Piedmont, California

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City of Piedmont
A view of Piedmont
A view of Piedmont
Location in Alameda County and the state of California
Location in Alameda County and the state of California
City of Piedmont is located in USA
City of Piedmont
City of Piedmont
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 37°49′N 122°14′W / 37.817°N 122.233°W / 37.817; -122.233Coordinates: 37°49′N 122°14′W / 37.817°N 122.233°W / 37.817; -122.233
Country  United States
State  California
County Alameda
Incorporated January 31, 1907[1]
 • Mayor Margaret Fujioka[2]
 • Vice Mayor Jeff Wieler[2]
 • State Senate Loni Hancock (D)[3]
 • State Assembly Tony Thurmond (D)[4]
 • U. S. Congress Barbara Lee (D)[5]
 • Total 1.678 sq mi (4.345 km2)
 • Land 1.678 sq mi (4.345 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[7] 331 ft (101 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 10,667
 • Density 6,400/sq mi (2,500/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 94602, 94610, 94611, 94618
Area code(s) 510
FIPS code 06-56938
GNIS feature IDs 1659383, 2411418
Website www.ci.piedmont.ca.us

Piedmont is a small city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is surrounded by the city of Oakland. The population was 10,667 at the 2010 census. Piedmont was incorporated in 1907 and was developed significantly in the 1920s and 1930s. The district includes three elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools.


El Cerrito Ave., one of Piedmont's tree-lined streets

Piedmont is a small, residential community surrounded on all sides by the City of Oakland.

Piedmont is almost entirely zoned for single-family dwelling residential use. Piedmont has minimal commerce compared with statistically similar cities, and relies primarily on property taxes as a base. The city also has almost no multi-family or second (in-law) units. The city has a small number of businesses in its commercial district on Highland Avenue in addition to a small number of businesses on Grand Avenue near Piedmont's southwest border with Oakland.

Located in the East Bay hills, Piedmont is surrounded on all sides by the city of Oakland. Piedmont provides its own fire and police services but does not have its own public library or federal post office; these services are shared with Oakland. Property taxes on Piedmont real estate are not shared with Oakland.

The city is served by two local weekly newspapers: Piedmont Post and the Piedmonter, a neighborhood newspaper organized under the Contra Costa Times news organization.

Piedmont has a Community Hall and Veterans' Memorial Building. Parks include Piedmont Park, Dracena Park, Crocker Park and Kennelly Skate Park. Playfields include Coaches Playfield, Havens Playfield, Linda Playfield, Piedmont Sports Field (Hampton), and Witter Field.


Residents originally sought incorporation in 1907. Two elections were held among the citizens of Piedmont in 1907, both of which narrowly upheld the decision for Piedmont to become a separate city, rather than become a neighborhood within the city of Oakland.

By the Roaring Twenties, Piedmont was known as the "City of Millionaires" because it had the most resident millionaires per square mile of any city in the United States. Many of these millionaires built mansions that still stand, notably on Sea View Avenue and Sotelo Avenue/Glen Alpine Road in upper Piedmont. Piedmont became a charter city under the laws of the state of California on December 18, 1922. On February 27, 1923, voters adopted the charter, which can only be changed by another vote of the people.

Piedmont celebrated the year 2007 as its Centennial Anniversary since incorporation. The Centennial Committee hosted celebratory events along a trail that runs through downtown Piedmont and denoted historical landmarks in the city. The Committee also created a float for the city's Fourth of July parade.[8]

The historical exhibit "A Deluxe Autonomy: Piedmont’s First 100 Years" was on display in the Oakland Public Library from January 5 to March 31, 2007.[9]


Piedmont is located at 37°49′19″N 122°13′53″W / 37.821994°N 122.231405°W / 37.821994; -122.231405.[10] It is located near the Hayward Fault, a geological fault line that runs through the East Bay region.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), all land.

