The rain gods have been kind to Piedmont's Walking on Wednesday's group so far this winter. It's in contrast to last when they got drenched a few times.
Last Wednesday, January 22,. they had another strong of 27 walkers and one K-9 best friend. The previous week some members of the group had received their copies of the Piedmont Historical Society's biennial magazine, Piedmont's History. Gail Lombardi, president of the society, does an outstanding job, and it provided an inspiration for the walk. She described the early homes on Sea View Avenue.
The Maria Sjoholm House, which was the first home on the street, was featured It was an impressive, three story house that was built in 1905 at a cost of $7,340. The façade of the house had a prominent, semi-circular porch with columns, a bay window and a round dome on top, with views of Piedmont Park, Oakland, and San Francisco Bay. The house was sold in 1917, and was torn down prior to 1930. creating the opportunity for a beautiful Albert Farr designed, brick and stone Tudor to be built at 55 Sea View, the former home of Ken Rawlings of Otis Spunkmeyer cookie fame.
Walking Sea View Avenue 1S always enjoy- able, and Gail's article provided another reason to walk the en- tire length, from Mountain Avenue -to Ashmount Avenul, ending at Crocker Avenue, Oakland-Piedmont border. Starting at the Exedra. the walkers too the shortcut path through Piedmont Court to Mountain Avenue, then up two blocks to Sea View. Along the way they passed lovely camellia hedges with flowers in bloom, a rarity in the winter
The first home on Sea View described in Gail's article is 9 Sea View, a home built in 1909 by Robert Tyson. The home at 25 Sea View was built by Edson Adams in 1912, and for many years was the home of Oakland Tribune publisher, and later by his son, William, when he was governor of California before becoming the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate in 1950s. The walkers continued to 55 Sea View. a home whose owners have been strong supporters of the community.
Continuing down Sea View they came to "Brown Gables,' built in 1909 by Mary and Wallace Alexander at Sea View and Hampton. Wallace was the primary developer of the Piedmont Commercial Center in 1913, Piedmont Community Church in 1916, and the purchase of the land that is now Piedmont Park.
As they walked, they noted all of the homes have their own histories unknown to most except the owners. On the 300 block of Sea View they came to the home of walkers Nancy and John and their K-9 best friend Cooper. John told the group that the house has been in the family since the 1920s and there has been only one other owner of it. They continued on to the curve in the street that leads to the Oakland border where it becomes Ashmount. The street signs be. come a mix of Sea View and Ashmount, and some of the homes on the north side of the street are in Piedmont and some on the south are in Oakland.
It was recalled -that the founding of Piedmont was de- fined by the sewer lines. At the end of the street, Sea View be- comes Ashmount, Mandana becomes Crocker; and confusion reigns with visitors who don't understand they are crossing the Oakland/Piedmont border. By then It was time to get back to the Exedra via Crocker, Wild- wood, Sheridan, Sierra, and Highland Avenues; all of which have lovely homes with secret histories waiting to be told.