By Lynn Jenkins
For the Times Sentinel
Most claim it all started in Levittown, N.Y. After World War II, there was an immediate need for homes for the millions of returning service men and women. William Levitt saw opportunity and quickly set up thousands of mass-produced, look-alike, cracker-box homes, side by side in what has become known as the subdivision.
With their lawn-centered front yard reaching out to the street, these homes became the definition of the new lifestyle for beginning families. Lawn obsession was quickly adopted by these up and coming young Americans. The Garden Clubs of America and the U.S. Golf Association also influenced homeowners to develop the ideal lawn.
Seizing the opportunity, chemical companies that were no longer producing poison gas for wartime, shifted back to lawn chemicals. With constant ads suggesting owners out-compete their neighbors for the best lawn — “Live the American Dream” — chemical companies kept their factories working at wartime high levels. And it’s only gotten worse since then.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.