Cities Near Willingboro, NJ
Local city information for Willingboro, NJ
is a Township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States and a suburb of Philadelphia. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 33,008.
Willingboro was originally developed in the 1950s and 1960s as a planned community by Abraham Levitt and Sons in the Levittown model, with the 1950 population of 852 exploding to 11,861 in 1960 and 43,386 in 1970. The community was known as "Levittown, New Jersey" in 1958, and "Levittown Township" from 1959 to 1963.
Willingboro was one of the original nine divisions in the organization of Burlington County, West Jersey, and was originally formed as the "Constabulary of Wellingborrow" on November 6, 1688. At the time, it included present day Delanco Township, New Jersey. The original name of Wellingborough was after the community in England which was the home of Thomas Olive, who led the original settlers into what would become Willingboro Township, but there were other spellings used at different times.
After the establishment of the United States and the State of New Jersey, the community was formally incorporated as "Willingborough Township", one of New Jersey's initial 104 townships, on February 21, 1798, by the New Jersey Legislature when it enacted "An Act incorporating the Inhabitants of Townships, designating their Powers, and regulating their Meetings", P.L.1798, p. 289. This makes Willingboro one of the oldest Townships in the State.
Portions of the township were taken to form Beverly borough (March 5, 1850, now Beverly city) and Beverly Township (March 1, 1859, now known as Delanco Township).
In the 1950s and 1960s Willingboro was the location for a massive residential development by Levitt & Sons. The town was to be Levitt & Sons' third and largest Levittown development following similar projects in New York and Pennsylvania. The first Levittown homes were sold in June 1958, at which time the community was already known as Levittown, New Jersey. The town's name was changed from the original Willingboro to "Levittown Township" by a referendum of township residents held on November 3, 1959. Willingboro was less than 12 miles from Levittown, Pennsylvania and this occasionally caused confusion. A referendum held on the issue on November 5, 1963, changed the name back to Willingboro. The name change was passed by a very thin margin of 3,123 to 3,003. In retaliation, Levitt refused to donate any more schools to the fastly-growing community.
Sociologist Herbert J. Gans used Willingboro as the subject of his 1967 book, The Levittowners: Ways of Life and Politics in a New Suburban Community
. In his book, he discusses a community frozen in time as an ideal representation of past, present and future America. At the same time, he analyzes the perpetuating American tradition and capacity to changes. In The Levittowners, Gans studies three major aspects of the life in Willingboro. He first deals with the development and growth of this new surburban community, particularly involvement in community organizations. Later, he describes the qualities and the characteristics of such a life. Finally, Gans focuses on the effects that suburbia will have on its inhabitants.
According to the author, the Levittowners are the archetypical American characters, sharing the same way of life, values, religion, believes, ethnicity and living standards. They represent the American Way of Life. However, Levittown isn’t homogenous in a sense that it still embodies a constructive individualism. Gans draws a positive portrait of those citizens who are there to cement a stable society. They are an epitome of the “traditional” values but they are also capable of opening up to changing times. They represent modernity.
Nevertheless, Gans only portrays a certain “half” of the population. In fact, the “other half” is left apart and ignored, which shows that Levittown was in a sense an enclave and represents American exceptionalism.
Concerned by the potential of white flight, the township in 1974 enacted an ordinance that prohibited the posting of "for sale" or "sold" signs on real estate. Many other communities had enacted similar laws in reaction to the practice of blockbusting in the 1960s and 1970s. The Supreme Court in the 1977 case of Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Willingboro ruled that the ordinance violated the First Amendment protections for commercial speech.
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