Eichler Homes Inc. and Joseph Eichler / by Brendhan Stowe

Developer Eichler Homes, constructed approximately 11,000 single-family homes in California, starting in the late 1940s.  These thousands of homes reflect the beauty and uniqueness of the Eichler design and the virtue and daring nature of the developer behind it. Fifty years later, the houses that Joseph Eichler built endure as a remarkable legacy. 

By the mid-1940s, Joseph Eichler became intrigued by modernist design, particularly with the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, designer of the Bazett house, which Eichler lived in during World War II. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, Eichler began to forge a dream of home-building based on modernist aesthetics and determination to be different.

 In 1949, it was uncommon to find merchant builders engaged with architects, Eichler became engrossed with building communities of homes characterised by both flair and affordability. Aligning himself with a stable of progressive, empathic architects such as the San Francisco firm of Anshen & Allen, Jones & Emmons, later Claude Oakland.

As regional architecture designed for the Bay Area's benign climate, their house designs befuddled the popular masses—underling boldness, change, and confidence through indoor and outdoor living.

Joseph Eichler died in 1974 at age 73. Now, 35 years later, when it comes to describing Joseph Eichler, his family and peers remain clear about what he stood for.

"On one side, he was a relentless overachiever who knew what he wanted, how to get to it, and how to overcome the roadblocks and even his own weaknesses. Before and even after 1947, my father never held a hammer, a saw, or a wrench in his hand. Still, he became a master builder." 
- Ned Eichler (Joseph´s son)

A strong supporter of fair housing and heartily opposed to racial discrimination. Eichler was the first large real estate developer to sell to minorities and even constructed a home on his own land for an NAACP leader. Joseph resigned from the National Association of Home Builders in 1958 because he opposed the racial discrimination policies. According to reports from Eichler homeowners, Eichler offered to buy back homes from those who had concerns about accepting their minority neighbours

"If, as you claim, this will destroy property values, I could lose millions. You should be ashamed of yourselves for wasting your time and mine with such pettiness."
- Joseph Eichler