AKA: Eichler, Joseph, House, Hillsborough, CA; Frank, Louis and Betty, House, Hillsborough, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Cavanagh, Oscar, Building Contractor (firm); Taliesin Fellowship (firm); Oscar Lyons Cavanagh (building contractor); Blaine Edward Drake (architect); Joseph Leopold Eichler (developer); Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1940-1940

1 story

101 Reservoir Road
Hillsborough Park, Hillsborough, CA 94010

Building History

The remarkable architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) designed this small Usonian house for an investment banker, Sidney H. Bazett (aka "Sidney Bazett-Jones," born 09/05/1901 in Hampton, VA-d. 01/03/1983 in Marion County, OR) and his younger wife, Clara Louise Reno, (born 04/06/1913 in Mexico City, Mexico). Louise's father, James Reno, (born c. 1880 in PA), worked as a mining machinery merchant, who moved his family to TX and Mexico, where Louise was born. The relatively well-to-do Renos lived in San Mateo, CA, in 1930, and presumably that is where Sidney Bazett made her acquaintance after he moved to Burlingame c. 1933. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: San Mateo, San Mateo, California; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0030; FHL microfilm: 2339951, accessed 09/20/2018.)

Wright created the design for Sidney and Louise Bazett in 1939, and construction began in 03/1940. On 04/15/1940, while they waited for this house to be finished, the 1940 US Census recorded that the Bazetts resided in a $65-per-month residence at 121 Arroyo Court in San Mateo, CA. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1940; Census Place: San Mateo, San Mateo, California; Roll: m-t0627-00330; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 41-42, accessed 09/20/2018.) Wright originally estimated the house to cost $7,000, about double the price of a standard tract home of the time; in the end, however, the residence's cost climbed to nearly $13,000. Despite these serious cost over-runs, (typical of Wright's work), the Bazetts moved into their new abode by 06/1940. They stayed there between 1940 and 1942 when their marriage fell apart.

Sidney Bazett had a restive nature, changing jobs, wives (he had six) and houses periodically. By his own account, Bazett viewed himself as "restless, except when outdoors," with "an excessive amount of energy." Charting his professional path between 1925 and 1945 provides a huge challenge. He came to San Francisco, CA, via Prince Rupert, BC, entering the US on 01/10/1926 at Blaine, WA. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Blaine, Washington, 1924-1956; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: 2675039; Roll Number: 002,accessed 09/20/2018.) In Prince Rupert, he had worked as an accountant, and found similar work in San Francisco with the accounting firm of Ernst and Ernst. Soon after arriving in San Francisco, during 1926 or 1927, he married Lenore R. Martin (born c. 1905 in CA), a stenographer also working at Ernst and Ernst. According to the 1930 US Census, he and Lenore set up residence at 1346 16th Avenue. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1930, p. 120.) In 1932, he remained married to Lenore and had a daughter, Marianne, with her in 1931, but had changed jobs, working as the Vice-President of the Intercoast Sales Corporation, and resided at a new address, 1479 17th Avenue in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1932, p. 105.) By 1933, he had split with Lenore and had become Vice-President of the Association of American Distributors, Incorporated, living on his own in Burlingame, CA. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1933, p. 208.) A year later, he became the President of American Brokerage, Incorporated, and retained his position as Vice-President and Secretary of the Association of American Distributors, Incorporated, in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1934, p. 100.)

He wed Clara Louise Reno, who was 12 years his junior, by 1935. (See Burlingame-San Mateo, California, City Directory, 1935, p. 84.) By 1938, they lived at 2111 Outpost Drive in Los Angeles, CA. (See Los Angeles A-L, California, City Directory, 1938, p. 212.) In 1942, the versatile and mercurial Bazett served as the President of Franklin Wulff and Company, Incorporated, in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1942, p. 123) He remained with Louise until about 1943, when they divorced; she had had a stillborn child c. 05/1940 while they lived at 101 Reservoir Road, and this tragic event may have either caused or exacerbated a split between the two. Sidney joined the US Army Air Forces on 08/17/1942, serving until discharged on 06/20/1946. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 09/20/2018.)

In 1944, Major Sidney Bazett married Norma Bentley (born c. 1914 in MA) and the Army Air Forces stationed him at the Jacksonville Army Airfield, Jacksonville, FL, where he and Norma had a daughter, Barbara Anne, born c. 1945. (See Source Information Ancestry.com. Florida, State Census, 1867-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008, accessed 09/20/2018.) His life calmed somewhat after World War II. He remained with Norma for 20 years, but divorced her on 11/29/1965 in Douglas County, OR, and, while he lived in Grants Pass, OR, working as President of the Valley Finance Company, married his fourth wife, Marjorie Clara Rivers, who was 23 years younger, on 01/29/1966 in Boise, ID.

Despite all of his professional shifting and multiple wives, voters still viewed Bazett as a credible candidate and elected him to the Oregon State Legislature. He served in the Oregon State House from 1961 until 1973, a Republican representative for District 18 from the lumber town of Grants Pass. According to Archives West, "He focused primarily on the preservation of the state's beaches, serving on the Rules Committee and the Legislative Interim Committee. He also worked as a legislative consultant for the Professional Engineers of Oregon." (See Archives West.org, "Sidney Bazett Papers, 1960-1981," held at the Oregon Historical Society, accessed 09/20/2018.) His crowning achievement was being co-sponsor of House Bill 1601, introduced on 02/22/1967, informally known as the "Beach Bill," that guaranteed public beach access to all 380 miles of Oregon coastline. Governor Tom McCall (1913-1983) signed the landmark bill into law on 07/06/1967. In 1975, Bazett continued to maintain a residence in Salem, OR, at 1765 Ewald Avenue SE. (See Salem, Oregon, City Directory, 1975, p. 44.)

After Sidney and Louise Bazett parted ways, the Palo Alto homebuilder, Joseph Eichler (1901-1974), rented this Usonian house and credited this experience with inspiring him to go into house-building. Marty Arbunich, writing for the Eichler Network.com web site, indicated that the renter Joseph Eichler liked the house so much that he had to be evicted from it by its next owners. Louis James Frank (born 06/24/1912 as "Louis Jacob Vanderfranck" in Maastricht, Holland-d. 08/04/1998), who, in 1945, worked as the business manager in a brokerage, and his wife, Elizabeth Vogt (born 07/05/1913 in Muttenz, Switzerland-d. 11/27/2009 in Burlingame, CA), purchased 101 Reservoir Road after Eichler moved out in 04/1945, and she lived there until 2000. Both Bazett and Frank worked in finance, and possibly knew each other through these circles. The Burlingame-San Mateo City Directory, 1945, (p. 68) indicated that the Franks still lived at 1005 South Grant Street in San Mateo in 1945. They married on 04/03/1941 in New York, NY.

Like Frank Lloyd Wright's slightly earlier Paul Hanna House, (Stanford, CA, 1937), the Bazett House had a hexagonal floor module; Blaine E. Drake (1911-1993) acted as the project manager for Wright's Taliesin Fellowship. Oscar L. Cavanaugh (1887-1968), a local builder, was engaged to erect the residence, under Drake's supervision.

PCAD id: 4715