National Romanticism and Modern Architecture,andHousing and Dwelling.
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Title:Houses for a New World: Builders and Buyers in American Suburbs, 1945-1965Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.75 × 8 × 0.98 inPublished:October 6, 2015Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691167613

ISBN - 13:9780691167619

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Table of Contents

A Personal Note vii

Acknowledgments ix

PROLOGUE Paraphrases of Original Buyers' Recollections 1

CHAPTER 1 New Houses and New Communities 3

CHAPTER 2 West Coast Builders: Los Angeles and Orange County 47

CHAPTER 3 East Coast Builders: Philadelphia and Boston 93

CHAPTER 4 The Builders of Chicago's Golden Corridor: Midwestern Ranches and Splits 139

CHAPTER 5 The Buyers, Their Backgrounds, and Their Preferences 187

CHAPTER 6 Conclusion: Houses and Suburbs Transformed 221

Appendix 1. Chronological List of Campanelli Developments, Massachusetts and Rhode Island 233

Appendix 2. Stoltzner Business History 234

Appendix 3. Interviews with Original Buyers or Their Children 235

Abbreviations 244

Notes 244

Bibliography 273

Illustration Credits 295

Index 296

Editorial Reviews

"This book presents a significant portion of the history of everyday American life in a manner that is deeply researched, intuitive, insightful, and frequently self-referential. It is copiously illustrated with contemporary photographs and images derived from developers' sales brochures and popular housing literature."--Choice