“Forever Houses” should not be confused with “Forever Homes.” Both were Mid Century Modern design style homes. Forever “Homes” were designed by the architectural firm of Palmer and Krisel for a variety of firms such as the Alexander Company in Palm Springs and Granada Hills, CA. In Las Vegas, they are similar to the 1960s homes developed for the Molasky Company in Paradise Palms.
The original FOREVER “House” was designed by the architectural firm of Jones and Emmons for Pardee Phillips. “Precision engineered of steel, aluminum, glass, & masonry.”
Jones and Emmons: Forever House Architects
Frederick Earl Emmons (architect); Archibald Quincy Jones (architect) formed their partnership in 1950. Jones was the design leader in the firm. Jones & Emmons quickly took on Joseph Eichler as a client. Jones invented the atrium courtyard concept for Eichler and helped develop the quintessential Eichler look. In addition to designing the homes themselves, they were also pivotal in the urban planning of subdivision streets. In the Northern California Greenmeadow tract, a shopping center and park were the centerpieces of the subdivision. The streets were designed to keep traffic out and make it safe for children to play and walk to school.
They stuck to a few basic plans with each tract – rotating floor plans or offering a different roof profile. All shared a distinctive, Jones look: Large glass walls to the rear, clerestory windows for light and ventilation, drop-eave sunshades, and high-height living areas were consistent elements.
Jones & Emmons continued to work for other developers as well throughout their career with Eichler. More about their groundbreaking work may be read here:
Pardee-Phillips: Forever House Developers
The developer of Francisco Park was Pardee-Phillips. The streets in their very first original neighborhood reflect this development team with Phillips Avenue running east and west, and Pardee Place running north and south for a short block just off of Sahara.
The developer of Francisco Park was Pardee Phillips. The streets in their very first original neighborhood reflect this development team with Phillips Avenue running east and west, and Pardee Place running north and south for a short block just off of Sahara.
George Pardee Jr. formed Pardee Construction Co. in February 1946 with his father, George M. Pardee Sr., a designer/builder working in Beverly Hills, Calif., and his brother, Hoyt Pardee. Another brother, J. Douglas Pardee, joined the company two years later. George Jr., along with financial backer Gifford Phillips, built this family-owned business into one of the largest home construction companies in the Western United States. They focused on building affordable properties for first time buyers.
In 1952, George senior passed away just as the company was about to enter the Las Vegas market. Due to legal constraints, the firm was no longer allowed to continue to develop, and could only finish existing contracts. They became “inactive” upon the completion of the Pacific Palisades development in April 1954. The Las Vegas market had a population of less than 50k people, and the company saw the writing on the wall for growth. So the Pardee–Phillips of Las Vegas partnership organized in October 1953 to function as a residential builder. They became some of the first builders in the city, along with Lewis Homes and American West. Their first big venture in Southern Nevada was the Forever House model.
Gifford Phillips was born in 1918, the son of James Laughlin Phillips and Alice Conyngham Gifford. From the 1950s, he was a partner in Pardee Phillips, a real estate corporation that built houses and shopping malls in Southern California and Nevada. However, art and politics were to always remain at the forefront of his interests – which helps to explain why he was eager to back such revolutionary architecture.
Forever House in Las Vegas – Tract #1
The original tract of Forever Houses were built for the College Park tract in North Las Vegas AND for the Francisco Park tract in the city of Las Vegas, NV. In the Francisco Park tract, there were originally 149 properties spread out over 7 city blocks with the following street names:
- Phillips Avenue
- Pardee Place
- St. Louis Street
- Exley Avenue
- San Pedro Street
- Maroney Avenue
- South 15th Street
About the Forever House
“Modern comfort at lowest cost,” Pardee promised buyers in Las Vegas, along with “20 percent fuel savings.”
A.Q. Jones called his creation the ‘Forever House,’ because it was manufactured of concrete blocks and steel. It was ‘termite proof’ and ‘deterioration proof!’ Their flowing interiors created a sense of openness not found in previous homes. As a result, Pardee’s Forever House won the first three national awards ever given by the National Association of Homebuilders. The homes continued to win awards in the mid-1950s. https://www.nahb.org
It has been said that the first Forever House tract sold out opening weekend.
Unique features of these original models:
- Clean classic Modern simple line facades with exposed materials
- Flat, low sloping shed, or low sloping A frame ‘gable’ rooflines with fascia that includes the attached carport
- 1 post and beam carport per each unit with a recognition of the car as a symbol of social status
- Clerestory windows
- Entry courtyard with separate storage locker garage
- Exterior block construction featuring a decorative vertical row of protruding single blocks
- Distinctive glass corner windows where windows from two sides of the building meet with a hidden steel pole support in the middle
- Metal clad screened crank windows
- Flush aluminum window sills
- Steel Doors
- Rock Roofs (originally – although none exist anymore)
Unique Interior Features:
- Open floor plan with living dining to kitchen areas flowing together without doorways
- Open soffet between kitchen and living room to allow light to pass between these two rooms
- Youngstown Metal Kitchen Cabinets with silver aluminum boomerang door handles
- Molded metal 1 piece counter top
- Open beam ceilings
- Clerestory windows in front rooms
- Flush aluminum window sills
- Sliding doors for closets
- Floor plan that clearly provides separation for public and private space.
