How would you feel if you found out you weren’t technically allowed to live in your own neighborhood due to the color of your skin? Though this may sound ridiculous considering the world that we think we live in now, this is an actual rule that was in place in Lake Hills subdivision in El Dorado Hills, California. This is just one very good example showing that racism is a part of our history that is still applicable to the common suburban area today. It is difficult to name a more perfect example to represent the rise of suburbia in the 1950’s than El Dorado Hills, due to its predominantly white culture and military spending.
The growth of suburbia in America all started with the creation of Levittown. Levittown was the first mass produced suburb, created in New York. Its creator, William Levitt, is regarded as the father of modern suburbia in the U.S. Highways were also a factor in the growth of suburbia; specifically where highway off ramps were located. Wherever an off ramp could be found, that is the area which generally flourished due to easy access, while places with no access from highways soon became ghost towns.
El Dorado Hills is the perfect example of a modern day suburban area due to its predominantly white culture. Just recently in El Dorado Hills, a very racist clause was brought to the attention of the public by a family moving into a Lake Hills home. The clause, which was found in a section that included the technicalities and agreements of living in a Lake Hills home, stated that “‘No person except those of the white Caucasian race shall occupy or reside upon any residential lot or plot in this subdivision, except when employed in the household of a white Caucasian tenant or owner”’(Fox). This clause was put into effect in 1961, but slipped through the cracks and was never removed. Even though this clause is not able to be legally enforced today, it is still concerning and alarming to be reminded that this was the reality for residents of El Dorado Hills in the very beginning. It is rules like this that are what shaped our predominantly white culture today. This history of racism has made it difficult for races other than white to have enough money for nicer area homes, therefore naturally segregating areas/neighborhoods. In fact, as of 2004, El Dorado Hills was found to be 90.3% white population. Another reason for the predominantly white culture is what was called “white flight”. In order to escape the influx of minorities, white city dwellers moved to suburbs; therefore creating even further natural segregation.
El Dorado Hills is also a great example of a modern day suburban area due to the amount of military spending we do here. Take Aerojet for example: “Aerojet was an American rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer based primarily in Rancho Cordova, California”(Wiki). It is safe to say that a good amount of Aerojet workers resided in or around El Dorado Hills/Rancho Cordova area. With this high amount of military spending going on in this area, it was bound to make the people and the surrounding land a richer and more suburban place. Military spending in situations like El Dorado Hill’s are a big part of the rise of suburbia everywhere.
El Dorado Hills is the perfect example to represent the rise of suburbia in the 1950’s due to the military spending and its predominantly white culture. Our history as a nation has shaped us into being naturally segregated through economics and other things. If we want this segregation to come to an end, I urge you to take action. Anyone can help; start by writing a politician expressing your concerns about segregation in neighborhoods. Suggest the use of reparations in order to “pay for racism” which will give more diverse races the money to buy homes in nicer areas, therefore helping the segregation problem.
Article by Kashtin Holly & Video by Jackson Slaughter
“EDH APAC Regular May 2018 Meeting.” El Dorado Hills Area Planning Advisory Committee,
“El Dorado Hills Subdivision Has ‘Whites Only’ Clause on Books.” FOX40, 25 Aug. 2016,
“The Growth of Suburbia.” Khan Academy ,www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-us-history/