In Willow Glen, Eichler built four tracts called Fairglen and Fairglen Addition Units 1-3 between 1957 and 1960, totaling 247 homes. Found west of Booksin between Dry Creek and Husted, these tracts offer neighborhoods at least as attractive as (and sometimes more than) anything in South Palo Alto or Sunnyvale, yet prices are quite reasonable. There’s even a swim club, Kirkwood, at the corner of Hart and Meridian, with two pools, picnic tables, BBQ pits and bathrooms. A few of these Fairglen homes are identical to what Joe was building concurrently in Sunnyvale’s Fairbrae tract. These include the 1228 and 1300 sq.ft. 3/2s, a 1408 sq.ft. 4/2 courtyard entry model, the 1475 sq.ft 4/2 atrium entry and the popular 1755 sq.ft. 4/2 atrium. But most are unique to Fairglen, almost always 4/2s, including a 1509 sq.ft. courtyard entry and atriums of 1614, 1618, 1656 and 1672 sq.ft. Lots are generally just average in size, often in the 6000 sq.ft. range.
An exception to this is the first Fairglen development, 30 homes off Dry Creek on Adele and Margot. Upscale for 1957, this tract features lots usually of 8000 sq.ft. or more, while the homes are usually 4/2s in the 1700-1800 sq.ft. range. Add the cachet that goes with the beautiful Dry Creek area, and this is the crème de la crème of Willow Glen Eichler neighborhoods, but by no means the only attractive one. Nearby is a large Eichler custom built in 1963 off Dry Creek.
Willow Glen also has another, nameless Eichler development of 66 homes, further west near the intersection of Curtner and Dumbarton, built in 1962. It’s almost all 4/2s ranging from 1496 to 1765 sq.ft., with 1622 sq.ft. the most common.
Rose Garden offers a few small contemporaries built in 1950 and 1951, mixed with conventional ranchers on Lorelei and Bel Air, beautiful tree-lined streets. Rose Garden also features a handful of impressive custom contemporaries in some very compelling neighborhoods, a reminder that at one time the contemporary was the thinking man’s upscale home.
West San Jose near Cupertino has a few of the American Housing Guild atrium-style contemporaries I mentioned under Sunnyvale. They’re west of Lawrence and south of Bollinger, in a very pleasant area with excellent Cupertino schools. There’s just one 4-bedroom/2-bath floorplan but it comes in a variety of front treatments—cinderblock, brick or wood siding—with the cinderblock treatment looking very Eichler-like. While most have forced-air heating, a few may have radiant.
Rounding out the west San Jose contemporary scene are two small Eichler neighborhoods. One, 53 homes built in 1962-3 on Mossbrook and Student just west of Campbell, is something of an anomaly for contemporary neighborhoods in that it sells for more than the surrounding conventional ranchers. That’s because these are big homes for the area, 4/2 atrium models of either 1671 or 1785 sq.ft.
The other Eichler neighborhood is just east of Campbell at the intersection of Bascom and Fruitdale, in the Sherman Oaks area a few blocks from San Jose City College. This apparently nameless tract, often referred to by the name of its surrounding neighborhood, Rose Glen, is comprised of about 74 modest homes, mostly 3/2s of under 1300 sq.ft. although a few are larger. Rather unusual for 1953 are the handful of 3/1s, although a few also show up in Palo Alto’s Fairmeadow tract of the same vintage. These 3/1s are identical to those of Palo Alto’s Green Gables Addition built in 1950, which in turn were based on the original AA-1. All are in the earliest Eichler style, with the shed roof, “hat” roof or low gable roof.
The discussion continues at Eichler City on Pinterest, with over a zillion MCM- and Midcentury-related photos and descriptions. See photos of typical Willow Glen and other West San Jose Midcentury Modern plus MCM icons around the world as well as lesser-known homes, architects and builders and even a few oddities. Also check out Eichler City on Facebook.
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copyright © John Fyten 2004-16