- Concrete slab flooring
- Central utility ceiling corridor what Jones and Emmons called the “Utility Core Plan”
Many of the features present in the Forever House eventually came to be expected by all home buyers after the proliferation of their designs and their extended influence across the country. The innovative use of materials and technology reflected the new PostWar lifestyle. These Forever Home developments usually included everything to make Mid Century Modern life worthwhile: with regional shopping centers, recreation centers, parks, with landscape architecture by the well-known landscape designer Phillip A. Shipley of Phil Shipley and Associates Landscape Architects.
College Park and more…
Francisco Park was developed through 1972 with 31 subdivisions: http://www.franciscosquare.com/francisco-park/
The “Forever House” showed up in a few other Pardee Phillips communities as well. In Las Vegas, the original tracts of College Park were also by the same Jones-Emmons architects, Pardee Phillips Team. College Park was designed by Jones and Emmons during the same time period (1955-1957) simultaneously starting in mid 1950s for a total of 35+ subdivisions through the 1971. The first single family homes were developed at the Southeast corner of Civic Center Drive and Lake Mead Blvd. It eventually extended south to Washington Blvd and east to Pecos.
1954-6 must have been a very busy year for Jones-Emmons-Pardee-Phillips, because in addition to the Mid Century Modern Las Vegas tracts, back in California… the Southdown Estates, in the Pacific Palisades were being finished circa 1954.
And over 280 homes were being built in Fullerton Grove between 1953 and 1956. (The Fullerton Forever Houses, are located south of Valencia, between Richman and Euclid on the streets of Maplewood, Jefferson (east side), Rosslynn (north side), Richman (west side), Adams, Oak, West, Ash, Elm, and Washington.
Pardee Phillips also developed Forever Houses in Whittier, Orange County, CA.
“In the spring of 1953, the ads went up for 136 homes that were “precision engineered of steel, aluminum, glass, & masonry.” Because of this, they would be termite proof, fire proof, rot proof, earthquake proof, and just to make sure that all bases had been covered, ‘deterioration proof.'”
In addition to Pardee Phillips, homes in the style of “Forever Houses”, were built in other similar tracts. Joseph Eichler’s architects Jones & Emmons promoted a house plan on a national weekday TV show on NBC, simply called ‘HOME’ in 1955. (Hosted by Arlene Francis and Hugh Downs) The segment was called ‘House that ‘Home’ Built.’ The architects showcased a plan they had originally designed for Eichler that could be built anywhere in the United States. The ‘House That Home Built’ segment was co-sponsored by NBC and the National Association of Home Builders. As a result, builders in the cities of Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Kansas City also constructed similar “Eichler” style homes.
The only other modern duplex designed similar sister neighborhood of duplex homes live in Sacramento developed by Streng. Brothers Bill and Jim Streng built over 3,800 predominately modern homes in the greater Sacramento area over a 30 year period. The duplex homes near American River College need to be investigated! They were supposedly designed by Carter Sparks who trained with Eichler architects Ashen and Allen.
Additionally Pardee-Phillips began to develop the “Signature Home.” These were non-Forever House, non-modern style, traditional contemporary homes in other tracts, such as Long Beach, CA (November 18, 1956 Independent Press-Telegram from Long Beach, California · Page 34)
A. Quincy Jones papers, 1942-1979 – UCLA Special Collections
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Job name: Phillips Park No 2. 1954-1955.
Job Description: Job number: 150.04 540
Related Job Number(s): x150.04 540, 150.0 514, x150.0 514
Job name: Sunnyvale Duplex Apartments. 1953.
Job Description: Job number: 5155 530
Related Job Number(s): 5155 530, 500.0 511, x500.0 511
PARDEE HOME TIMELINE
1921 George M. Pardee Sr. begins designing and building custom homes
1946 George M. Pardee Jr. and Hoyt S. Pardee join father in founding Pardee Construction Company, with George Sr. serving as President.
1948 J. Douglas Pardee joins Pardee Construction Company
1954 Pardee expands into Las Vegas
1955 Pardee expands into San Diego
1968 “Par West Financial” and PARAVADA seems to purchase many duplex inventory – as per assessor records!
1969 Weyerhaeuser acquires Par West Financial, which includes Pacific Western Mortgage Company, Pardee Construction Company, Pardee-Phillips of Nevada, Marmont Realty Company and Westwood Insurance Agency.
1971 Pardee pioneered master-planned community Spring Valley in Las Vegas
1972 Pardee opens master-planned community Mira Mesa and Del Mar Townhouses
1974 Pardee pioneers master-planned community Mission Oaks in Camarillo
1998 Pardee builds first Energy Star® neighborhood
2001 Pardee introduces LivingSmart® green building program in Pacific Highlands Ranch, San Diego
2011 Pardee Homes becomes California’s first production homebuilder constructing an entire new home project certified to the National Green Building Standard(TM) (NGBS) by the NAHB Research Center, an internationally recognized, independent third party.– Pardee Homes