California’s first licensed female architect and a Frank Lloyd Wright Protégé helped design this Moorish-Gothic columbarium.
Chapel of the Chimes is located on land that was originally the site of a trolley car station that delivered people to the gates of Mountain View Cemetery. In fact, you can still find the original trolley schedule on the wall inside the original chapel of the columbarium.
When architect Julia Morgan redesigned and expanded the modest, turn-of-the-century columbarium, she brought with her a small army of local artisans and her trademark eclectic vision.
The name Chapel of the Chimes is used to reflect a place of peace and tranquility, a building of light rather than of darkness and death. The actual “chimes” were repaired in 2008 after many years of disuse.
Julia Morgan was California’s first licensed female architect, educated at University of California at Berkeley and L’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris before settling in the Bay Area.
In the 1920s, she was hired to design the magnificent Moorish Gothic addition, which includes chapels, alcoves, cloisters, fountains, and gardens.
Her assistant Doris Day was sent to Europe in search of antiquities to bring her vision to life.
Even though 190,000+ souls are housed within, a calming silence envelops visitors after entering the space.
Niches are property sold in perpetuity to one member of a family, who can will space to only one subsequent family member.
Beautiful stained glass windows can be found throughout the rooms which are all connected through a series of passages and stairwells.
I guess ‘Garden of Infidelity’ wouldn’t work here.
Thousands of tiny niches filled with urns, many shaped like books, surrounding gardens and quiet patio-like rooms, give the impression of a vast, light-filled library. Chapel of the Chimes boasts the installment and use of the world’s first electric crematorium.
A greenhouse for the dead.
In the past, the gardens included caged birds and fish swimming in ponds.
“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” — Julia Morgan
Light pours in through skylights that crank open to admit fresh air.
In 1959, a mausoleum behind the columbarium was added to allow for full body interment.
It was the first space in the world to be both columbarium and mausoleum.
Your gonna need it if you have limited time or easily get lost.
Chapel of the Chimes is one of the largest above-ground columbariums in the United States.
John Lee Hooker, King of the Boogie is probably the most famous resident of the Chapel of the Chimes.
Julia Morgan designed more than 700 buildings during her long career and is buried next door at Mountain View Cemetery. RIP Julia (1872-1957).
Chapel of the Chimes
4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, California 94611
Open: Daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.