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“Invisible” streets

The Piedmont Recreation Department’s Walking on Wednesdays group gathered for its weekly walk on October 13 with 26 walkers and one K-9 best friend. Priscilla Wanerus announced that Jane Leroe, a retired lawyer and longtime Mt. View Cemetery docent, would be leading a tour of the historic cemetery on October 27 – just in time for Halloween.

As part of its goal of visiting every safe Piedmont street each year, the group decided to target the little-traveled streets below Wildwood School in the south- west section of Piedmont. They began on the one-way, lower part of Wildwood Avenue. The upper part of the same street is two ways, making Wildwood very unusual. The group came to the Four-W intersection of Wildwood, Winsor, Warfield Avenues, and Wallace Road.

At Boulevard Way the walkers turned right and went down to Grand Avenue, crossing into Oakland. On the way they came upon a yard with an expansive, beautiful garden covered with cactus and other drought resistant plants, and a stately palm tree at the top of the yard.

Near the bottom of Boulevard is an alley, the almost invisible Sylvan Way, where they a newly remodeled now modern home, and more Halloween decorations. The end of the block-long street presented a challenge, where it takes a 90-degree left turn to a very steep hill that ends on Wildwood Avenue. Wildwood quickly became Palm Drive, so named for the palm trees that early 19th Century Piedmont developer Frank C. Havens planted as the entrance to Piedmont Park. The group went up Wallace Road, a one-way street coming down, and passed the “Camel House” at the corner of Winsor, another home with a personal history. Turning left, they went down Winsor to Park View Avenue, which is at the base of Witter Field and another new street for the group where they saw many more ghosts, spiders, and skeletons on the homes.

Park View ends at Magnolia Avenue, where the group turned right and went back uphill to their starting place at the Exedra. On the way they had one more opportunity to visit a seldom visited street, Larmer Court, a cul-de- sac with three homes. Does any other Piedmont street have fewer homes, they wondered. Even Cavendish Lane on the Oakland border near Park Boulevard has four Piedmont homes.

It had been a fun, three-mile walk in less than 90 minutes; filled with seldom seen streets, unique homes and gardens, Halloween house decorations, social equity reminders, sounds of happy children, and good conversations with new and old Wednesday walking friends.


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