The Oakwood Cemetery was established as a city cemetery in 1839. The Oakwood Cemetery Chapel was created 75 years later for funeral and memorial services on site. The cemetery is evidence of change, and over time the Chapel fell into disrepair. After an award winning cemetery vision plan was approved in 2015, bond money funded the historic building's restoration and preservation. The Chapel was completed in 2018.
The Oakwood Cemetery Chapel was constructed in 1914 by Austin architect, Charles Page. It sits within Oakwood Cemetery, which is a City of Austin Historic Landmark, a registered Historic Texas Cemetery, and a National Register of Historic Places site. In the subsequent 100+ years since its construction, the building has suffered from uneven foundation settlement and deferred maintenance. Under the 2012 GO Bond funding for Cemeteries, PARD completed a full rehabilitation of this historically significant structure.
During the rehabilitation of the Chapel, it was discovered that the Chapel had been constructed over grave sites. The City of Austin reached out to the community for their response, and worked with archaeologists to examine the site. The staff report includes a departmental recommendation to exhume, reinter and memorialize as many of the discovered burials as possible in close proximity to the Oakwood Chapel, each to be identified with individual grave markers.
There is an online program, All Together Here, that documents the entire process for the public.
The Oakwood Chapel was built in 1914 to host funerals and memorials for the public. When the Chapel was opened in 2019 for visitors, the Parks and Recreation Department held a series of community engagement meetings to determine the current use of the space. It was determined that the space have limited open hours in order to be able to host other private events. All events at the Chapel are relevant to the cemetery and Austin's history. Rentals and reservations are prioritized for funerals, memorials and remembrances which can occur on short notice. Our furnishings are minimal in order to be flexible for different types of events and setups. Our exhibits are in digital format in order to change on short notice to meet a family’s needs for a memorial. Our monitors can be used to show family photos and videos, or livestream the event to family members far away.
Please contact the staff with as much advance notice as possible in order to ensure availability.
See the interior of the Chapel in the Virtual Reality tour of "Historic Old Grounds" and Oakwood Cemetery Chapel:
- Cemetery Vision Plan
- City of Austin Cemetery Operations
- Museums & Cultural Programs Division