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A Timetable Of Suburban Growth

May 2024
1min read

THIS IS A LIST of suburbs across the country and the dates they took on their specific character. In many cases the dates are approximate. Discovering when a place becomes a suburb is rather difficult, and in some cases I have chosen a year based on the time when large numbers of heads of households began commuting, or from the beginning of dense streetcar service. On the other hand, some model suburbs such as Forest Hills Gardens, New York, existed as suburbs from the day the first family moved in.

One more caution: Many of the suburbs listed here are “hamlets,” neither incorporated municipalities in their own right nor places defined by the Postal Service. For instance, Llewellyn Park, New Jersey, a model suburb, is in one of the Oranges, which themselves fragmented in the late nineteenth century. And there are places on the list that long ago became absorbed by other towns, retaining a separate identity only on railroad timetables. I know this very well; I commute back and forth from Queen Anne’s Corner, Massachusetts, a crossroads that lies on the town border between Norwell and Hingham, and which is named on company maps and station signboards but does not appear in road atlases. No one knows why it has the name, but the stage line used it as a place to change horses en route to Cape Cod. Commuters clutching their white books of tickets take such strangely named places in stride, but woe to the summer visitor grasping a pink ticket.

—J. R. S.

COLONIAL SUBURBS

Harlem, N.Y., 1720

Whitehall, R.I., 1730

Medford, Mass., 1734

Beverly, Mass., 1745

Milton, Mass., 1755

Newton, Mass., 1765

STEAMBOAT SUBURBS
(All circa 1845–50)

Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Tarrytown, N.Y.

Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Stony Point, N.Y.

RAILROAD SUBURBS

Naperville, 111., 1857

Lake Forest, III, 1861

Montclair, N.J., 1868

Plainfield, N.J., 1869

Rockville Centre, N.Y., 1870

Winchester, Mass., 1870

Orange, N.J., 1872

Newton, Mass., 1873

San Rafaël, Calif., 1874

Reading, Mass., 1875

West Orange, N.J., 1881

Fail-field, Conn., 1885

Darien, Conn., 1887

Pomona, Calif., 1888

Evanston, 111., 1892

Whitefish Bay, Wis., 1892

Melrose Park, Dl., 1893

Naugatuck, Conn., 1893

Carlstadt, N.J., 1894

Westwood, N.J., 1894

Teaneck, N.J., 1895

Metuchen, N.J., 1900

Oak Park, 111., 1901

Haddon Heights, N.J., 1904

Mineola, N.Y., 1906

Walnut Creek, Calif., 1914

Scarsdale, N.Y., 1915

Clifton, N.J., 1917

Secaucus, N.J., 1917


MODEL SUBURBS

Llewellyn Park, N.J., 1853

Riverside, 111., 1869

Roland Park, Md., 1891

Shaker Heights, Ohio, 1892

Country Club District of Kansas City, Mo., 1906

Beverly HUIs, Calif., 1910

Forest Hills Gardens, N.Y., 1911

Woodbourne (Forest Hills section, Boston), Mass., 1912

Billerica Garden Suburb, Billerica, Mass., 1914

Indian Hill (Worcester), Mass., 1914

Guilford, Md., 1914

Morgan Park, Minn., 1917

Torrance, Calif., 1921

Mariemont, Ohio, 1923

Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., 1923

Homeland, Ga., 1924

Radburn, N.J., 1929

Oyster Bay Cove, N.Y., 1931

STREETCAR SUBURBS

Somervflle, Mass., 1888

Inglewood, Calif., 1889

Takoma Park, Md., 1890

Medford, Mass., 1892

Milneburg, La., 1893

New Castle, Del., 1893

Shorewood, Wis., 1900

Watts, Calif., 1903

Belmont, Mass., 1904

Harlem, N.Y., 1910

AUTOMOBILE SUBURBS

Babylon, N.Y., 1948

Burbank, Calif., 1948

Greenwood, Ind., 1949

Campbell, Calif., 1950

Elsinore, Calif., 1952

San Gregorio, Calif., 1954

Brentwood, N. Y., 1955

Lindenhurst, N. Y., 1955

Amityville, N.Y., 1958

Bountiful, Utah, 1958

Chevy Chase, Md., 1958

Marshall, Calif., 1958

Norwell, Mass., 1961

Duxbury, Mass., 1963

Randolph, Mass., 1963

Clive, Iowa, 1965

Middlesex, Vt., 1965

Oak Hill, Tenn., 1965

Sidney, Maine, 1965

Chamblee, Ga., 1966

Foxboro, Mass., 1967

Peoria, Ariz., 1967

Cerrillos, N.M., 1975

Madrid, N.M., 1977

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