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.
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 theContra 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.