By Robert M. Fogelson

ISBN-10: 0300108761

ISBN-13: 9780300108767

The integral American suburbs, with their gracious single-family houses, huge eco-friendly lawns, and leaf-shaded streets, mirrored not just citizens’ goals yet nightmares, not just hopes yet fears: worry of others, of racial minorities and lowincome teams, worry of themselves, worry of the industry, and, specifically, worry of swap. those fears, and the restrictive covenants that embodied them, are the topic of Robert M. Fogelson’s attention-grabbing new book.As Fogelson finds, suburban subdividers tried to deal with the deep-seated fears of undesirable swap, particularly the encroachment of “undesirable” humans and actions, through implementing a variety of regulations at the plenty. those regulations ranged from mandating minimal expenditures and architectural kinds for the homes to forbidding the proprietors to promote or hire their estate to any member of a number of racial, ethnic, and spiritual teams. those regulations, a lot of that are nonetheless quite often hired, let us know as a lot in regards to the complexities of yankee society this present day as approximately its complexities a century in the past.

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12 But as a solution to the general problem of suburbia that greatly troubled Olmsted and others, they left much to be desired. Although a home in Short Hills was much less expensive than an estate on Long Island’s North Shore, it was still way beyond the reach of all but a few Americans. And of the few who could afford to buy property there, even fewer met Hartshorn’s stringent standards. Moreover, very few Americans had the resources of a Lorillard, Haskell,  ,  – Hartshorn, or Sears.

And other landscape architects. According to Olmsted, most subdivisions were laid out in a way that left them vulnerable to pernicious changes. Much like city streets, the roads were arranged in a grid, one about as wide as the other, most running to the business district and connecting with many other roads. Thus laid out, said Olmsted, they served not to preserve the ‘‘conditions of rural attractiveness’’ but rather to facilitate the conversion of singlefamily houses into stores and shops. ’’ Making matters worse, the lots were often so small that if some property owners did something distasteful—if, said Olmsted, they built ‘‘ill-proportioned, vile-colored, shabby-genteel dwelling houses, pushing their gables or eaveboards impertinently over the sidewalk,’’ or erected ‘‘high dead-walls, as of a series of private mad houses, as is done in some English suburbs’’—many others would be affected.

Richard, which was handed down in , the New York Court of Chancery issued an injunction preventing the defendant from operating a coal yard on two lots in Greenwich Village (and spewing coal dust over the nearby houses) in spite of a covenant that prohibited any business offensive to the neighbors. Writing for the court, Judge William T. McCoun declared that the object of the covenant was to protect not the seller, who no longer had an      interest in the property, but the buyer, who was entitled to relief in the event of a breach by another buyer.

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