SkyRose Chapel & Mausoleum
SkyRose Chapel is more than just a structure. It’s a challenging experience to put into words. Los Angeles’ most distinctive burial chapel provokes awe and inspires thought, from its hilltop location with a spectacular view of downtown Los Angeles to its soaring 70-foot clear cathedral ceiling and handcrafted Quimby pipe organ. By day, it’s a gleaming architectural beacon against the California sky. It’s a dazzling tribute to superb design and inventiveness at night.
The award-winning facility was built by Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice E. Fay Jones and collaborator Maurice Jennings to “nourish and communicate that all-important intangible of the human condition at its spiritual best.” Step inside the chapel, and it’s simple to see—and feel—how it accomplishes just that.
SkyRose Chapel was dedicated in 1997 as a statement of commitment and a gift to Whittier, the San Gabriel Valley, and the Greater Los Angeles region, following six years of painstaking research, planning, and construction. Every year, it accommodates over 1,000 memorial services and numerous public activities.
A BREATHTAKING SANCTUARY
Enter an ethereal nave through 12-foot doors. Enter the beautiful sanctuary encased in white wood through a constricted entrance over Kentucky blue stone flooring. The exposed structural features attract the eye upwards. A sweeping vista of the valley below adds to the space’s spaciousness and provides harmony between the building and its natural surroundings. The amazing edifice, which was thoughtfully designed and methodically built from wood, stone, metal, and glass, manages to be both organic and Gothic at the same time. Natural light warms the space during the day. Jones and Jennings’ skilled lighting design generates an ethereal glow inside and out after sunset.
QUIMBY PIPE ORGAN
The Quimby pipe organ is a marvel, with 3,937 pipes varying in length from 4 inches to 32 feet. It is located on the gallery level and provides texture and complexity to the space. Musically, it combines tuba, French horn, English horn, and basset horn sounds with chimes and harps. Jones and Jennings incorporated the organ into their architectural designs, employing science and engineering to enhance the instrument’s sound. The display pipe pedistals were also discussed with the architects.
The chapel’s lowest level contains a huge underground mausoleum with pathways named after the wood species used in its construction. It is Fay Jones’ first mausoleum and contains 1,000 crypts, a private sarcophagus, and high-end cremation niches.
A NOTABLE LOS ANGELES LOCATION
The chapel’s overall design is so striking that it has occasionally served as a Hollywood set. It can be seen in various moments in Vulcan by Star Trek enthusiasts. Similarly, True Blood viewers have identified it as the headquarters of the Fellowship of the Sun. The pipe organ was formerly played by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. James Taylor has performed in the chapel.
Rose Hills hosts public services for various groups at SkyRose Chapel throughout the year. The Candlelight Celebration of Life in December, the Double Ninth Festival Memorial Chanting in October, and the Ching Ming Amitabha Sutra Service in April are among them. Other free public events at SkyRose Chapel include a Memorial Day celebration, an annual memorial for members of the Buddhist community, a Vu Lan (Vietnamese) Chanting Service, and the Young Nak Memorial Service.
Next Point of Interest: Whittier Narrows Recreation Area