In 1820, Don Luis Peralta owned 14,330 acres of land on the east side of San Francisco Bay. His Rancho San Antonio was so big that it covered all the land that is Piedmont, Berkeley and Oakland today. Gradually the Peralta holdings, like those of other early Californians, passed out of the hands of their original owners. A small portion of this tract is now known as the City of Piedmont.
During the 1880’s, Piedmont had its first, and only, factory. At the top of Oakland Avenue there was a mulberry orchard with over 6,000 trees and a two-story building that was the Ladies Silk Culture Society. Over 100 women worked spinning thread from the cocoons of silk worms that grew on the mulberry trees. The silk worms were very hungry, however, and soon there were not enough mulberry trees to feed them. The Ladies Silk Culture Society closed in 1895.
Following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, thousands fled across the bay to safety and many stayed. Piedmont grew 10 times bigger in just one year. Many artists and writers, including Jack London, Xavier Martinez, and George Sterling, lived in the hills of Piedmont during the early 1900’s. During the 1920’s, Piedmont was known as the “City of Millionaires” because there were more millionaires per square mile than in any city in the United States.
The City of Piedmont is a charter city of approximately 11,000 residents located in the beautiful Oakland Hills, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The city, which is virtually built out, consists of established, high-quality single family homes on quiet tree-lined streets. Piedmont is centrally located within a few minutes from Oakland and San Francisco on the West and Concord and Walnut Creek on the East. Within Piedmont’s 1.7 square-mile area there are five city parks and numerous landscaped areas which offer wooded paths, tennis courts, children’s playgrounds and picnic facilities. Although Piedmont is located within the city of Oakland, it incorporated in 1907 and has its own city government and school district.
Many of the beautiful homes of Piedmont are historically and architecturally significant. The Oakland Heritage Alliance sponsors walking tours through Piedmont, and Piedmont homes are regularly featured on benefit tours for local schools and other non-profits.
The Piedmont Unified School District is composed of three elementary schools, one middle school, two high schools and one adult school. The school district has always been very well regarded, with consistently high test scores. In short, Piedmont is a lovely town, with beautiful parks, handsome homes and a quiet and elegant atmosphere.
Thanks to the City of Piedmont for most of this information.