Piedmont's major streets include Oakland Avenue, which runs from Piedmont's small city center down into Oakland; Highland Avenue, which divides Piedmont into upper and lower sections; Moraga Avenue, which runs near the city's northern border; and Grand Avenue, which runs near Piedmont's western border. Lots in upper Piedmont are, on average, larger than lots in lower Piedmont. A nearby shopping district on Piedmont Avenue is located in Oakland, not Piedmont. A small shopping area has been located on Highland Avenue at Piedmont Park for many years, but in the last few decades has become nothing more than a convenience store, service station and three banks. No major highways run within Piedmont's borders.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 634
1910 1,719
1920 4,828 180.9%
1930 9,333 93.3%
1940 9,866 5.7%
1950 10,132 2.7%
1960 11,117 9.7%
1970 10,917 −1.8%
1980 10,498 −3.8%
1990 10,602 1.0%
2000 10,952 3.3%
2010 10,667 −2.6%


The 2010 United States Census[11] reported that Piedmont had a population of 10,667. The population density was 6,358.5 people per square mile (2,455.0/km²). The racial makeup of Piedmont was 7,917 (74.2%) White, 144 (1.3%) African American, six (0.1%) Native American, 1,939 (18.2%) Asian, 13 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 94 (0.9%) from other races, and 554 (5.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 421 persons (3.9%). The Census reported that 10,664 people (100% of the population) lived in households, three (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and none (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 3,801 households, out of which 1,606 (42.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 2,738 (72.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 260 (6.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 119 (3.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 67 (1.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 38 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 578 households (15.2%) were made up of individuals and 344 (9.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81. There were 3,117 families (82.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.11.

The population was spread out with 3,017 people (28.3%) under the age of 18, 451 people (4.2%) aged 18 to 24, 1,638 people (15.4%) aged 25 to 44, 3,922 people (36.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,639 people (15.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.2 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males.

There were 3,924 housing units at an average density of 2,339.1 per square mile (903.1/km²), of which 3,358 (88.3%) were owner-occupied, and 443 (11.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.7%. 9,393 people (88.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,271 people (11.9%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 10,952 people, 3,804 households, and 3,104 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,488.7 inhabitants per square mile (2,502.1/km²). There were 3,859 housing units at an average density of 2,286.3 per square mile (881.6/km²).

There were 3,804 households out of which 47.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.9% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.4% were non-families. 14.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88, and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 3.8% from 18 to 24, 18.5% from 25 to 44, 34.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $134,270, and the median income for a family was $149,857. Males had a median income of $100,000 versus $58,553 for females. The per capita income for the city was $70,539. About 1.0% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 1.6% of those age 65 or over.


A view of Piedmont Middle School and Witter Field, taken from Piedmont High School

The city of Piedmont is served by the Piedmont Unified School District. The district, coinciding with the municipal boundaries, includes three elementary schools (Havens, Beach, and Wildwood), one middle school (Piedmont Middle School), one high school (Piedmont High School), and one alternative high school, Millennium. Piedmont High School matriculates a high percentage of students bound for college. Many graduates continue their education at both public and private colleges and universities.

The Piedmont Unified School District was ranked #10 of 756 districts in the state of California according to one statistical analysis of California public education.[13]

Piedmont voters have approved several local bond measures earmarked for maintaining and/or improving educational facilities. For example, Witter Field, home of the Piedmont Highlanders, was rebuilt over a period of years (1996–1999), transforming it from the older facility to a newer and markedly improved one. Similar improvements have been made to the fields adjacent to the Beach Elementary School.

In 2005, Piedmont citizens voted in favor of Measures B and C with an overwhelming majority. Measure B renews the school district parcel tax, which pays for 21 percent of the district's budget, and Measure C adds an additional amount that compensates for reduced funding from state and federal sources.

In 2006, voters authorized the Piedmont City Unified School District to issue up to $56 million in bonds to improve Piedmont public school buildings so as to reduce dangers from earthquakes, to meet state and federal seismic safety standards.

