National Register No-show - Page 4

It's the tenth anniversary for the two Eichler neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places—but no others have joined them
National Register No-show
National Register No-show
Greenmeadow exterior (2005 - top) and Eichler Homes brochure for the development (mid-1950s - above).

"Here at Meadowcreek, we kicked around the idea of applying for National Register status as well," says Rania Bratberg, whose neighborhood of Eichler-designed apartments (today condos) abuts Greenmeadow. "But then it seemed too much trouble, and we decided not to do it."

And, when the idea of applying to the National Register arises, it is often shot down because a neighborhood simply does not feel threatened by over-development.

This was the case a few years back in the Thousand Oaks Eichler neighborhood. Tom Vick, a resident there who had briefly gotten involved with Historic Quest, said he'd like to see his neighborhood on the National Register. But, he said, there was no impetus because "the neighborhood is still pretty self-preserved."

Nationwide, says Paul Lusignan, who still handles National Register applications from California, there has not been a rush of modern neighborhoods seeking designation.

"In the past ten years there have been any number of modern buildings listed but not a lot of historic districts," he says. "It's kind of surprising to me that there haven't been any more Eichler neighborhoods. Those first two were cracking the shell, getting the concept out there. That was very important. After that, doing others should have been done more easily."

He does expect, though, that more modern communities will be applying as time goes on.

"The ones that go [onto the Register] first are the low-hanging fruit, the really special neighborhoods," Lusignan says. "First the real landmarks, then the really distinctive neighborhoods. Eventually, as people get to understand the concept, you'll start getting more and more neighborhoods. We're not quite there yet."

While being on the National Register does not preserve a neighborhood, it's a special recognition that feels good to the community and reinforces neighborhood pride.

"We have not been able to capitalize on it through getting grants or assistance maintaining facilities," says Karen Pauls, a Greenmeadow board member. "But it hasn't been a negative, certainly. It has not brought any unwanted publicity. And it's definitely a matter of pride that the neighborhood is on the National Register. You'll hear people telling other people about it."

 

Photography: David Toerge, Ernie Braun, Mark Watson; and courtesy National Register of Historic Places