“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Greenbelt in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Greenbelt Homes Inc.

Greenbelt Homes Inc. Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, January 12, 2010
1. Greenbelt Homes Inc. Marker
Inscription.  In 1936 the federal government built Greenbelt and two other "greenbelt towns" as models of town and community planning. The government carefully selected tenants for the utopian town and acted as landlord. Although Greenbelt was carefully planned, the government had not planned for the community's future as an independent town.

In 1946 a group of Greenbelt residents formed the Greenbelt Mutual Housing Association to study the feasibility of residents purchasing the homes and surrounding green space from the government, but they were unable to find financing at that time.

The government also explored selling the "greenbelt towns." The government's policy was to liquidate assets quickly by selling off property and units quickly to the highest bidder. Planners involved with Greenbelt convinced the Public Housing Authority to sell entire towns as units "to safeguard the educational and demonstration value of these examples of community planning."

In 1947 hundreds of residents created the Greenbelt Mutual Home Ownership Corporation (G. M. H. O. C.) - a non-profit corporation formed for the purpose of purchasing the town of Greenbelt
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and its surrounding land. G. M. H. O. C. reconstituted itself as the Greenbelt Veteran Housing Corporation (G. V. H. C.) in 1949 to comply with a federal law that the government first offer to sell the towns' housing and land to a group of potential residents, half of whom needed to be veterans. By 1950 G. V. H. C. had 1072 member families, 531 of whom were veterans. The government offered to G. V. H. C. all 1878 housing units, the commercial buildings and 808 acres of undeveloped land for $8,971,200. G. V. H. C. made a counter-offer, which excluded the apartment and commercial buildings, and included only 708 acres of land for $6,995,669. In December 1952, the government sold the property to G. V. H. C. while the apartment and commercial buildings were sold to six other private purchasers. G. V. H. C. sold much of Greenbelt's land to developers who built detached single family homes and apartments. Greenbelt's sale was one of the most contentious moments in the town's history because many tenants preferred to rent rather than buy into the cooperative. Thus many residents moved out of Greenbelt after the sale.

In May, 1957 G. V. H. C. changed its name to Greenbelt Homes Incorporated (G. H. I.). G. H. I. currently owns 1600 units including all of the 1937 townhomes, 1000 more units built in 1941 and 250 acres of land.

G. H. I. members pay a monthly fee which covers their
Greenbelt Homes Inc. Office Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, January 12, 2010
2. Greenbelt Homes Inc. Office Building
property taxes and trash pickup as well as maintenance of the homes' electrical, plumbing and structural needs including roofing and hot water heaters.

A tumultuous moment in G. H. I.'s history came when the co-op's aging housing required renovation. For nearly a decade, the G. H. I. board and staff debated with co-op members over the cost of major repairs which would raise members' monthly co-op fees dramatically. By 1979 the members agreed to take out a massive loan from the federal government's Department of Housing and Urban Development (H. U. D.). Between 1980 and 1984, with a loan of $17.5 million, G. H. I. replaced all the homes' heating systems from oil fueled radiators to baseboard electric heaters, upgraded all the wiring and insulation, replaced all the windows and added new siding to the frame homes. In October, 2003 the G. H. I. members threw a party to celebrate paying off the "re-hab" loan. Today G. H. I. saves money in a special maintenance fund to cover ongoing maintenance projects so that future loans will not be necessary.

Corporate ownership of nearly all of Greenbelt's historic homes has allowed Greenbelt to be protected from further development in the city's historic core and it has encouraged community participation and cohesiveness. Members serve on committees and on G. H. I.'s board of directors.
Erected by
Greenbelt Homes Inc. Sign image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, February 13, 2010
3. Greenbelt Homes Inc. Sign
Sign is at the corner of Hamilton Place and Ridge Road.
Greenbelt Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1957.
Location. 39° 0.121′ N, 76° 52.343′ W. Marker is in Greenbelt, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on Hamilton Place, 0.1 miles north of Ridge Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Hamilton Place, Greenbelt MD 20770, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gas Station (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Roosevelt Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Gladys Noon Spellman Trail and Overpass (approx. ¼ mile away); Swimming Pool (approx. ¼ mile away); City of Greenbelt (approx. ¼ mile away); Eleanor Roosevelt (approx. 0.3 miles away); Community Center (approx. 0.3 miles away); Greenbelt Museum (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenbelt.
Additional keywords. New Deal
Greenbelt Homes Inc. Marker with Flag image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, January 12, 2010
4. Greenbelt Homes Inc. Marker with Flag
Credits. This page was last revised on January 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 17, 2010, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,902 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 17, 2010, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.

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Apr. 24, 2024