First Subdivision

Subdivisions are a well entrenched part of American life, whatever one’s opinions of them are.

The first planned subdivision in New Hartford occurred in 1947.  It is still in existence, largely unchanged, and is now called Litchfield Lane off of Town Hill.  It was originally called Town Hill Acres.

The newspaper description of this subdivision is clearly reveals the attitudes of the time.  The newspaper comments that they are negotiating with the town over road maintenance for the new roads being created, an entirely new problem for that era.  They also note that all of the houses will be attached to the public utilities, again something we take for granted.  The houses were also purported to be ‘interesting innovations in the Town Hill landscape”: they were ranch houses, the first of their kind in the town.   The houses were to be neither excessive ‘edifices’ nor ’embarrassingly’ small.  They were designed to appeal to the middle class.

We do not tend to think of suburbia as noteworthy history more often seeing its faults than its successes, at best we are ambivalent about it.  Yet, it is clear that not only is it a major trend in American culture, dominating the late 20th century; but it was also regarded as both innovative and aspirational by the people of the time.

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