INTRODUCTION

The Westlake District of Daly City, California, is one of America’s earliest and most iconic postwar suburbs. Located just south of San Francisco, Westlake has frequently been compared to Levittown, New York, the first major postwar suburb in the United States.

Developed by Henry Doelger, once the largest home builder in the nation, Westlake features quirky 1950s architecture created by a core team of designers to encompass nearly every building in the development. Westlake’s most famous architectural icons are its endless rows of boxy houses—the inspiration for Malvina Reynolds’ folk song “Little Boxes,” which became an anti-suburban anthem in the 1960s.

Despite its detractors, Westlake has enjoyed considerable praise over the course of its sixty-year history. In the 1950s, the neighborhood’s architecturally innovative schools began appearing in national magazines like Life, Architectural Forum, and Fortune. In the 1970’s, one national magazine named Westlake one of the ten best suburbs in America. In 2003, The New York Times ran an article about Henry Doelger and his impact on history, citing Westlake as one of his most iconic neighborhoods.

Recognition of Westlake’s architects and its status as an important postwar development has gained momentum in recent years due to a resurgence of exposure in newspapers, magazines, and books.

For a more detailed history of the neighborhood, visit the official Daly City history Web site here.

You are invited to explore Westlake by clicking the links above. Thanks for visiting.