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eichler historic districts

Background

In 2017, the Community Development Department completed an award-winning project that established a framework for understanding buildings and structures from the mid-20th Century period. This architectural period, also known as “Mid-Century Modern,” begins after World War II and lasted until the early 1970s. The period has emerged as an important period of American architecture and has been widely accepted as worthy of historic recognition. The Community Development project included two parts. First, a team of historic consultants developed a historic context statement for this period in Sacramento. Second, the city designed a smart phone app to collect field survey data and did ArcGIS tallying of properties from the 1940-1975 period, identifying approximately 48,000 buildings from this period. Consultants and staff oversaw a team of volunteers who conducted a citywide field survey. Next, the city identified four individual landmarks and one potential historic district as part of the field survey. The four landmarks were listed in the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources in late 2018. During late 2019 and early 2020, the city plans to support the residents in doing  neighborhood outreach within the South Land Park Hills Unit No. 7 neighborhood to gauge neighborhood preservation concerns and the potential interest in creating a historic district that recognizes the notable unique architecture within that area of Sacramento.

 

You can review the Mid-Century Modern Survey and Context Statement here.

Sacramento’s Eichler Tract: South Land Park Hills Unit No.  7

The South Land Park Hills Unit No. 7 Eichler Development was built by merchant builder Joseph Eichler and his Eichler Homes, Inc. from 1955 through 1956. The majority of Eichler’s Northern California developments occurred in the Bay Area, including Sunnyvale and San Mateo Highlands, and Palo Alto. Sacramento was one of Eichler’s most distant endeavors.

Eichler retained the services of the architecture firm Jones & Emmons to assist with the design his homes. Jones & Emmons became internationally renowned during their 18-year partnership (1950-1968) and were affiliated with Eichler Homes throughout the building company's life. In all, the firm designed approximately 5,000 of Eichler’s 11,000 California homes. The South Land Park Hills Unit No. 7 development is a significant Sacramento example of the architects’ design work and of Eichler’s professional and personal beliefs, which remained consistent throughout his career as a builder: that his homes should always be of the best modern design possible; that they be priced moderately; and that they be available to any buyer, without regard to race, religion, or national origin. Eichler was also the most prominent homebuilder in the country during the 1950s to practice such nondiscrimination policies. This distinguished him from many of his contemporaries. More information about Joseph Eichler can be found during late 2019 in the South Land Park Hills Unit No. 7 District Record and will also be included soon on the Sacramento Modern website.

Eichler Homes, Inc. constructed the South Land Park Hills Eichler development in 1955 on approximately 14 acres of the subdivision named South Land Park Hills Unit No. 7, which grew along three streets: South Land Park Drive; Fordham Way and Oakridge Way.

The Eichler model units in South Land Park Hills were advertised within Sacramento newspapers in early May 1955. Advertised as an initial development unit of 54 homes, Eichler’s initial plan was to eventually complete 143 homes in the neighborhood. Eichler’s confidence in the larger plan is evidenced in his inclusion of a street named for the project’s patriarch, that can be seen below on early advertisements. At the time the Eichler company had completed approximately 2,500 homes throughout the San Francisco Peninsula and was eying an expanding into new markets including Marin, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sacramento counties.


1956 map of Sacramento, showing new Eichler

development area near city limits [Source: Shell Oil Company]

 

 

Along with architects Jones & Emmons, the development company Moss & Moss acted as builders for the initially planned units. Moss & Moss was also subsequently named as official sales agent for the new development. In an instance of marketing timing, Eichler won a national award for design and construction of dwellings that gave Eichler’s Sacramento project a needed advertising boost. Advertisements of the time listed three models which were along South Land Park Drive and up to six possible plans. 

 


Advertised Floor Plans

 

Advertised amenities included floor-to-ceiling glass walls, protected gardens on the sides of the houses and beamed ceilings of Douglas fir and 2X8 redwood as well as radiant heat and air-cooling systems (Sacramento Union 1955:21; The Sacramento Bee 1956:C20; Adamson 2002:84).

 

During the Mid-Century Modern Historic Context and Survey in 2017, the city’s historic consultants concluded Joseph Eichler’s South Land Park Hills Unit No. 7 appears to meet the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) Criterion C, California Register of Historical Resources (CRHR) Criterion 3, and Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources (Sacramento Register) Criteria iii, iv, and v at the local level of significance as an important example of post-World War II development by the innovative Eichler Homes. Consultants recommended 48 contributing properties and 5 non-contributing properties (shown in the tables below). The recommended period of significance is 1955-1956, the years the houses were constructed.

 

Recommended Contributing Resources

 

