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Sharon Ave Fall Colors

Our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group got a break with the weather this past Wednesday. The temperature was heating up and it would continue to get warmer through the week, but as we assembled it was just warm with some gusty winds. There was a strong turnout of 46 walkers and four K-9 best friends at the Exedra to enjoy it. We were pleased that Jennifer P brought Nancy O. They had celebrated the marriage of their children the weekend before. Nanda P from Mom Bai, India had come for the wedding was with us too. Lisa L and Kris K with K-9 best friends Lucky and Rascal were also walking with us for the first time. Before we got started there were some announcements. At 11:20 the Federal Government's FEMA was going to conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. It was also announced that on October 25th, the Wednesday before Halloween, we will have our annual pre-Halloween walking tour of the Mountain View Cemetery. Docent Jane Leroe will be back to lead it. She is thinking of doing a tour called "Rogues and Rascals." It's pretty certain she isn't referring to any of us. One street we hadn't walked and an early Piedmont land developer we hadn't talk about this year were Sharron Avenue and William Sharron. However, it was early fall and there was another opportunity too. The long stretch of Wildwood Avenue between Highland and Crocker Avenues with its red maple trees lining both sides of the street provided a colorful walk, and it was included in our morning's route. We went through Piedmont Park past the Tea House to enjoy its natural beauty, and continued down Highland to Wildwood. There we took a group photo with the colorful trees. We went up Wildwood to Crocker, and noted the garage addition to a house is just about complete. Mike Haggerty, who lives nearby, shared some issues associated with the project that has been under construction for over a year. We went up Crocker to Lincoln Avenue and down it to Sheridan Avenue. Going up Caperton Avenue to Mountain Avenue provided some uphill exercise. At Mountain the FEMA alert sounded off to everyone. It was noted that this would be the perfect time for an adversary to do something. Then it was down to Sharon Avenue where its history was shared. Piedmont Historical Society had told of William E. Sharon, his family, and estate in a past issue of the society's Piedmont's History publication. Sharon was born in 1852 and grew up on an Ohio farm. In 1872 he went to San Francisco and then Virginia City, Nevada to work for his uncle, who was a successful banker and silver mine owner. Sharon married Lillian Mygatt in 1876, and became successful in finance and mining too. He was also elected to the Nevada State Senate in the 1880s. The Sharons initially lived in Virginia City, but they wanted their children to attend better schools, and bought a home in Oakland in 1890. In 1893 the Sharons purchased nine acres in the Piedmont hills on Mountain Avenue. They built a magnificent three story house in the middle of their land and called it Casa Montana. With their seven children, Lillian's mother, a housekeeper, cook, and gardener they moved into it in 1898. However, in 1914 the new City of Piedmont imposed a new property tax based on the size of the property, and the Sharons' taxes increased dramatically. So, in 1915 the Sharons subdivided their land in a development they called Sharon Terrace. It had twenty lots with frontages on Mountain, Sharon, Dormidera, and Pacific Avenues. Some family members built homes on them, and the driveway to Casa Montana became Sharon Avenue. Sharon died at his home in 1926, but Casa Montana continued as a family home. Lillian lived in it until 1934 when she moved into a residential Oakland hotel. Developer George Windsor purchased the remaining land and built his own home at 11 Sharon and the house at 7 Sharon on spec. He later also built homes at 40 and 44 Sharon. Sadly, in 1936 Windsor demolished Casa Montana. The mansion was replaced by three homes at 27, 33, and 37 Sharon. Today, only three Sharon family members' houses, those at 235 Mountain, 56 and 52 Sharon, remain on the former Casa Montana property. We continued down to Dormidera Avenue and went up it to where it connects with Sharon Avenue. We walked Sharon and noted where Casa Montana once stood, and the remaining historic homes. We took a side trip up Sharon Court, which according to the Sharon Terrace plot map was not part of the development. We returned to Sharon Avenue and went back down it to Mountain. There was an opportunity to take the somewhat hidden path down to Sierra Avenue, and get back to the city center before the temperature crossed over from 79 to 80 degrees.


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