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In 1870, successful farmer and businessman Walter Blair built the Piedmont Springs Hotel on part of the eight hundred acres of land in the East Bay foothills that he had purchased for his home and diary farm. The waters of Piedmont creek were thought to have curative powers and attracted many wealthy San Franciscans to the hotel. Blair sold three hundred fifty acres to Western Union Telegraph president James Gamble in 1877, who built a large home on the property and established the sixty-seven parcels of land that comprised the Piedmont Land Company. Gamble soon began selling these parcels to wealthy San Franciscans who wanted “country” homes in the temperate East Bay hills.
Piedmont remained unincorporated until Oakland attempted to annex the town in 1907 in order to better cope with the financial strains caused by the influx of refugees crossing the Bay after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Piedmont town fathers quickly incorporated, establishing the town as we know it today with its own fire and police departments, as well as what has since become acclaimed public schools.
Today, Piedmont has remained small with an estimated population of approximately 11,000 people, and is only 1.7 square miles in size and surrounded by Oakland. Piedmont has taken care to preserve its beautiful parks and green spaces, and its schools are some of the best in California. The town has many grand, historic homes that were built for the titans of San Francisco society and business, but also has more modest homes throughout the community that are highly prized.
Piedmont is nestled in the foot of the hills, as its name reflects. Close to the network of freeways that connects the greater Bay Area, the wonderfully eclectic shops and restaurants of Piedmont Ave, and the hipster Grand Lake neighborhood, Piedmont is an enclave of gracious living for all of those who are fortunate enough to call it home.