Privacy, protection, and prestige. What do they mean to you? If you’re not one of those people who lives in a gated community, they probably mean something different than what they mean to those who do live there.
Gated communities in the U.S. date to the 1850s, but it wasn’t until the first three centuries of the 20th century, before the Great Depression, that the Country Club Suburb period began to flourish.
The rich and famous alike have always been drawn to gated communities. The amenities and exclusiveness these places offer are just two of the lures. But there’s more to it: buyers don’t just purchase a house and property, they purchase a lifestyle. They want to live in self-contained nirvanas.
Here’s just a partial list of the most exclusive in the country.
Tuxedo Park, Tuxedo Park, New York (1880s)
This exclusive 2,600-acre enclave less than an hour from mid-town Manhattan is one of the oldest gated communities in the country; it boasts that no two properties are the same, not the norm at most gated communities. Comfortably ensonced in the Ramapo Mountains, and home to century-old trees, three crystal-clear lakes, an 18-hole golf course, and an array of European-style architecture, Tuxedo Park is, fittingly, where the tuxedo jacket was first introduced to America.
Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club, Boca Raton, Florida (1959)
This exclusive 450-acre country club community in South Florida, with its full-service marina and yacht facilities, is known internationally for being one of the most exclusive yachting communities in the U.S. It also includes a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course and facilities, and tennis and croquet courts. The club is also in a desired location: adjacent to both the Boca Raton Resort and Club and Boca Raton Inlet, the latter of which provides direct access to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Oaks, Calabasas, California (early 2000s)
The Oaks, in the western Los Angeles county city of Calabasas, is one of the newer gated communities in the sprawling metropolitan area. A planned development that features a community center, tennis courts, and Olympic-sized pool, it also offers within its community even more exclusivity – The Estates of the Oaks, where homes are are typically two to four times the size and price than in the regular community.
Indian Springs Ranch, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming (early 1990s)
Located halfway between Jackson Hole proper and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, near Grand Teton National Park and the Snake River, is Indian Springs Ranch. Set on 640 protected acres teeming with wildlife and flowing natural springs, Indian Springs Ranch is a community of wide-open spaces, homes built of logs and river rock, and incredible views of the spectacular Tetons. Unsurpassed golf, skiing, and fly fishing are all within a few moments’ drive.
Hillandale at Georgetown, Washington, D.C. (late 1980s)
In northwest D.C. is Hillandale, a luxury community on 42 acres in a naturally wooded setting. Beautiful parkland surrounds the community, which includes tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a playground area for kids. It’s a haven for the nation’s capital’s power brokers.
The American Housing Survey states that the growth of gated communities is growing and shows no signs of waning. The survey, conducted the Census Bureau, reported in its most recent survey that the number of people living in gated communities rose from 7 million in 2001 to nearly 11 million in 2009, although it’s probable that the numbers are actually higher now.