Millsmont is a neighborhood located below 580 between Seminary and 73rd. Known as the Oakland foothills, part of Millsmont sits high atop a hill overlooking the flats of Oakland, and more distantly, the San Francisco Bay, San Bruno Mountain, the skyline of San Francisco, three bridges (San Mateo, Bay Bridge, and Golden Gate), and Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County.
Chimes Creek runs through this area. It is adjacent to Mills College, and just East (South) of the spot where Highway 13 and the MacArthur Freeway (I-580) come together. Subdivision maps from the 1920s of this area call it Chimes Terrace, after the creek, and referring to the fact that the lots were within hearing of the chimes of the Mills College campanile.
The property was originally the Simpson Ranch owned by JR. Simpson. Neighborhood lore has the original ranch house at 6251 Hillmont. (Early maps show that the original name of Hillmont Ave was Millsmont from which the neighborhood gained its name.) The oldest homes are cabins established in a charming rural area, the summer homes of San Franciscans. After the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906, newly homeless San Franciscans moved into these cabins, and although many were enlarged and turned into full-time abodes, there remains one unchanged cabin at the corner of Sunnymere and Edgemoor. Many of these structures still have the original clapboard siding. The other houses date from 20s, 30s, and 40s, with other houses being added in later decades. Empty lots are generally steep and difficult to build on, some prone to landslides (especially an unstable collection of lots at top of Delmont hill that residents would like to see made into a park or community garden). Many older residents live here (at least 40 years in their houses), but families and singles have moved here in the past decade. (credit: Wikipedia)
Two community-oriented neighborhood groups are striving to make the area residents more connected: the Mokeridge Yahoo Group and the "Millsmont" Nextdoor.com community group, which includes all of Millsmont. (bordered by Seminary, Sunnymere, Sunkist/73rd/MacArthur). A Facebook page allows Millsmont neighborhood residents and friends of Millsmont to communicate about projects and events and post photos of the area. Recent projects include improving neighborhood communication and coordination over security issues, and the installation of a Little Free Library (made possible by neighborhood fundraising and a grant from Desley Brooks, District 6 Councilmember), and inaugurated April 27, 2013 (intersection of Mokelumne and Simson, north end). Possible future projects include the creation of a community garden near the Burbank Preschool Center on 64th/65th (Outlook/MacArthur). A weekly meetup, Coffee @ the Curb, has been occurring Friday mornings at 8:30am, at Buena Ventura and Delmont, thanks to the Get Goes Mobile Cafe truck adding Millsmont to their Friday morning route in Fall of 2013!
Some Millsmont area photos can be seen here
Here is information about community groups working on improving and restoring creeks in the watershed area that includes Millsmont.
Nearest Business District: MacArthur/Seminary intersection, and Laurel District
Real Estate information:
A snapshot of home values in Millsmont can be seen here.
In the Media
Oakland Magazine wrote about Millsmont in a 2014 article:
Birdsong mingles with the hum of traffic from Interstate 580, which borders the northern edge of this hilly neighborhood. There’s a rural feel up here on the tree-covered ridge. The neighborhood, built to the west of Mills College, spills down toward the Bay, giving even modest two-bedrooms million-dollar views across the water to Alameda and beyond. Every architectural style is represented here, from a spatter of modernist split-levels to twee stucco mini-castles to shingled ranch homes.
Signs of remodeling are everywhere, indicating that prosperity is increasing. House hunters have lots of options in Millsmont, with as many as 25 homes on the market at one time. A few foreclosures priced in the low $200,000s will appeal to bargain hunters; most homes range in the mid $300,000s.
While the median home price for Millsmont trends lower than Oakland overall, it’s on the upswing. Homebuyers are likely to get more house, more land, and more view for their money here than in just about any other Oaktown neighborhood. The downside is that, while it’s lovely to walk the hills, there’s nothing to walk to until you get all the way down to MacArthur. Hopping onto 580, which might be very close to your driveway, takes you quickly to Laurel District shopping. A drive to work in the East Bay is golden, but taking public transit is more like brass. A couple of bus lines serve area schools and will get commuters to the Coliseum BART station—eventually.
Crime is low above Outlook Avenue, maybe because crooks don’t like the hills. Bad things do happen in the western lowlands, putting crime in this neighborhood 19 percent higher than in Oakland as a whole. But inhabitants give Millsmont high marks for neighborliness. Prepare to be greeted with a smile when passing neighbors on foot and to be treated with respect by other drivers. 2