Eichlers in a Nutshell

What: Mass-produced, affordably priced houses with a designer feel, numerous architectural innovations, and a decidedly modern flair.

Who: Joseph (Joe) Eichler, founder and principal partner of Eichler Homes, Inc.; architect Robert Anshen of San Francisco firm Anshen & Allen; architect A. Quincy Jones of Los Angeles firm Jones & Emmons; architect Claude Oakland of San Francisco firm Claude Oakland Associates.

Where: Though the majority of Eichler homes are located in Northern California, the first ones built in Southern California are located in Orange: the Fairhaven tract (west of Esplanade St. and north of Fairhaven Ave.), the Fairhills tract (south of Katella Ave. and east of Hewes St.), and the Fairmeadow tract (on either side of Cambridge St. north of Taft Ave.).

When: Eichler Homes, Inc., was established in 1949, and in 1959 the company expanded to Southern California by developing tracts in Orange. Construction of the Fairhaven tract began in 1960, of the Fairmeadow tract in 1962, and of the Fairhills tract in 1963.

How: By hiring architects to develop modern architectural designs and hiring skilled workmen to build them, Eichler Homes, Inc. managed to keep costs low and sell architect-designed, mass-produced homes at affordable prices.

Why: Joe’s son Ned Eichler puts it best: “Joe Eichler was determined that his houses be both architecturally sound and marketable…. Building houses was a vehicle for his personal aesthetic, even artistic, expression. He infused employees, subcontractors, and suppliers with his zeal, and for a decade or so, together they performed a near miracle.” (Ned Eichler, “A Cherished Legacy,” in Eichler Homes: Design for Living, by Jerry Ditto and Lanning Stern [San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1995], 77.)

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