Piedmont, but not Piedmont
There are a few places around the Bay Area that can be a bit confusing because they are/were named Piedmont but are not actually in Piedmont.
Originally called Webster Street and in Piedmont there was a street called Piedmont in Piedmont.
The Piedmont Avenue neighborhood was founded in the late 1800s. It developed after Mountain View Cemetery opened in 1863, bringing visitors and public transportation.The area was annexed into Oakland in 1897.
Oakland Tribune - Sun - Feb. 16, 1969
Piedmont Avenue School
There was a two-room schoolhouse up closer to the Mountain View Cemetery. Classes we held for a time at the home of G.W. Hume, who lived in a large estate where the school is located now.
The school at that time was used by both children from Piedmont and Oakland. The building was designed by William Kirk and cost about $10,000 to build. The school had a bell tower with a 350-pound bell. There was a large assembly room, a library, a hothouse for plants, classrooms on both floors, and a large lighted basement where the children could play during wet weather.
In July of 1938, while the students were on summer break, the school was destroyed by a fire that was considered arson. Ten firemen were injured four of them seriously.
In a 1913 photo, the long-gone Piedmont Baths is at right. At left you can see part of the cable car building that now houses Whole Foods. In a salute to the old, two new palm trees have been planted in front.
Piedmont Baths (1890-1939?) was a swimming complex at Bay Place and Vernon Avenue (currently the lower parking lot of Whole Foods Market). An imposing brick structure comprising a natatorium with galleries, dressing rooms, hot tubs, massage areas, and a café, it was built by a consortium of local developers and investors hoping to promote interest among (pre-Earthquake) San Franciscans (who at the time had no such facility of their own) in the appeal of East Bay living.
Until 1904, the baths exploited waste steam heat from the cable-car powerhouse next door to heat the swimming tank. The salt water to fill it was drawn, alternately, from Lake Merritt and the Oakland Estuary, depending on the direction of tidal flow. Lake and estuary waters were pumped to a height of fifty feet, then gravity-fed through a “system of strainers” and one of the first implementations of charcoal, sand, and gravel filters of the Hyatt Patent. This claimed to rid the water of any solid matter or lingering “gasses”.
The therapeutic and recreational program claimed to account for “every variety of bathing appliances known to civilization” including a swimming tank of 70×120 feet, salt and fresh water tubs, barbershop, café, Turkish and Russian baths, springboards, trapeze, and a candy stand.
In October 1927, a major fire badly damaged the buildings, doing an estimated $100,000 in damage. Police and employees of Don Lee scrambled to move $350,000 of cars out of the nearby dealership.