We know Joseph Eichler’s vision was influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and that at one time, Eichler even lived in a Wright-designed home. Wright’s work in California has been referred to as his “romanza” period. We think Eichler’s work in Orange County is his romanza period. Find out why at Eichler Romanza- an evening reception on the Saturday night of tour weekend.

Preserve Orange County will open one additional home to host a cocktail reception on Saturday, May 18 at 7 pm. Join us for fabulous food and music, rub shoulders with Eichler homeowners and friends of historic preservation from throughout the region. We encourage guests to wear their favorite 1960s attire!

As part of the evening’s program, we’ve organized a lively panel discussion about the postwar bonanza that was Orange County in the mid-20th century. Like much of the country, housing was booming in Orange County. Large, national companies were building manufacturing plants and office buildings. The population of the county grew dramatically. By 1965, Eichler’s dump trucks and excavators had left, and in the wide open ranch lands south of Orange, the Mission Viejo Company and the Irvine Company had begun to execute their master plans. Our talented speakers- Alan Hess, Tom Zoellner, Robert Imboden, and Trudi Sandmeier- will place the Orange Eichlers in their regional cultural context, and in the context of Eichler Homes generally. Why did Eichler choose Orange and Orange County for one of the company’s three forays into Southern California? How did the tracts in Orange compare to the earlier Eichler developments, and to residential architecture nearby? What were the political and economic events shaping Orange County and its architecture at the time?

The recent designation of the Eichler neighborhoods as historic districts will also be highlighted- and celebrated! Orange City Council voted unanimously for designation in November 2018, an outcome that many in preservation elsewhere observed with envy. Bringing their collective knowledge about the Orange Eichlers, California architectural history, and the history of Orange County, our four speakers will provide guests with an informative discussion. Find out about our speakers below.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the mission of Preserve Orange County of promoting the conservation of the county’s architectural and cultural heritage through education and advocacy.

For information on sponsorship opportunities for Eichler Romanza, or the Eichler Home Tour, please click here.

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Event details

Tickets are $95.00 or $150.00 including access to the home tour.
7:00 pm Cocktails and light supper 
8:00 pm Panel Discussion: Eichler Romanza
Dress: the fashion of the 1960s, encouraged but not required

Location: 619 S Woodland in Fairhaven (Orange) 

Reception Sponsors



Alan Hess

Architect and historian Alan Hess is author of twenty books on Modern architecture, including John Lautner, Oscar Niemeyer, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Ranch House, Googie architecture, Las Vegas, and Palm Springs. Through tours, talks, and writing, Alan has encouraged a new appreciation for the earliest developments of Irvine and UC Irvine. He serves on the California State Historical Resources Commission and the board of Preserve Orange County. His newest book, Hollywood Modern: Houses of the Stars, was published by Rizzoli in October 2018. 


Tom Zoellner

Tom Zoellner is an associate professor of English at Chapman University in Orange and the politics editor of The Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the author of five nonfiction books including the most recent, Trains: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern World, and his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper's, The New York Times, The American Scholar and many other publications. Tom has written thoughtfully about Orange County, most recently in “Seeing Orange County,” on Boom California.


Robert Imboden

Robert Imboden is founder and principal of JANUS, an Orange County-based planning and design firm, specializing in the treatment of historic properties. Robert served as part of the consulting team that prepared the Orange Eichler Design Standards, and authored the pending nomination of the Orange Eichler tracts to the National Register of Historic Places. Robert serves on the board of Preserve Orange County and lives with his family in Fairhills.


Trudi Sandmeier

Trudi Sandmeier is the Director of Graduate Programs in Heritage Conservation and an Associate Professor of Practice in Architecture at the University of Southern California. From 2000 to 2011, she worked for the Los Angeles Conservancy. She co-founded and currently serves as president of the non-profit Will Rogers Ranch Foundation, and serves as secretary of the Docomomo Southern California chapter, as a board member of the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, and as one of the organizers of the 2019 Preserving the Recent Past 3 conference.