APN

Address

Model

California Historical Resource Status Code

024-0281-003-0000

6280 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0281-005-0000

6300 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0281-006-0000

6320 S. Land Park Drive

Fairmeadow

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0292-008-0000

6401 S. Land Park Drive

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0292-007-0000

6409 S. Land Park Drive

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0292-006-0000

6417 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0321-001-0000

6424 S. Land Park Drive

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0292-005-0000

6425 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0321-002-0000

6432 S. Land Park Drive

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-012-0000

6433 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0321-003-0000

6440 S. Land Park Drive

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-010-0000

6449 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0322-001-0000

6456 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-009-0000

6457 S. Land Park Drive

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0322-002-0000

6464 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-008-0000

6465 S. Land Park Drive

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0322-003-0000

6472 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-007-0000

6473 S. Land Park Drive

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0352-001-0000

6480 S. Land Park Drive

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0352-002-0000

6488 S. Land Park Drive

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0351-022-0000

6489 S. Land Park Drive

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0352-003-0000

6496 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0351-020-0000

6509 S. Land Park Drive

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0351-019-0000

6517 S. Land Park Drive

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0351-018-0000

6525 S. Land Park Drive

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0292-002-0000

6408 Fordham Way

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0294-009-0000

6409 Fordham Way

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0292-003-0000

6416 Fordham Way

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0294-008-0000

6417 Fordham Way

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0292-004-0000

6424 Fordham Way

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0294-007-0000

6425 Fordham Way

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-001-0000

6432 Fordham Way

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0294-006-0000

6433 Fordham Way

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-002-0000

6440 Fordham Way

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0324-017-0000

6441 Fordham Way

Fairmeadow

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-003-0000

6448 Fordham Way

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-004-0000

6456 Fordham Way

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0324-016-0000

6457 Fordham Way

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0323-005-0000

6464 Fordham Way

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0324-015-0000

6465 Fordham Way

Fairmeadow

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0351-001-0000

6472 Fordham Way

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0351-002-0000

6500 Fordham Way

JE-83

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0294-003-0000

6412 Oakridge Way

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0294-004-0000

6418 Oakridge Way

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0294-005-0000

6424 Oakridge Way

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0324-001-0000

6430 Oakridge Way

JE-14

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0324-002-0000

6436 Oakridge Way

JE-84

3D, 3CD, 5D2

024-0324-004-0000

6448 Oakridge Way

JE-85

3D, 3CD, 5D2

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Recommended Non-Contributing Resources

 

APN

Address

Alterations

 

California Historical Resource Status Code

024-0281-004-0000

6298 S. Land Park Drive

Extensive roof modifications

6Z

024-0323-011-0000

6441 S. Land Park Drive

Extensive roof modifications

6Z

024-0323-006-0000

6481 S. Land Park Drive

Extensive roof modifications and rear addition

6Z

024-0351-021-0000

6501 S. Land Park Drive

Complete remodel/replacement

6Z

024-0324-003-0000

6442 Oakridge Way

Complete remodel/replacement

6Z

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The City of Palo Alto Eichler Tracts

The City of Palo Alto’s Joseph Eichler neighborhoods represent the highest concentration of Eichler tracts in the country for a single municipality. The City of Palo Alto has 32 tracts of homes developed by Eichler, which are shown in the map below. Of these 32 tracts, nine are regulated through a single-story zoning overlay districts that restricts development of second story additions or new two-story buildings, and two districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Palo Alto recently developed comprehensive Palo Alto Eichler Neighborhood Design Guidelines to assist homeowners considering projects involving Eichler properties.   

 

City of Palo Alto Eichler Tracts (Source: Palo Eichler Neighborhood Design Guidelines, 2018)

 

City of Orange Eichler Tracts

In 2018, the City of Orange listed three Eichler Tracts as historic districts on the City’s local historic register. Below is a map showing the Eichler Tracts in the City of Orange that were designated as historic districts. At the same time, the city adopted Orange Eichler Design Standards to assist homeowners in performing work on homes within the Eichler historic districts designated by the City of Orange.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 City of Orange Eichler Historic Districts (Source: www.cityoforange.org/1790/Eichlers, 2018)

 
 
 
  

 

 

City of Sunnyvale Eichler Tracts

In 2009, the City of Sunnyvale adopted Eichler Design Guidelines to assist homeowners in Eichler neighborhoods in planning renovations on their historic homes. According too the city’s guidelines, “the Eichler Design Guidelines were created to help preserve the unique character of Eichler homes and assist property owners in designing new homes, expansions, and other exterior changes to respect and complement the scale and character of existing Eichler homes and their surrounding neighborhoods.” The map below shows the locations and sizes of the Eichler tracts within the City of Sunnyvale.


 

City of Sunnyvale Eichler Tracts (Source: Eichler Design Guidelines, 2009)

 

Outreach and Next Steps for Sacramento

Residents are currently meeting with other homeowners and other stakeholders in the South Land Park neighborhood to explore the level of interest in designating South Land Park Hills Tract No.  7 a historic district and listing the district in the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources. Historic Preservation staff are happy to assist in the outreach effort as the residents think appropriate. Listing in the Sacramento Register Comes with both benefits and restrictions that are shown in the table below.

 

Benefits

Restrictions

Area would gain positive recognition as a historic district.

Discretionary projects with the potential to significantly impact the building or district (i.e. demolition) would trigger a higher level of review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Each contributing property would be eligible for a bronze plaque pursuant to the conditions of the City’s bronze plaque program.

Alterations to the exterior of the property, or publicly accessible interiors, would be subject to Preservation Site Plan and Design Review, which utilize the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties or adopted design guidelines, in lieu of the property’s current design review process, known as City Wide Site Plan and Design Review which utilizes the currently adopted City Wide Design Guidelines.

Each contributing property would be eligible for the City’s Historic Places Grant Program.

 

Each contributing property would be eligible to apply for a Mills Act Contract. Mills Act contracts are agreements in which a property owner agrees to preserve and maintain their historic property in exchange for property tax evaluation by the County Assessor using a formula that usually, but not always, results in a tax reduction.

 

For each contributing property, improvements could utilize the State Historic Building Code, including exemptions from current code, such as exemption from the CBC Title 24 energy efficiency standards.

 

In addition, there is substantial economic research from across the United States indicate that landmark designation preserves property values, reducing this level of depreciation during real estate bust/boom cycles.

 

Staff Contact Information

Carson Anderson

Preservation Director

(916) 808-8259

canderson@cityofsacramento.org

 

Sean de Courcy

Associate Preservation Planner

(916) 808-27969

sdecourcy@cityofssacramento.org