Piedmont High School hosts the Leonard J. Waxdeck Bird Calling Contest annually every spring, with the top three winners appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman and performing their bird calls.[14][15]

The Piedmont Educational Foundation awards a number of grants for academic innovation in Piedmont schools each year, and provides a sustained source of funding for the PUSD through its Endowment Fund.[16]


AC Transit provides Piedmont with bus service. The Number 11 and number 12 connects Piedmont to Oakland's BART stations. Route for #11: Oakland Avenue, Downtown Oakland, BART 19th St., 12th St., & Lake Merritt stations, & the Fruitvale District. Route for #12: Grand Avenue, Piedmont Avenue, Temescal / Telegraph Shopping District, & BART 19th St., 12th St., and MacArthur stations. AC Transit also provides Transbay bus routes C and P to San Francisco.

Notable people[edit]


Piedmont is home to a number of notable individuals in the political, business, sports, and academic communities, including: current University of California, Berkeley Head Football Coach Sonny Dykes; ex-Major League Baseball player Dave McCarty; ex-National Football League player Bubba Paris, San Francisco 49ers; ex-National Football League player Bill Romanowski; Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich; Peter Docter, director of Pixar's Monsters, Inc. and Up and co-writer of WALL-E; and Billie Joe Armstrong of the rock band Green Day (though he was not born or raised in Piedmont as is mistakenly written about him); Alex Hirsch, the creator of a Disney animated show, Gravity Falls, in which he bases Dipper and Mabel's home as Piedmont.


Author Jack London wrote Call of the Wild while living on Blair Avenue in a house that exists today; since this predated incorporation, technically he was never a citizen of Piedmont. John F. Kennedy's Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara grew up in Piedmont, where his family lived on Annerley Road.[17] Clint Eastwood resided in Piedmont and attended Piedmont schools. Country Joe McDonald resided in Piedmont in the 1970s. Actors Dean Butler (Little House on the Prairie) and Austin Tichenor (Reduced Shakespeare Company) also grew up in Piedmont. Notable tennis player and coach Brad Gilbert grew up in Piedmont. Charles R. Schwab, founder of the discount stock brokerage firm bearing his name, and his family also lived in Piedmont in the early 1980s, as did Dean Witter, founder of Dean Witter Reynolds brokerage, in the 1940s.

Other past notables include Dorothy and Robert DeBolt, who rose to international prominence while raising their 20 children, including 14 adopted, multi-racial and multi-handicapped, to complete self-sufficiency. A 1977 documentary of their family's story, Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids? won an Academy Award. Ruth Leach Amonette, the first woman to become a vice president at IBM, was raised in and attended high school in Piedmont.[18]

Other residents have included: F. Wayne Valley, philanthropist, construction magnate, owner of the Oakland Raiders and founding member of the AFL; Frank C. Havens, for whom Havens Elementary School is named; and James Gamble, president of the Western Union Telegraph Company, who, in 1877, founded the Piedmont Land Company, introducing the name adopted by the city upon incorporation.

Other people who have lived in Piedmont, past and present, include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (WORD). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved March 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Piedmont City Council". Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ "California's 13th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ U.S. Census
  7. ^ "Piedmont". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  8. ^ Allen, Annalee (7 January 2007). "Piedmont honors 100 years of history". Oakland Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  9. ^ "A Deluxe Autonomy: Piedmont's First 100 Years Historic Exhibit Opens January 5". Oakland Public Library. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Piedmont city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ Schooldigger rankings by city
  14. ^ http://www.insidebayarea.com/piedmont/ci_20593606/piedmont-high-bird-call-winners-headed-letterman
  15. ^ http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_23223829/piedmont-bird-callers-chirp-their-way-late-show
  16. ^ Piedmont Educational Foundation
  17. ^ The Living and the Dead, Paul Hendrickson, A.A. Knopf 1996, p. 45; precise address is 1036 Annerley Road.
  18. ^ "AMONETTE, Ruth Leach". Obituary (SFGate). June 26, 2004. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 

External links[edit]