Posted in Early Montclair, History, Montclair, Montclair Tracts

Smith Reserve

The Smith Reserve is a subdivision in Montclair and is now known as Piedmont Pines.  

The area is located at the top of  Park Blvd with borders on Shepherd Canyon and Joaquin Miller Park and up to Skyline Blvd.

Oakland Tribune 1928

“Selected years ago By F.M. “Borax” Smith as a private estate”.

Oakland Tribune May 22, 1926.

F.M. “Borax” Smith set this land and another piece of further down on Park Blvd aside for his own private estate.  The area at the top of Dimond Canyon and included two creeks where Smith could hunt and have picnics.

He chose to build his home “Arbor Villa” on land located at Park Blvd between E 22nd and E 28th. Arbor Villa – Oakland Local WIki

In 1919, 25 acres of the Smith Reserve was sold to the Oakland-Piedmont Council of the Boy Scouts of America, for camp for the scouts.  It was called Camp Dimond was in use from 1919-1948.

In 1948 the Oakland Public School district took over the land and built Joaquin Miller Elementary and Montera Junior High Schools.

Smith Reserve Goes on Sale May 1926

Smith reserve is the most beautiful tract of land opened by the Syndicate Company” 

Oakland Tribune May 23, 1926

In July of 1926, two months after the subdivision was open, the Realty Syndicate reported nearly $250,000 in sales.  It was also reported that a bus transportation system will be put into operation, connecting with both local and San Francisco electric lines. -Oakland Tribune, July 18, 1928.

Bus Service to Smith Reserve

Admiring Smith Reserve

In an October 1928 edition of the Oakland Tribune noted actress, Miss Grace Valentine acclaims. Miss Valentine was staring at the Fulton Theatre.

Smith Reserve the most beautiful home-park that she had ever seen in the Eastbay”. “If I were a permanent resident of the East Bay I would certainly wish to make my home in this beautiful park”

Miss. Valentine Oct 1928

 More clippings about Smith Reserve

Please see: Casa Altadena 

Please see: Casa Maria Luisa

The End

Updated Dec 16, 2019

Author:

II have been an Oakland history buff since going on an Oakland Heritage Alliance Tour of the Fernwood Neighborhood in the Montclair District of Oakland, in the mid-'80s. On that tour, I learned that there use to be a train (Sacramento Northern) that ran through Montclair in the early 1900s and that people lived the area as early as 1860s — been hooked ever since. Since then, I have spent a lot of time looking into the history of Montclair, and I have learned a lot. I feel this will be the best way to get it out of my head and onto paper.

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