A beautiful, spring-like day last Wednesday helped bring out 32 walkers and two K9 best friends for a weekly walk. The group was pleased to welcome first time wakers Lorrine, Joanne and Kathv, and Piedmont Recreation Department Director Chelle Putzer and her co-worker Jessica Fomey stopped by to say hello.
While students were on winter Break, the group Visited the schools near the middle of town In learning about the history of Piedmont schools, the group read about the Miss Ransom and Miss Bridges School for Girls in Piedmont, the earliest school in town located on what is now Hazel Lane.
Amy Requa Long wanted her daughters to have a good education and in 1905 she leased the Fridheim house on the corner of Highland Avenue and Hazel wane She also hired two teachers from the Anna Head School in Berkeley to be the teachers for her new school .The school attracted the daughters of many of Piedmont's and California prominent families and was very popular; so much so that it quickly outgrew the Fridheim facility.
In 1908 she hired Julia Morgan to design a new school with classrooms and dormitory rooms on five acres. The Ransom and Bridges School opened in 1913 on Hazel Lane.
The college preparatory school offered classes from first grade through 12th grade and had dormitory rooms tor 70 students. Uniforms consisting of white middy blouses, ties, and pleated skirts were required. When Piedmont High opened in 1921. it also required that girls wear the same type of uniform. This requirement continued until the 1960s.
The Ransom and Bridges School had 186 students in 1924. By 1928 there were 21 teachers and 44 graduating seniors. How ever, the 1929 Stock Market Crash and the Depression that followed resulted in many Piedmont families choosing to send their daughters to the less expensive Piedmont High.
By 1932 the school had only 12 graduating seniors and the school closed that year. The school building was demolished in 1936 and the land was developed by architect Albert Farr, who also designed most of Piedmont's city center. The Wednesday Walkers stopped at the corner of Highland and Hazel Lane where the Fridheim house was located, and then continued to the large redwood tree at 71 Hazel Lane that marked the entrance to the school. The walkers circled around the street to the front of the home at 141 Hazel Lane, the site of the school's main building, where they paused for a photo.
The group went down the Requa Place cul-de-sac and then continued down Requa Road. The Lombard's home on Requa was recognized, and appreciation of the outstanding historical work Gail has done. The walkers emerged on Wildwood Avenue and, rather than taking the short- cut back through the Piedmont Park to the Exedra, the group continued to the "5-W" intersection at Wildwood and Winsor Avenue. Returning by way of Magnolia Avenue, they saw a home being remodeled down the studs in a major reconstruction. Noemi Alvarado, a regular Wednesday Walker and who lives next to it told the group about the project's history. They arrived back at the Exedra after an enjoyable walk of two miles and 90 minutes in du- ration