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A remarkable vision was fashioned at the turn of the 20th century in Oakland at the end of Piedmont Avenue - the California Memorial Columbarium, now known as the Chapel of the Chimes (4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland). Designed by the gifted Julia Morgan, and later expanded under the creative vision of Frank Lloyd Wright protege Aaron Green, this community treasure has been designated a City of Oakland Distinguished Landmark. 


Renate Elster and Wesley Bexton in one of the grand hallways.


The rainy Spring weather we've been having changed into a day of drifting clouds and light showers. Fortunately, Chapel of the Chimes has two large parking lots. Everyone got a parking spot close to the entrances. Breaks in the weather allowed time for a quick dash from car to entrance. Everyone made it inside without any damage to their finery.


Dean and Lynne Seavers in a hall near the main entrance.

Elizabeth and John Siracusa in Pre-Raphelite attire pose in one of the serene rooms; this one features an Italian sculpture set in the wall and above it an Italian mosiac.

Our guide, Malcolm,  took us through the beautiful gardens, alcoves, stairwells, fountains and chapels. The rooms rise into vaulted ceilings and are illuminated by natural light. In appreciation for the tour, GBACG made making a financial donation to Chapel of the Chimes.

Several of the upstairs rooms feature stained glass windows.


We all felt the serenity of this beautiful building. Quiet nooks, surprising decorative details in a niche and secluded benches, all invite contemplation and rest. 

Light showers did not deter us from stepping out onto the terrace and admiring the view of the Oakland, the Bay and the Bridges spread out before us.


Sheri Jurnecka, Gogi Overhoff, Renate
Elster and Wesley Bexton.

Moorish influences abound throughout the interior and mix with Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts influences. Constance stands on one of the balconies that provide an elegant passage from a courtyard into a garden.


Sandra Fontes in the long hallway that forms the main entrance on Piedmont Ave.





For those of you unable to join our day at Chapel of the Chimes, we urge you to visit. Wear a costume. Take a camera. Give yourself a quiet afternoon in a place of beauty. The staff is gracious, welcoming, and costume/photography friendly.

Frannie Germeshausen

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