The Suburban Housing Boom of the 1950s in Our Little Town 

  

As with much of western Nassau County, Long Island, the post-war suburban explosion in the early to mid-1950s was a time of remarkable residential development and growth in our little town and elsewhere nearby. Below are some examples of the types of homes most commonly built in Oceanside during that period of its most rapid development.

 

The first two shown below were built in a typical suburban style of the early '50s, small, plainly designed, modest, mid-century modern and low-priced houses, offered mostly to first-time buyers and situated on the west side of town in the area generally bounded on the east by Fulton Ave. continuing a couple of blocks west and on the north and south, respectively, by Weidner and Montgomery Aves. They were marketed by Gibson Builders under the name of Sunmore Homes.

  

The following were among the advertising claims made for these homes in the sales and marketing brochure from which these photos were taken:

    
  • Do you enjoy water sports? Long Beach is only 8 minutes away ... Jones Beach only 15 minutes ... and the delightful boating and fishing facilities of Oceanside are practically in your back yard.
  • Do you love country living? Lovely parks and playgrounds are within easy reach ... you thrive in country-fresh air and unobstructed sunshine.
  • Do you insist on city convenience? Two of Oceanside's famed schools are nearby ... shopping is right at hand ... and the L.I.R.R. station is only 3 blocks away.
   

   
 

2-bedroom cape cod at $10,990

  3-bedroom ranch at $11,990   
  

Below is an example of a typically larger, more elaborately designed, "split-level" home of the type that dominated regional development for middle class homebuyers beginning when the suburban housing boom peaked around 1955 (when this one was built in our little town by Walco Homes):
 

 

Probably the most ambitious. the largest and the most significant (in terms of its impact on the community) of the housing developments built in our little town during this period was called "Ocean Lea" (builder unknown). Also begun in 1955, the Ocean Lea homes were built in the southwest part of town in the split-level and less popular "hi ranch" styles of the slightly newer or older but smaller developments on the east side such as Wedgwood Park built off Waukena Ave near Oceanside High School. Except for Wedgwood Park built in 1956-57, they were generally larger and more expensive and luxurious than most of the other homes in our area at the time. Therefore, during this period of massive migration to the Long Island suburbs, these homes attracted more affluent, middle class buyers from Brooklyn and Queens many of whom would then become LIRR commuters and substantially increase not only the ridership on its Long Beach line, and together with those who did not ride the trains ,would also increase the general populations of our town, our schools (which were already stretched to capacity), our houses of worship and our community service organizations, and they would also raise the median income of Oceanside, boost property values and cause the local retail economy to grow and thrive.

The development of Ocean Lea was probably the main reason our class was 43% larger than the previously recordbreaking class of 1959. And it likely precipitated the need for a new modern high school (which opened in 1955) and School No. 8 (which opened in 1956 on Fulton Ave. near St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church) and the Great Lincoln Shopping Center (which also opened in 1955). (See more historical detail here.)

Notice below that in the initial 1955 sales brochure for Ocean Lea, it was aggressively claimed that Long Beach was only three minutes away as compared to the  smaller competitor's brochure quoted above, which more modestly (and honestly) only claimed it was eight minutes away. 

  

  

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