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Davie Tennis Stadium

It was sunny and warm for our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays walk this week, and there was a big turnout of 45 walkers and two K-9 best friends at the Exedra to enjoy it.

We went to the Davie Tennis Stadium last September, but it had been "temporarily closed" in February by the City of Oakland after storms knocked down a eucalyptus tree near the courts. The City of Oakland didn't remove the tree immediately because it was a low priority that didn't affect anyone's safety. After some local news coverage, the stadium was finally reopened. We hadn't been inside Davie since June 2022, so it was time for a revisit.

We went through the top of Piedmont Park to see the flowering trees. An eastern dogwood behind the Tea House was in peak bloom. It was lovely and we took a picture with it. We made our way up the hill to Guilford Road, and took the almost hidden path to Hazel Lane, and then Requa Road with clear views of San Francisco, and Wildwood Avenue.

At the steps above Witter Field there was one of the Piedmont Park Commission's Piedmont Heritage Trees that we hadn't seen on our previous two walks. It was a set of eastern redbuds. They are a large deciduous shrub or small tree, native to eastern North America, and thrive as far west as California and as far north as southern Ontario. It generally has a short, often twisted trunk and spreading branches, and can live 50 to 70 years. It is the state tree of Oklahoma, and surprisingly, the flowers can be eaten fresh or fried.

We continued on to Prospect Road, Oakmont Avenue, and Oak Road to the entrance of the stadium. There was a strong smell from the eucalyptus trees that surround the stadium to welcomed us. Piedmont Historical Society's research had reported that Walter Blair, the first

European settler in the area, established a nursery near Mountain View Cemetery in the second half of the 19th Century and sold eucalyptus seedlings. Frank C. Havens also brought eucalyptus to the area from Australia thinking their wood would be a fast growing building material replacement for the redwoods that were cut down during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries boom. Unfortunately, the eucalyptus wood was generally not suitable for lumber as it is heavy and shrinks when dry, which can cause splitting and cracking. Dottie Hutch said she once tried to replace some eucalyptus wall boards for her home and they were very expensive.

Stone quarries were an important part of Oakland's growth and development. In the city's earliest days, construction materials like stone blocks or paving stones were imported as sailing-ship ballast around Cape Horn. However, this was a difficult, dangerous, expensive, and slow way to build a town. Oakland's geologic variability, because it is near the edge of a continental plate, provided a variety of construction materials from surface deposits and outcroppings. Since much of Oakland's period of most rapid growth occurred prior to the adoption of asphalt in the 1920s, macadam was used extensively in road building. This led to many quarries throughout the


A quarry at what is now the Davie Stadium was opened in 1878 by the Alameda Macadamizing Company, and reopened as the Piedmont Paving Company in about 1892. The land was given to the City of Oakland in 1931 by former Oakland mayor John L. Davie. The facility was built in 1936/37 as a Depression WPA project. The land is primarily in Piedmont, but Davie giving it to Oakland probably explains why the stadium is managed by the City of Oakland.

We were impressed by the steep cliffs from the old quarry that surround the courts, but erosion and fallen eucalyptus are evident. Unfortunately, the vintage 1920s clubhouse was locked and we couldn't go inside to see its pictures and memorabilia, but it did provide a good backdrop for another attached group photo.

It was time for us to start our return. We went up Oak Road, Oakmont Avenue, and Prospect Road to Wildwood Avenue. It was warming up and going back through cool Piedmont Park was another welcomed part of an enjoyable walk together.


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