Appreciating the Beauty of Chapel of the Chimes Oakland

Your final resting place should be peaceful, serene and beautiful, and a place of grace and dignity. A touchpoint for future generations to come and remember you, it should be a place where family members can reflect on happy memories. Chapel of the Chimes Oakland is all this and much more.  

Built in 1909, the columbarium was redesigned in 1928 by Julia Morgan, an architect famous for her work on Hearst Castle. A mausoleum was added in 1959 by Aaron Green, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The building was given landmark status in 1999.  

Considered some of Morgan’s best work, Chapel of the Chimes is both innovative and tranquil. The land on which it sits was originally the site of a trolley car station serving those who wanted to visit Mountain View Cemetery. In 1902 the California Crematorium Association purchased it to turn it into a chapel for funeral services, and that original chapel still exists within the columbarium. When Julia Morgan took on the redesign, she turned what had been a modest columbarium into a work of art.  

There are several lovely chapels in the building, but the name Chapel of the Chimes is meant to elicit feelings of peace and tranquility, painting the building as one that represents light and beauty instead of darkness and death. The chimes are a carillon in the building’s lower tower. Morgan’s contribution is a Moorish Gothic addition, with an array of gardens, cloisters, alcoves, stairwells, fountains and chapels with vaulted ceilings and soothing natural light that pours through exquisite stained-glass windows.  

The space is calm and quiet, and it’s easy to feel at peace as you explore the labyrinth of niches surrounded by fountains, gardens, and trees. The original Chapel of the Chimes building is seamlessly linked to the Frances Willard Columbarium, the Sanctuary, and the Julia Morgan Chapel through a series of passages and stairwells. Some of the rooms are lush with foliage and, in the past, caged birds graced the gardens and fish swam in the ponds. Skylights crank open to let in fresh air.  

Chapel of the Chimes was the first building in the world to be used as both a columbarium and mausoleum, and it’s one of the largest above-ground columbaria in the United States. It’s a place of beauty, but also of convenience, offering everything you need in one place: an expansive funeral home and on-site crematory as well as cremation memorialization and above-ground entombment options.  

At Chapel of the Chimes, we care for families of all faiths, traditions, and cultures. To learn more, call us at 510.379.4866 or schedule a tour here.  

  • Share:
  • share-icon-linkedin
  • share-icon-twitter
  • social_facebook
  • share-icon-pinterest
  • share-icon-google
  • share-icon-reddit
  • share-icon-email
WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin