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Walt Disney Elementary School

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1953, John S. Carver. 200 Lakeside Dr. North, Pinewood section

Each quadrant of Levittown has its special focus with a school named for a national or regional icon. When the school board thought of American heroes, they memorialized the usual dead white men including the hero of the crossing of the Delaware, George Washington; Pennsylvania's only president, James Buchanan; and the Pennsylvania inventor of the steamboat, John Fitch. For the last of the schools, the board asked the grade school students to select their American hero. To everyone's shock they came up with the still very much alive Walt Disney. As a result the easterly Pinewood section framed by Levittown and Mill Creek parkways is centered on the Walter Gropius–derived orange brick and limestone-detailed one-story modular Walt Disney Elementary School. Fronted by a floating plane carport and set back on a deep lawn, the school epitomizes the brave new world that linked car, residence, work, and retail as mass culture spread via television to every sector of society. Disney attended the dedication and his portrait appears in the lobby of the school named for him; for years, each entering class received a bath towel with Mickey Mouse's image. The nearby Pennsbury High School of 1956 by Bellante and Clauss was equally assertive in its modern approach that found renewed attention in the AIA's 1961 Awards Review.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas

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