“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Piedmont in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Faux Bois Benches

Stickwork Style a Tradition since 1877

Faux Bois Benches Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, March 7, 2014
1. Faux Bois Benches Marker
Captions: 1684 – Palm Walk, Piedmont Park, Oakland, California (postcard, top right); Last faux bois bench in 2001 (bottom left); Bench shown in 1877 ad for Grotto (bottom center).
In 1877, a prospectus for home sites in Piedmont Park showed a rustic wooden bench near the Piedmont Springs grotto. This bench began a tradition which was continued when Frank C. Havens renovated the park in 1890s, installing not only rustic benches but bridges, fences and other decorative elements made of natural materials.

Although the benches were harmonious with the park setting, they were not durable. By the 1920’s, the stickwork versions were replaced by “faux bois” cement benches. These benches, too, deteriorated over time. The last bench was removed from the park in 2001 with the intention of restoring it.

Unfortunately, the cement bench was beyond repair and the tradition of the wooden benches in Piedmont Park would have been lost completely except for the efforts of the Piedmont Beautification Foundation. The Foundation funded the design and creation of a new Faux Bois Bench which was installed at the City Hall courtyard in 2005.

“Another feature, without which these hillsides would be badly supplied is that of seating accommodation. This has been admirably supplied by
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the scattering in every direction of 3,000 settees made of cones of eucalyptus. The throng the walks near the music stand, grace the side of the streamlet, cluster about trees and in some places muster in such force as to be intended for the use of picnic parties.”
Oakland Tribune, May 5, 1898
Erected by Piedmont Beautification Foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical date for this entry is May 5, 1867.
Location. 37° 49.469′ N, 122° 13.975′ W. Marker is in Piedmont, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from Vista Avenue near Highland Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 120 Vista Avenue, Oakland CA 94611, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Honor Roll (within shouting distance of this marker); World War I Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Piedmont Park History Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Piedmont Springs Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Piedmont Springs Clubhouse & Cafe (about 500 feet away); The Cascade (about 700 feet away); Piedmont Art Gallery (about 700 feet away); Sulphur Springs Grotto (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Piedmont.
More about this marker. This marker is located in the courtyard of the City Hall complex.
Faux Bois Benches Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, March 7, 2014
2. Faux Bois Benches Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on August 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 14, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 498 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 14, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 29, 2023