Research Trumps Rumor - Page 2

Why it matters that Steve Jobs' 'likeler' is no Eichler

Over the years, CA-Modern has written many articles about other developers and architects that created mid-century modern tracts and individual, custom-built homes. CA-Modern would like to feature Mackay and Gavello homes too, though historical information is hard to find.

Calling all these non-Eichlers ‘Eichlers’ does not add to our understanding of an exciting period in architecture and design. Eichler may have been the largest builder of modern homes in California, but many other firms made contributions, and their work should be better known.

It’s not clear why Jobs told Isaacson his home was an Eichler. He may have believed it, or he may have conflated his home, which is like an Eichler, and which is only a few blocks from a development of real Eichlers, with actual Eichlers. Jobs had a lot on his mind; he was ailing.

Maybe Isaacson misunderstood Jobs. Isaacson declined CA-Modern’s invitation to comment on this matter.

One of the most dispiriting things about the story of Steve Jobs and his ‘Eichler’ is just what a poor job our friends in the blogosphere did with it.

A few months ago, an internet search for ‘Steve Jobs in an Eichler’ immediately pulled up dozens of sites. Item after glowing item simply rehashed Isaacson’s assertion. Many published illustrations of generic Eichlers, lifted apparently from other web sites. None showed the actual Jobs’ Mountain View house, whose address is easily found.

One site that did show a photo of what was said to be the actual Jobs house showed instead a standard ranch-style home, and one that does not occupy the lot in question.

It doesn’t appear that even one blogger did any independent research, or made any attempt to verify whether the Jobs’ home was an Eichler or not. It was cut-and-paste all the way.

What does a similar internet search pull up today?

Dozens of sites as well, many of them printing or summarizing CA-Modern’s February 15 press release about its original ‘Jobs likeler is no Eichler’ mini-exposé. The CA-Modern finding has also been picked up by newspaper, magazine, and other professionally edited web sites. The New York Times, in its Bay Area edition, acknowledged that Jobs’ house “was determined to be” a likeler.

Now they’re getting the facts right.