On our walk last week, our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group had a long walk to see some streets on the southeast side of Piedmont that we hadn't gone to this year. This past Wednesday we went in the opposite direction to the northwest side of town to see some more new streets, including Rose and Kingston Avenues.
These streets were some of Piedmont's earliest, and have many old homes with some beautiful Victorians. The forecast was for another wonderful weather Wednesday, but the seven-day forecast was calling for heavy rains, even possibly an "atmospheric river," in the middle of the coming week. So, this was the day to go on another long walk. There was strong turnout of 40
walkers and three K-9 best friends on hand at the Exedra to enjoy it.
We headed off, going down Magnolia Avenue past active construction work being done on the new pool, and came to El Cerrito Avenue where a home has been undergoing extensive work. There is noticeable progress on it too. Our long line of walkers went down El Cerrito, and crossed it safely with the aid of flashing, pedestrian warning lights at Oakland Avenue. We continued down to Greenbank Avenue, crossed Grand Avenue, and climbed Greenbank up to Rose Avenue. We enjoyed Rose's many old homes that were built the 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, and especially three Victorians. Mark Davis called them "The Kingston Trio." It was noted that the homes on the south side of Kingston are in Piedmont and those on the north side are in Oakland.
We went down to Linda Avenue and crossed it to go up Kingston. At 780 was what Meghan Bennett had told the group was her former home. Research by Piedmont Historical Society provided its story and also that of the house next door at 778. These two homes were built in 1892 by William Vickery and his sister, Elizabeth Vickery Hadden, at costs of $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. Google Maps shows the backyard of the home at 784 is even deeper. Neighborhood lore says the two houses once shared a kitchen and the two families ate their meals together.
Nancy D wanted us to go a little further up Kingston to see a historic brick home. It was designed by Albert Farr and built in 1908. An iron gate blocks the driveway entrance with the house further back. As we were peeking through the gate, the owner, Chad, happened to be coming out and saw us. Chad also owns Mulberry's Market in Piedmont. He invited us to come in for a tour of the house. We noticed that there is also a chicken coop with live chickens just inside the gate. Chad said he once had ducks too. Showing great hospitality, Chad took us through the house, and shared the stories of his buying the house, rebuilding part of it, and remodeling much of it. The
home is lovely and has a wonderful historical feel. The front of the house was also a great spot for a group photo with Chad. He also later shared the attached old photo of the house that Meghan Bennett shared with him.
The visit with Chad was unplanned, and when the tour was completed it was time for us to make a direct return to the Exedra. We went back Kingston to Linda, past Beach School with kids having fun on the playground, and continued on to Grand, Wildwood, and Magnolia Avenues, and the Exedra. It was an almost four mile walk on a beautiful, fall morning with an unexpected treat from Chad that was enjoyed and appreciated by all.