Greenbelt's History

Greenbelt, Maryland is a planned community built in 1937 as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. One of three Green Towns built during the Great Depression, the project put struggling Americans to work, provided much needed low-income housing in the Washington, D.C. region and was a bold experiment in town planning and cooperative living. Its first residents enjoyed modern homes, schools, a pool, a library and a town center complete with cooperative businesses and a movie theater all within walking distance in a utopian park-like setting. Although the community had been built by a work force made up of both African Americans and whites, because of segregation, only white families were able to apply for residency. 

Despite nearly doubling in size to accommodate WWII era housing, and steady growth through the second half of the 20th century, Greenbelt’s original streamlined architecture, ample green space, and innovative design have been preserved and recognized as a National Historic Landmark. It is now also a very diverse community welcoming people of all backgrounds. After nearly 80 years, the City continues to thrive even as it looks towards sustainability and the future. To read more, visit our Greenbelt History page. 

For more detailed information about the city's history organized by decade, visit our exhibition, Greenbelt: The First 75 Years, 1937-2012

Greenbelt Cemeteries

 

Looking for information about who lived in the area before Greenbelt was built? Check out this film about Greenbelt's cemeteries

Greenbelt Today

 

Our biggest supporters have been members of our community! Want to learn more about what Greenbelt is like now?

 

Visit the city's website or download a Welcome to Greenbelt guide! 

Visitor Information

Historic House

The Historic House is OPEN Sunday, Nov. 10

10B Crescent Rd.

Greenbelt, MD 20770

Open Sundays 1-5pm

Admission $5 or under

Contact us to visit or book  tours on other days!

Exhibition Gallery

 

Lenore Thomas Straus Exhibit

Greenbelt Community Center

15 Crescent Rd. 

Greenbelt, MD 20770

Open M-Sat 9am-10pm, 

Sundays 10am-7pm

Greenbelt Museum Office


15 Crescent Road

Greenbelt, Maryland 20770

301-507-6582 

info@greenbeltmuseum.org

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Preserving and sharing the New Deal history of an experimental planned community built by FDR in suburban Maryland in 1937 and still thriving today.