Important early cadastral map of Piedmont, California, based upon the work of William Hammond Hall and M.G. King, from the collection of William F. Boardman.
The present map is likely the same map that was filed on April 2, 1877, with the Alameda County Recorder. This example is nearly identical to the example held by the Bancroft, but does not include the number 27 at the top left corner in the inset map, and may in fact be an earlier version of the map.
The map identifies Piedmont in its earliest inhabited days, showing the home of Walter Blair, Blair's Dairy, the Blair Quarry, and Sulpher Springs, along with the Piedmont Hotel and subdivision, early roads, proposed extension of the Oakland and Piedmont Street Railway, etc. The names of early land owners are shown.
The map also includes pencil annotations showing proposed streets, and surveyor's information, reflecting its ownership by William F. Boardman, one of Oakland's first City Engineers and one of Alameda County's first County Surveyors, who would remain one of the most important planning and development forces in the East Bay, from the 1860s until the turn of the Century.
In 1850, what is now Piedmont was part of Rancho San Antonio, owned by the Peralta family, and covered much of the northeastern shore of San Francisco Bay. Rancho San Antonio was sparsely populated except for cattle and their tenders. In 1860, retired South Carolinian Congressman Isaac Holmes, bought a piece of land from his neighbor Reed. The area included Bushy Dell Creek, a creek that runs through the dog-walking trail of modern-day Piedmont. In 1870, Walter Blair bought over 800 acres in the foothills of East Bay. Where the spring was located, he built the Piedmont Springs Hotel, of 20 bedrooms and five dining rooms. The water of the spring was thought to have curative powers. Wealthy San Franciscans retired to the hotel during trips to "the country."
In addition to the hotel, Blair built a dairy farm on what is now Highland Avenue and a quarry where Dracena Park is today. In April 1877, James Gamble bought a 350 acre tract of land from Blair, and formed the Piedmont Land Company, along with James de Fremery, George W. Beaver, L.A. Booth, and T.L. Barker. The Piedmont Land Company hired landscape engineer William Hammond Hall, to plan the avenues and subdivide the tract into 67 parcels. The first auction of land took place on April 10, 1877.
As noted in the September 15, 1974 edition of the Oakland Tribune at page 62.
William F. Boardman, the hardware salesman who educated himself as a civil engineer and became simultaneously Oakland city engineer and Alameda County surveyor. Boardman came to California in 1851 and spent seven years in the hardware business in San Francisco. [Later], he moved to Oakland where he lived until his death in 1906, at age 82. He held both the city engineer and county surveyor posts from 1864 to 1868 and assisted in the development of many public utilities and services in the area, including Contra Costa County Water Co.'s Lake Temescal Dam, San Leandro Dam and Central Pacific Railroad's main line from the Sierra Summit to Truckee.
Boardman was responsible for platting (Oakland's) Broadway 100 feet wide--a move which brought considerable outcry from property owners who didn't think such a large artery would be needed--and he built a two-story frame building on the northwest corner of 12th and Broadway in 1865 and lived to see the day he could say "I told you so" to F.K. Shattuck, who told him he was crazy to build such a large structure in Oakland. His son, Clifford H. Boardman, so respected his father that he left high school to learn civil engineering under his father's tutelage. Clifford lived until his death at age 91 in 1956, and worked as a highly respected civil engineer right up to his demise of an apparent heart attack while searching out information in the city engineer's office in Oakland City Hall.
The map is very rare on the market. OCLC locates 4 examples (Yale, Bancroft, Huntington and the Institute for Government Studies).