Meet Builder Robert Rummer - Page 5

Much more than a coincidence—when the Eichler modern aesthetic rose up in the suburbs of Portland

In spite of these documented drawings, the Jones Archive still contends that Jones's affiliation with Rummer was brief and unproductive, and "it would be wrong to say or to suggest that anything at all was 'designed' by the firm. It is true there was interest, but there is really no evidence of work done... "In his recent interview, Rummer admitted to spending two weeks at a Bay Area Eichler subdivision under construction. Rummer observed Eichler crews build houses, he said, and had several conversations with the construction foreman.

In the early 1960s, Rummer's home designs eventually drew the attention of architect Claude Oakland and his lawyer, according to architect Kinji Imada, who was on Oakland's staff at the time. "We were quite outraged to see the photo of his [Rummer's] house published in a magazine," remembers Imada. "Our attorney contacted Rummer, and he denied that the plan had been copied, that it was just coincidence that there were similarities. That was totally absurd, of course... However, we were advised that there was nothing that we could do legally."

This brings us to a recent e-mail the Eichler Network received from a Rummer owner who was elated to discover her home's next of kin, the California Eichlers, and the numerous plans found on Eichler Network Online's Blueprint Depot. Having examined the online presentation drawing of Claude Oakland plan MC-674, designed in the early 1960s for Eichler's Lucas Valley tract (and modified for others), the Rummerite became excited about the Eichler model's front elevation and its floor plan and room details. "That Eichler not only looks like my house," she exclaimed with joy, matching the Eichler blueprint to her Portland Rummer, "that is my house!"

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