Greenmeadow Historic District



Period of Significance: 1954-1955

Architects and Developers: Joseph Eichler, Jones & Emmons, Thomas Church

Style: Mid-Century Modern

Features: single story, horizontal emphasis, floor-to-ceiling glass, post-and-beam/slab-on-grade construction, “T-Shape” interior plan, simple forms and detail

Contributing Resources: 220


Greenmeadow is one of Palo Alto’s several mid-century subdivisions designed by Joseph Eichler and the larger of the two listed on the National Register of Historic Places (the other is Green Gables). While it is listed on the National Register, it is not a designated district on Palo Alto’s Inventory.

Greenmeadow is significant for being the most intact example of an Eichler subdivision, in addition to boasting the largest Eichler homes with the most advanced features and level of planning.  All 220 contributing structures of Greenmeadow were built on land owned by Eichler Inc. from 1954 to 1955 and consisted of six distinct model types. Another important aspect of Greenmeadow is the Community Center complex; architecturally similar to the neighborhood's homes, Greenmeadow’s Community Center provides a public space for meetings, parties, and classes and has a swimming pool as well as a care facility for pre-school children of working parents.  It is integral to the unity and functioning of the neighborhood to this day. Greenmeadow is unique in this aspect and the incorporation of a community center as part of the neighborhood was an innovative concept for the time, as the design of suburban subdivisions usually discouraged this type of informal interaction.

Greenmeadow homes are similar to other Eichler homes, such as those in Green Gables. However, they are considered to be the hallmark of Eichler homes with regard to size, planning, complexity, and technology. Although the houses of Greenmeadow generally fell within the six different types of home models, each home was carefully and individually situated, giving it the feel of a custom home. This feeling was reinforced through landscaping by Thomas Church, a well-known local landscape architect. Exterior features of Greenmeadow homes include double-car garages, custom landscaping and increased privacy. The interior of Greenmeadow Eichler homes reflected advances in interior planning. New interior features included the “T-shape” layout, free flowing dining/living areas, the extension of living areas to the outdoors, a fourth bedroom, a multi-purpose room and a second bathroom. Greenmeadow is a testament to Eichler’s attention to planning and architectural design integrity and his lasting legacy on modern American architecture. 

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