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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 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, September 10, 2013
1. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker
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.

[text with top image] 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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with lower left image] 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.

[text with lower middle image] 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.

[text with lower right image] 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° 59.631′ N, 76° 53.682′ W. Marker is in Greenbelt, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker can be reached from Greenbelt Road (
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, September 10, 2013
2. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker
Closeup on the images lower left and middle - Roosevelt visits, and the community under construction.
Maryland Route 193) 0.7 miles west of Southway, on the left when traveling west. Marker is in Greenbelt Park, inside the center loop. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: 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. Greenbelt Park (here, next to this marker); Time of Horror (here, next to this marker); Toaping Castle (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Greenbelt Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Edmonston Road (approx. 0.6 miles away); Town of Berwyn Heights (approx. 0.7 miles away); Greenbelt Lake (approx. ¾ mile away); Carrington Avenue (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenbelt.
 
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, September 10, 2013
3. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker
Closeup on image on lower right - the city's art-deco style.
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, September 10, 2013
4. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, September 10, 2013
5. Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment Marker
This marker is located near the rest area inside the park's center loop, along with two other markers.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 11, 2013, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 360 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 11, 2013, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.

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Feb. 25, 2024