Resting Places of the Past: Exploring the Cemeteries of Oakland, CA

Several historical sites and points of interest are located in Oakland, California, and are worth exploring. From the vibrant cityscape of downtown Oakland to Oakland’s surrounding hills, Oakland has a lot to offer. Oakland’s cemeteries are a lesser-known attraction. On a recent trip to Oakland, we explored six cemeteries listed on our website. These resting places are beautiful and provide an exciting look into the past.

Piedmont Funeral Services and Mountain View Cemetery

The first stop on our trip was Piedmont Funeral Services and Mountain View Cemetery. This cemetery has been around since 1881 and is located in the heart of Oakland. Rolling hills, mature trees, stunning views of San Francisco Bay, and several monuments designed by renowned architects, including Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck. The cemetery hosts lectures, concerts, and other events at its event center throughout the year.

St. Mary Cemetery

We next visited St. Mary Cemetery, established in 1857 and renowned for its classic layout. Arched walkways, grand headstones, mausoleums for local families, and famous figures like former mayors John Fritzenberger and William Brownlow Mayne III are among the highlights. The renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson designed two chapels: St. Mary’s Chapel, built in 1891, and St Joseph’s Chapel, constructed in 1902.

Home of Eternity Jewish Cemetery and Mausoleum

In 1896, Congregation Beth Abraham Jacob (CBAJ) established the Home of Eternity Jewish Cemetery and Mausoleum, which is located in downtown Oakland near Lake Merritt. A number of notable monuments are dedicated to some of the most influential members of the CBAJ, including Rabbi Julius Eckman, who served from 1889-1915, and traditional Jewish symbols like the Stars of David.

Home of Peace Jewish Cemetery

Our tour then took us to the Home of Peace Jewish Cemetery, which opened in 1912 with a dedication ceremony attended by 2,000 people. This cemetery covers seven acres near Oakmore Road in East Oakland. It features a variety of monuments dedicated to prominent members of the local Jewish community, such as Rabbi Alexander Greenwald, who served at CBAJ from 1911-1941 before passing away due to tuberculosis at the age of 50.

Chapel of Memories Columbarium

We proceeded to the Chapel of Memories Columbarium, designed by Walter Wurdeman Beckett Jr., well-known for Temple Sinai and Temple Emanu-El. It stands out as it offers internal crypts for interment and external walls for cremated remains among lush gardens with fountains, statues, benches, and pathways framed by roses, magnolias trees, rose bushes, and lilac bushes in addition to gazebos. This produces a peaceful setting ideal for contemplation or commemoration.

Evergreen Cemetery

We finally stopped at Evergreen Cemetery, founded in 1901 by the Matson brothers from Pennsylvania. Covering over 200 acres near Mountain Boulevard, this land is abundant with mature trees along winding roads that lead to private estates occupied by famous figures such as former Governor George Pardee, who passed away while in office, industrialist Henry J Crocker, writer Jack London, jazz musician Dave Brubeck, philanthropist Isaias Hellman, banker William Ralston, artist Ruth Asawa, politician Hiram Johnson and scientist Ernest O Lawrence, and even actor Edward G Robinson Jr.

These resting places offer a unique glimpse into the past-from traditional designs to modern innovations like columbariums-and are definitely worth checking out if you’re passing through Oakland!

Next on our list are different historical landmarks in Oakland, CA.

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