Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Berkeley Ward Chapel Interior

The window blinds were drawn for General Conference, so it was a bit dark, and I unfortunately didn’t have my tripod. As a result, the picture is a little grainier than I would like, but it’s a magnificent chapel. And the low light adds to the rustic feel from the exposed wooden trusses.

1501 Walnut St
Berkeley, CA
Built 1934
Architect: Theodore G Ruegg
Click for Map Location of Building

6 responses

  1. Th.


    I love the lighting in this photo, actually.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    • Yes, the low light is quite nice. Reminds me of Maybeck’s Church of Christ Scientist there in Berkeley as well – built in 1928, just a few years prior to this one. Maybeck’s building seats more (around 700), but has exposed wood structure and low light levels inside as well. I should look into this closer, but it appears that there was probably some influence from Maybeck in this building.

      June 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      • Actually, the Sunday School addition to Maybeck’s church was in 1928 – the original church was built in 1910.

        June 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm

  2. Jim W.

    The window blinds are recent — last 10 years or so. Even with the blinds open, the yellowish glass in the windows does not exactly bathe the chapel in light, so the chapel is always on the dark side. The theater seats on the stand and for the choir are not original but I believe they have always been theater seats. Only the backs of the pews are visible in this picture, but the hardwood pews are original as well. About 20 years ago cushions were attached to the seats of all pews. There are carpets on the stand and in all aisles, but it is a finished hardwood floor under the pews. The back of the chapel has what appears to be a wall but the wall can be lowered for overflow into the cultural hall. (If properly greased, the wall doesn’t squeak when lowered while the Sacrament is passed.)

    The pipe organ was built by Austin in 1938 and remains in good condition. In the 1930s my grandfather painted Pullman trains for a living. He was not a member but he was responsible for some or all of the stenciling framing the slight alcove at the front of the chapel.

    June 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    • Thanks for all the great background information, Jim. The picture tomorrow is of the back of the chapel, showing the wood panel you have described.

      June 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  3. I love this picture. It’s so warm and inviting.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

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