Greenbelt in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment
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.
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.
[Lower, 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
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.
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. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6565 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt MD 20770, United States of America.
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 Time of Horror (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Greenbelt Park (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Greenbelt: A Bold Experiment (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 Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Charity & Public Work • Man-Made Features •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 29, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 409 times since then and 13 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.