East Bay Modern on the Rise

Concord's Eichlers—still reasonably priced—played an important role in town history
(photo: Sara Goetz)

Concord is unlike most of the East Bay Area, nearly two-thirds white and at times conservative to the point, once in the late 1980s, of electing a fundamentalist pastor who campaigned on repeal of an anti-discrimination law protecting AIDS patients.

Even with another third of the town now Hispanic, it still is less diverse and more conservative than most cities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

However, that made the three developments Joe Eichler built there from 1963 to '65 all the more important for the town sociologically in that era of emerging civil rights.

It could be that the enduring legacy of Eicher's anti-discrimination policy has helped keep all three Eichler neighborhoods there so firmly intact, according to 'Home of the Friendly Bargain,' the lead story in the new fall '14 issue of CA-Modern magazine.

For his story, Features Editor Dave Weinstein talks to a host of longtime residents in these three Eichler tracts comprised of a total of 187 homes: Rancho de Los Santos, Rancho del Diablo, and Parkside.

Perhaps even more relevant, though, as housing discrimination has eased over the decades, is the point made by Eichler blogger and Concord Eichler homeowner Hunter Wimmer about the blue-collar community: "They're the cheapest Eichlers you can buy."

The story explores how social media and the blogosphere have attracted fans of mid-century modern to Concord and drawn the neighborhoods together.

"I think the neighborhoods are becoming more of an enclave of Eichler enthusiasts," says Karl Underwood, a recent transplant from England.

Most stirring, though, are the experiences of Norma Griffin, an African-American whose children could attend 1960s birthday parties of their friends in Parkside—reportedly the first integrated neighborhood in town—but not elsewhere in Concord.

You can read more about the progressive, the dedicated, and the thrifty—while getting a sneak preview of the fall CA-Modern—by clicking here right now for 'Home of the Friendly Bargain.'

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