Our Co-sponsor, Chapel of the Chimes, is the largest above-ground cemetery (mausoleum which is an inside cemetery) west of the Mississippi. Chimes started out as a street car station that was transformed into the California Memorial Crematorium and Columbarium in 1909. The property was expanded and transformed initially by Julia Morgan and later by Aaron Green, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Oakland Historical Landmark today continues to provide complete end-of-life services, part of a family of four premier Bay Area cemeteries, columbariums, crematories, mausoleums and funeral homes. From traditional to personalized, Chapel of the Chimes assists the diverse families of Northern California to fully memorialize and celebrate a life lived.
Event goers are invited to wander the multilevel building which is built onto a hillside between Piedmont Avenue and Howe Street as the performers play simultaneously. Getting lost is part of the experience as guests climb up and down the three floors through a maze of gardens, cloisters, alcoves, stairwells, fountains and other architectural elements, which rise into vaulted ceilings. Seamless in feel there are three separate design sections created by four architects; Cunningham & Politeo 1909, Julia Morgan 1926-1951 (consulting until her retirement 1951), Aaron Green 1956-1986 and JST Architects 1986-1998. In the older section the complexity of chapels, columbaria, and mausoleum areas are adorned with murals, paintings, sculpture, mosaics, California tile and 16th century antiquities. All architectural and garden areas have excellent acoustics and are illuminated by gentle natural light, often through beautiful arrangements of stained glass.