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Old 01-11-2011, 10:17 PM
 
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I know that after WWII, William Levitt created Levittown on Long Island, and since then suburbs have flourished into cookie cutter houses with sub divisions and developments and the death of the downtown area.

I was wondering if there were suburbs before then, and if so where were they and do they still exist.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:25 PM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
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Sure, they were called street car suburbs, sometimes also referred to "first ring" suburbs. Those areas primarily developed around the turn of the previous century when private street car systems were put in and allowed for a whole new ring of development around city centers for workers and families without cars (or few cars) but having jobs in the city. They are all over the country and many have become the new desirable places to live- close to the city but with individual, classic houses with yards and neighborhoods with personality and mature landscaping.

Mine: SOUTH PARK San Diego
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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Definitely! Atlanta is a great place to research suburban growth historically as many of the "intown" areas are the original suburbs from when the city only had 100,000-300,000 people.

You can see a clear transition from business district to streetcar suburbs with long narrow grid-like streets to the first car oriented suburbs, where streets start to get curvier and you have single car garages in the backyard. All that was pre-WWII.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:24 AM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
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Most of the suburbs around Chicago pre-date WWII.

As an example of this If you are familiar with Dupage County west of Chicago, most of the suburbs in this county originally grew up along railroad lines traversing the county (so not quite streetcar suburbs).

These developed in two belts, mostly:

To the north: Emlhurst/Villa Park/Lombard/Wheaton/ (the county seat)/Winfield, and then an outlier in West Chicago, which was really a sort of railroad junction town not a suburb.

To the south: Hinsdale/Claredon Hills/Westmont/Downers Grove/Lisle, and then an outliers in Naperville, which predated the railroad, and Warrenville.

These areas were mostly subdivided before the Great Depression, but in some cases (a good example is Villa Park) weren't built out until the 1950s. In fact the late 1940s and 1950s was the period where all the vacant lots from before the Depression were built-out. So you had "suburbia" but on a 1920s-era street system.


The areas between these pre-WWII suburban belts didn't start to seriously fill in until starting in the 1960s, though there were convetional postwar subdivisions isolated 'out in the cornfields' starting in the 1950s (places like Glendale Heights and Buttefield and Woodridge).

So suburbia is a more complex environment than the stereotype, if you dig into the history more.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:46 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Yes. Our suburb is from the mid 1870s
The chicago fire helped it grow after it displaced people.
Maywood ILL
Now its a ghetto
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:19 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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Streetcar suburb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Riverside, Illinois looks to be one of the earlier towns to be essentially intended as a suburb. Although it looks like it might just be part of Chicago now.

http://www.city-data.com/city/Riverside-Illinois.html

Shaker Heights, Ohio looks to be another but it also might be engulfed by the city by now.

http://www.city-data.com/city/Shaker-Heights-Ohio.html
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post

Shaker Heights, Ohio looks to be another but it also might be engulfed by the city by now.

http://www.city-data.com/city/Shaker-Heights-Ohio.html
The Cleveland suburb of Shaker Hts, OH is definitely a street-car suburb with most of the housing stock around 1920:

Although there are weathier areas in the Cleveland metro, my vote would go to Shaker Hts--population 30,000.

Most of the houses were built 1920's. It has amazing architecture, schools, and two light-rail lines connecting it to Downtown.


http://www.city-data.com/forum/15986621-post9.html
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:29 AM
 
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LA once had the world's largest electric railway system, so today you can find pre-war suburbs throughout most of the region:

This is a map from the 20s of the red car system (there was also Yellow Car streetcar network that operated only in the City of Los Angeles):

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Old 01-12-2011, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Suburbs have been around since there were cities.

For instance ... Many neighborhoods of Cincinnati were originally settled as suburbs of the city and later annexed by the city; the neighborhood I lived in was first settled in the late 1790s, established as a town in 1809. When the railroads were built, and then streetcars, the town became more and more populated, and was annexed by the city in 1911.

Last edited by Ohiogirl81; 01-12-2011 at 08:31 AM..
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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Yup here are some examples in my area, as many were annexed into the city eventually: Eastwood, Syracuse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Walkable Eastwood

Westcott, Syracuse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Westcott

North Valley, Syracuse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and South Valley

Elmwood is another such area.
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