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Greenbelt in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment

Greenbelt Park

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

 
 
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, March 23, 2011
1. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment
"INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILLITY"
Inscription.  
The City of Greenbelt was conceived, built, and for a long time owned by the Federal government. Greenbelt was one of three “green cities” built during the Great Depression. The theory of “green cities” was revolutionary: each would be a carefully planned mix of low-cost housing, farms, and public open space. In Greenbelt, the first residents were carefully screened for “character,” and everyone submitted to strict community rules.

Greenbelt won widespread praise for its design and occasional criticism for its social trappings. The government continued to operate Greenbelt until 1952, when a cooperative of residents purchased the government homes. Today, the old town is surrounded by modern development, but the heart of the city still stands.

Photo captions:
The construction of Greenbelt employed people of many skills, including artists. Several of the public buildings in town feature friezes or bas relief works like this one at the Greenbelt Community Center – most of them reflecting the social values planners hoped to promote through the Greenbelt project.

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left and center:] President Roosevelt visits Greenbelt in 1936. For Roosevelt, the construction of Greenbelt had immediate and practical benefits. The work employed more than 13,000 men and women during the Great Depression.

Planners avoided traditional city blocks; the final design required just six miles of streets. The land that is now Greenbelt Park was to have been developed as housing, but the project lost momentum, and in 1950 the land was dedicated as a park.

The city’s art deco style (right) made it both distinctive and famous. Strict rules sought to improve the appearance of the city; one called for all laundry to be removed from clotheslines by 4 o’clock each day.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureCharity & Public WorkSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Art Deco, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #32 Franklin D. Roosevelt series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1952.
 
Location. 38° 58.752′ N, 76° 53.859′ W. Marker is in Greenbelt, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on Campground Road west of Park Central Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map.
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, March 23, 2011
2. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment
close-up of the marker text.
Marker is at or near this postal address: 6565 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt MD 20770, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Water (here, next to this marker); Greenbelt Park (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Greenbelt Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); Carrington Avenue (approx. 0.9 miles away); Charlton Avenue (approx. 0.9 miles away); Town of Berwyn Heights (approx. 0.9 miles away); Edmonston Road (approx. one mile away); Time of Horror (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenbelt.
 
Also see . . .  Greenbelt Park. National Park Service (Submitted on March 31, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.) 
 
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, March 23, 2011
3. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment
- third panel from the left, outside the ranger station entrance.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 29, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 495 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 29, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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May. 18, 2024