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Davie Tennis Stadium

During the recent wet winter, Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group was tested with its motto of walking "rain or shine." Last Wednesday bright and clear - and dry. Temperatures had spiked on Tuesday and the forecast was for another hot day, but Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. when the group assembled at the Exedra it was very pleasant. A strong turnout of 22 walkers and one K-9 best friend were there to enjoy the day together.

The previous week was the group's one-year anniversary, with a special walking tour conducted by the Piedmont Historical Society. It was suggested that the group might take on all 21 Piedmont pedestrian paths this year. The group liked the challenge, but thought that taking on three of Scenic Avenue paths, would be better left until the weather was cooler.

The first stop was to make a visit to the Recreation Center and see Michael Murphy. Michael has been the group's staff contact at the Department for the past year, and was scheduled to retire at the end of the week after 37 years as the Havens' Schoolmates' site director for two generations of Piedmont families.

The walkers wanted to thank him for his community service and invite him to become a regular Wednesday walker in his retirement.

Next, the group decided to visit the historic Davie Tennis Stadium, on the Piedmont-Oakland border on Oak Road. The group took a route through Piedmont Park, enjoying the rushing water in Bushy Dell Creek. The walkers emerged at Wildwood Avenue and crossed it to walk down Prospect Road to Oakmont Avenue and then Oak Road to its end at the tennis stadium. Along the way, the walkers enjoyed the exteriors of the homes, one of which had a unique, curved, clapper brick chimney, which most of the group had never noticed before.

Davie Stadium is a throwback to a former time and was the site of many national champion tennis players. It is situated on the site of the former Piedmont Paving Company quarry that provided material for local streets in the early 1900s. The land was given to the City of Oakland in 1931 by former mayor John L. Davie and his family. The stadium was built during the Depression between 1936 and 1937 as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. Davie Stadium is operated by the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department, but part of its property is also in Piedmont. In fact, the Piedmont/Oakland city line runs directly through Davie's five courts, right between courts three and four. It is possible to hit a shot from one city to another and back.

The group enjoyed the stadium's clubhouse with decades-old pictures and tennis rackets on its walls.

After the visit, the group walked down Park Lane, where crossed into Oakland for a short walk on Lakeshore Avenue be- fore making re-entering Pied- mont on Harvard Road and on to Portsmouth Road, to Portsmouth Walk and returning to Prospect Road and the entrance to Pied- mont Park.

The walkers were told that Portsmouth Walk has the only sign for a walkway in Piedmont.

The group got back to the Exedra at noon after two miles of walking. It had been an enjoy able day, walking in the beautiful park and on lovely streets, seeing a historic tennis facility, and spending time together.


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