Slipping Away - Page 2

The Eichlers of Atherton and Hillsborough—living dangerously in a peaceful world
Slipping Away
Slipping Away
Slipping Away
The nod for the most historically important of the Eichlers of Atherton and Hillsborough goes to Paul Feder and Ginny Anderson, whose Atherton Eichler was once home to Joe Eichler. Two views of the home's interior above: living room (top) and kitchen (above). Center: Ginny Anderson alongside the home's pool.

A real estate site says the value of this relatively compact Eichler is $4.2 million. Answering a 'knock' at the front gate was a woman who says she and her husband operate a tree service and indicated the owners live in China.

How much longer will this home remain an Eichler?

Paul Feder lives in the most historically important of all the Atherton-Hillsborough homes, the one Joe Eichler built for his family in 1951. The home architecture owes much to the Frank Lloyd Wright home in which Joe had lived a few years earlier. It was the Wright home that inspired him to build homes in the first place.

Feder has watched as other Eichlers near his home in Atherton's Lindenwood subdivision have gone down. These include one just around the bend, and another across the street from his home. A new, much larger house is being built on that site now.

It's notable that, in the main, the Eichlers of Atherton and Hillsborough are stand-alones, not built in tracts. There is one Eichler mini-cluster in Atherton, just north of Lindenwood, that has been dubbed 'the Eichler Six.' But today just four of those six remain.

By our count, which probably misses a few homes, the scorecard at press time is:

• The city of Atherton, population 6,995 in the 2010 census, median income $250,000, said to be the highest in the nation, had seven existing Eichlers. Five others had been torn down or remodeled out of existence.

• Hillsborough, which indeed is hillier than the generally flat Atherton, with 10,825 residents and a median income of $193,000, showed four existing Eichlers, and two that had been torn down or remodeled away.

The total: 18 Eichlers at one time, 11 Eichlers now. How many will there be tomorrow?

The homes' geographic isolation means there's no neighborhood of Eichler fans sticking together to fight for their homes' lives. And the loss of one Eichler in most cases doesn't affect Eichler neighbors. In some cases, who even notices?

Debbie Pinkston, who's lived in her 'Eichler Six' home with her family for 17 years, says there is no sense of Eichler solidarity. While the neighborhood is friendly, and she knows neighbors in passing from her walks, she only knows one of her Eichler neighbors—and not well.