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James Gamble

Overland monthly, 1901-12- Vol 38 Iss 6:

A portion of the Piedmont Park property originally belonged to Mr. Walter Blair, but he sold it to the "Piedmont Land Company," and it now is included in the Park.

"The Piedmont Land Company" was incorporated April 4, 1853, with Mr. Jas. Gamble as its President, and five directors. Its object set forth in the original certificate, was to "engage in and carry on the business of buying and selling real estate in Alameda County," and to make such improvements as should be necessary.

Mr. James Gamble suggested the pretty name of PIedmont, derived from the Piedmontese hills of Italy, meaning "at the foot of the mountain." No more appropriate name could be found.  

History of Alameda County, California : including its geology, topography, soil, and productions : together with a full and particular record of the Spanish grants, 1883, p809:

The Piedmont Land Company have laid out several hundred acres with such artistic regard to the topography of the ground that when all the improvements are effected it will be one of the most delightful resorts in the neighborhood of Oakland.

From the City of Piedmont:

In 1877 James Gamble, the president of Western Union Telegraph, bought 350 acres of land from Walter Blair. He built a big house for himself on Hillside Avenue and planned to sell the rest of the land so that other people could also build homes. He called his business the "Piedmont Land Company".


Piedmont means "foot of the mountain" in Italian and he thought it was a good name for the new community. In the 1880's there were only seven houses where the City of Piedmont is now. Mr. Gamble's house and gardens filled up the whole block where the Recreation Center, pool and tennis courts are now.

 Oakland Tribune - Sat - Oct. 16, 1897

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