Piedmont is a small city located in Alameda County, California, United States, completely surrounded by the city of Oakland. Take a look below for 15 fun and amazing facts about Piedmont, California, United States.
1. Its residential population was 11,270 at the 2020 census.
2. The name comes from the region of Piedmont in Italy, and it means ‘foothill.’
3. Piedmont was incorporated in 1907, and was developed significantly in the 1920s and 1930s.
4. The original neighborhood of Piedmont was larger than the current municipality of Piedmont, with the Mountain View Cemetery considered full part of the Piedmont neighborhood.
5. Residents initially sought incorporation in 1907.
6. 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.
7. Like surrounding Oakland, Piedmont has a history of racial segregation. In 1925, the city’s first African-American homeowners, Sidney and Irene Dearing, got around the city’s restrictive housing covenants by purchasing a home using a white family member as a proxy.
8. They were soon forced to sell it to the city after a mob surrounded their home and demanded that they leave. While the Dearings initially refused to leave, bombs were left around their property. Piedmont’s chief of police at the time, Burton Becker, was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan, and could not be counted on to protect them from violent threats against their lives.
9. Before 1968, restrictive housing covenants and redlining were used to exclude non-whites in the city for many years.
10. The American sociologist and historian James W. Loewen identified Piedmont as a “probable” sundown town, meaning that non-whites were not welcome after dusk and could face violence and intimidation. While surrounding Oakland is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the United States, Piedmont has a less racially diverse population than Oakland.
11. Attempts to ethnically and culturally diversify the city and allow for higher density and affordable housing are typically met with resistance from the city’s residents.
12. In early 2021, the city council indicated that it intended “to move forward with public acknowledgement and an apology for the abhorrent treatment Sidney Dearing and his family received in 1924.”
13. According to the city’s Web page, “In the Roaring Twenties, Piedmont was known as the ‘City of Millionaires’ because there were more millionaires per square mile than in 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 ‘Alta’ 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.
14. Piedmont celebrated the year 2007 as its Centennial Anniversary since incorporation. The Centennial Committee hosted celebratory events along a trail that ran through downtown Piedmont and denoted historical landmarks in the city. The Committee also created a float for the city’s Fourth of July parade.
15. 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.