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Rose Kingston Walk

Our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group had another

good weather day for our walk last Wednesday and there was a strong turnout

of over 30 walkers on hand at the Exedra.

There were a few announcements. We are going to return to the Mt. View

Cemetery on October 26th for a pre-Halloween tour that will be conducted by

docent Jane Leroe. Jane guided us on a walk just before Halloween last year

that was enjoyed by all.

It was also announced that this day, September 28th, was "National Drink

Beer Day," which seemed like a good set up for sharing two coming events. On

October 7th there is going to be the Piedmont Beer Festival, a fundraiser at

801 Magnolia for the Piedmont Center for the Arts, and on October 16th there

will be the Piedmont Boosters Club Oktoberfest fundraiser at the Piedmont

Community Center.

Our group tries to walk every safe walking Piedmont street during the year,

and at the end of September there were only a few we hadn't gotten too. Two

of them were Kingston Avenue and the portion of upper Grand Avenue from

Oakland Avenue to Pleasant Valley Road. On this section of Grand there is a

new home being completed on a lot that was vacant for many years because it

seemed unbuildable. We thought it would be interesting to see what had been

built. Jim Kellogg and Will Adams, who also writes the regular "Walking

Piedmont" articles in the Piedmont Post, were with us and could offer their

professional thoughts about the house.

Kingston is just west of Grand and we could visit it too. Kingston and the

parallel Rose Avenue have some of the oldest homes in Piedmont, and they

would be interesting to see. Additionally, walker and Piedmont historian

Meghan B once lived at 780 Kingston, a house built in 1892, and she

could provide some history on it. So, old and new Piedmont construction was

the theme for the morning's walk.

Our long line of walkers headed off going down Magnolia Avenue past the

recently completed high school buildings to the 300 block of El Cerrito

Avenue. There was a forest of lawn signs in homes' front yards showing

support for school board and city council candidates.

We continued on to and down Oakland Avenue and noted more new home

construction and remodeling along the way. It took two cycles of the stop

lights at Oakland and Grand to get all of us across the street and going up

Grand. At Cambridge Way we came upon a home we had seen on past walks that

needed some loving care. It was getting it with extensive foundation,

window, and landscaping work.

Not far up Grand we came to the new house that is now almost completed. We

were impressed by its design and construction. It is a large home, built

with lots of concrete, up a steep incline. Architects Will A and Jim

K said with all the concrete in its base there is nothing to worry

about here in an earthquake. It is "the safest home in Piedmont." It's new

and different, but the house still fits with the surrounding homes. The

architects liked it, and so did the rest of our group.

After a thorough visual review of the house, we continued up to Rose Avenue

where Grand Avenue becomes Pleasant Valley Road at the Oakland city line.

Rose runs parallel to Kingston, but Kingston ends one block away at

Greenbank Avenue, so we walked up Rose to Linda Avenue before walking down

one block on Linda to Kingston. We enjoyed Rose's many old homes that were

built the 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and a beautiful Victorian at 950

Kingston that was built in 1894. We liked it so much we posed for the

attached photo in front of it.

When we came to Kingston we crossed Linda and when up to Meghan B's

former home at 780 where its story and that of the house next door were told

from research done by Piedmont Historical Society. These two

homes were built in 1892 by William Vickery and his sister, Elizabeth

Vickery Hadden, for $4,300 and $3,300. They were the first homes on this

street that was then called Summit Avenue. The houses were built in the

fashionable Shingle style of the 1890s. The backyard of the house at 778 is

one of the deepest in Piedmont going back 150 feet and the entire lot is 220

feet deep. Neighborhood lore says the two houses shared one kitchen and the

two families ate their meals together.

There was more history shared and enjoyed, but the long walk to Piedmont's

north border with Oakland had taken more time than usual for our walks, and

it was time to head back to the Exedra. We made our way back via Arroyo and

Ramona Avenues with a 107 foot path walk down to Park Way. Then it was on to

Hillside and Magnolia Avenues, and the Exedra.

It was a longer than usual walk of just over three miles, and almost two

hours, but the contrast of Piedmont homes built almost 150 years apart was

striking and made the extra time and steps worthwhile. The uniqueness and

beauty of Piedmont's eclectic new and historic homes was appreciated.


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