A Piece of History: Chapel of the Chimes Oakland


We at Chapel of the Chimes have been providing the Oakland area burial and funeral services for over 100 years. In 1959, we became the first space in the world to provide both columbarium and mausoleums. Our magnificent building, spanning one and a half city blocks, was designed by nationally renowned architects and declared a historic landmark by the City of Oakland in 1999.

Early History

The first crematory was built by the California Crematorium Association in 1909 on the site of an old trolley car station. At the time, it was being used as a chapel; in fact, the original chapel still has train schedules on the wall. A young visionary named Lawrence F. Moore was hired in 1911 to manage the business. One of his greatest accomplishments was hiring architect Julia Morgan to design and expand the facility. On Memorial Day in 1928, the new columbarium and chapel were dedicated as “Chapel of the Chimes,” named for the set of chimes in the chapel’s tower. A different architect, Aaron Green, would add six additions to the structure over 24 years, integrating mausoleums for above-ground burial and entombment of casketed remains.

Prominent Architects

Chapel of the Chimes had the good fortune of commissioning Julia Morgan, whose buildings have become California treasures, and Aaron Green, an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright, to design its facilities. Morgan’s design focused on creating a peaceful, healing place of rest. The Moorish-inspired interior features ornate stonework, indoor gardens, statues, fountains, and glass vaulted ceilings. Green continued Morgan’s style in his additions, but added a more modern touch.

Famous Burials

Our columbaria and mausoleums house the remains of athletes, musicians, politicians, and explorers. The most famous resident of Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland is John Lee Hooker, an influential blues guitarist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The magnificent design and size of our buildings, coupled with our extensive experience in providing cremation and funeral services, have made Chapel of the Chimes the most desired cremation venue in Northern California. Call us at (510) 654-0123 to learn more today.