At Home with the Eichlers - Page 4

Tracing the revealing story behind Joe and Lillian’s 50 years living in 14 different places around the Bay
At Home with the Eichlers

5. Hillsborough: the Bazett house (1944-'45)

The Bazett house, 101 Reservoir Road, was built in 1940 for Sidney Bazett and his wife Louise. They lived there a few years then decided to rent it out. It's not clear how Joe Eichler learned the house was for rent—but he jumped on it. That surprised Ned because, to that point, his father had not expressed interest in modern architecture, though, he says, "My father was interested in new things."

The Eichlers were reluctantly made to move out when the Bazetts sold the house to Betty and Louis Frank.

After the war, coincidentally, the house became famous among the left-wing intelligentsia of the Bay Area as a gathering spot. Telesis, a group of progressive architects and planners, met there, as did artists and writers, thanks to Betty Frank, who shared their artistic and progressive interests.

At Home with the Eichlers

6. San Mateo: Peninsula Golf & Country Club (1946)

For a brief time after the Eichler family was booted from the Wright house, they lived at the Peninsula Golf and Country Club, at 701 Madera Drive, not far from their former San Mateo home, according to a San Mateo directory. Joe was an avid golfer and must have had connections.

7. Sunnyvale: pre-Eichler 'Eichler' (circa 1947-'48)

It's not clear where the Eichler family lived throughout the late 1940s. It's clear though that they remained in the San Mateo area because their youngest son, Ned, was finishing high school. He graduated San Mateo High in 1947 at age 16 and left for Dartmouth. Once Ned was out of the house, Joe and Lillian relocated to San Francisco in 1948.

But the Eichlers also lived, at least briefly, in one of Joe's very early tract homes in Sunnyvale—address unknown and not pictured—before he adopted the modern style that made him famous, Ned recalled. Joe had just gotten into homebuilding.

Joe was already working with architects Anshen and Allen to design a custom home for himself and Lillian in Atherton, but had not yet hired them to design tract homes.

8. San Francisco: Nob Hill (1948-1951)

Once Ned had decamped, Joe and Lillian moved back to San Francisco—to 7 Leroy Place (not pictured), an unpretentious, six-unit, three-story building from 1908 on a narrow street that can only be called an alley.

Apartments are large though—one has seven bedrooms—and the location is urbane, a few blocks from Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park. They were minutes from downtown San Francisco, North Beach, and from what became Joe's favorite restaurant, Jack's.