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The Price is Right Walk - Part 2

Our Piedmont Recreation Department’s Walking on Wednesdays group continued to have good luck with the weather this Wednesday. The heat wave that was to build through the Labor Day weekend was still not an issue for us, and we had a lovely morning for our walk. There was another large turnout of 36 walkers and two K-9 best friends at the Exedra at our normal start time.

The previous Wednesday we enjoyed a walking tour of beautiful homes that are for sale in Piedmont. There were eight homes with listing prices ranging from $2,450,000 to $18,500,000 that we wanted to go see, but we ran out of time and could only walk to five of them. One of homes we did see on Sea View had an open house the following Sunday. Karin Fetherston went to it and shared the sales brochure with us. But this was a new Wednesday. We could walk to the three houses we hadn’t seen, and actually one more, so that was the plan for the morning.

The first home on the itinerary was 317 Sea View Avenue, but there was an interesting real estate sight to see on the way to it. We went up Highland Avenue to Sheridan and Wildwood Avenues, but instead of going through the Hall Fenway to Crocker Avenue, as we usually do, we walked all the way up Wildwood. As we went, we noticed that the trees that line this beautiful street were starting to show fall color. However, the leaves were a muted red, not the brilliant red of past years, maybe because of the lack of rain.

Just to the right of Wildwood’s intersection with Crocker, there was a large Caterpillar land mover carving a hole in the steep hillside in front of a house. This home was designed by Albert Farr and built in 1906. At that time, a garage was not considered a necessity, and one was not built for the house. Now, one hundred and sixteen years later, that is changing. As we stopped to look, Oscar of R&W Concrete Construction told us that it is common today for owners of old homes, especially in San Francisco, to make this type of cut in their front yards in order to add a garage. This one is going to be for two cars and level to the street.

At his request, we gave Oscar suggestions for where he could get lunch in Piedmont, and we then proceeded to, and up Hampton Road, past Crocker Park, to Sea View. We turned right on to it and went past the always beautiful flowers of the Reich family’s home. The yellow dahlias were particularly wonderful.

We continued on, crossing over La Salle Avenue, and came to 317 Sea View. This is a 3 bedroom/3 bath 1,952 square foot home that was designed by Sidney B. Newsom and built in 1914. It had an open house the previous weekend too, and some walkers had gone to it. Another one was scheduled for the coming Sunday and they recommended a visit. This is the first time in 45 years that the home is on the market. At one point, seven layers of wallpaper were removed, and the walls with their paper remains have an interesting mottling look. The house is listed for $2,450,000.

We continued up Sea View and crossed the Oakland/Piedmont city line, where the street became “Ashmount Avenue.” The story of how the City of Piedmont was quickly incorporated with the State in 1907, and its border was geographically defined based on a sewer map, was shared. This map was all that was available for the city’s founding fathers, and they used it to beat the City of Oakland’s attempt to annex Piedmont. This sewer map is why Piedmont’s boundary is often irregular with split parcel homes.

We came to Oakland’s Mandana Boulevard, turned up it, and were quickly back in Piedmont on its Crocker Avenue. Another quick left turn put us on La Salle Avenue, looking for our next house at 35 Muir Avenue. However, when we came to it, there was no For Sale sign at its front. A quick Zillow search by Meghan Bennett revealed that this 1932 Grand Tudor designed, 5 bedroom/5

bath home of 5,899 square feet with a classic half-timbered façade, a slate roof and an ornamental chimney had been taken off the market. However, we surmised that offers might still be considered.

The next stop was just up the street at 256 La Salle. This was a 4 bedroom/3 bath, 3,765 square foot Spanish Mediterranean designed home built in 1922. It has great views of San Francisco and is listed for $3,595,000. It was also open on Sunday for walkers’ closer inspections.

The last stop on the tour was further up the street, just after a bend in the road and the street becoming Lafayette Avenue. There on the left was 199 Lafayette, a 3 bedroom/5 bath, 4,583 square foot home, built on .4 acres in 1915. It is listed for $5,950,000, and has great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, a pool with a Jacuzzi, and a guest house. It was a home worthy of a Walking on Wednesdays group photo, and we posed for the attached one in front of it.

We had completed our walking tour of all the homes on our list, and it was time to get back to the city center for our noon return time target. We had hoped to see a couple of side streets during the walk, but there just wasn’t enough time for them. This was not a problem. There is always another Wednesday for our Walking on Wednesdays group.


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