Established in 1863, Mountain View Cemetery is situated in the foothills of Oakland, California. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same landscape architect that designed Central Park in New York City and much of the campuses at UC Berkeley and Standard University.
Mountain View Cemetery is as much a park as it is a burial ground. Tulips bloom in spring, children prowl the grounds in costumes on Halloween, lights twinkle at Christmas. Do they also have Easter egg hunts at Easter?
With Parisian style monuments and broad avenues, the park was designed to represent "the peace of nature, to which humanity's soul returns".
There are 24,000 graves in the 226-acre site, including many illustrious figures from Early California history, including politicians, business tycoons, industrialists - the list goes on.
Would that list also include some more recent California luminaries? Al Davis was born in Brooklyn, New York, but he chose to be interred in Oakland, California.
If you're traveling to Oakland to root for the Raiders, why not arrive a day early or leave a day late and take in the many sights the city has to offer.
Such as a significant final resting place ...
Chapel of the Chimes - adjoining Mountain View Cemetery, The Chapel of the Chimes mausoleum and columbarium is the final resting place of the God Father, a.k.a. Al Davis. He is interred right next to musician John Lee Hooker, who died the same year.
Millionaire's Row - other than Al Davis, dozens of other key figures from California history are buried at Mountain View Cemetery along a strip known as "Millionaire's Row". The grave sites offer sweeping views of San Francisco Bay.
Beautiful Views - The slopes at the top of the cemetery offer sweeping views of downtown Oakland, San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Marin County.
Sunset - Railroad tycoon Charles Crocker (1822 - 1888) is one of the illustrious figures buried on Millionaire's Row in Mountain View Cemetery. His site is among the most extravagant, and what a gorgeous spot to watch the sun set into San Francisco Bay!.
Location, Location, Location
Mountain View Cemetery is situated to top of Piedmont Avenue, one of Oakland's most interesting commercial strips.
The street has single family homes, apartment buildings, a school, a post office, a supermarket, and a bank.
Fenton's Creamery - put your diet on hold and have a Black 'n' Tan at this Oakland institution, which is famous for its decadent ice cream sundaes.
If you're feeling peckish, you'll also find a mouth-watering selection of appetizers, salads, and sandwiches.
Fenton's is just one of the many food and beverage outlets lining Piedmont Avenue, which include sidewalk cafes, coffee houses, bars, and pubs.
There are also several boutiques and a neighborhood theatre with a history dating back more than 100 years.
With the Kaiser Permanent Oakland Medical Center at one end of the street and Mountain View Cemetery at the other, it has been said that you can spend your entire life on Piedmont Avenue without ever having to leave.
You can be born at one end of the street and buried at the other.
How to Get There
From the Oakland Coliseum, take I-880 North. Continue on I-880 North to Oakland Avenue. Take exit 21A. Drive down Oakland Avenue. Take Monte Vista Avenue to Piedmont Avenue. Without traffic, the drive would take about 15 minutes.
The nearest BART stop is the MacArthur Street station. If you don't mind walking, you can hoof it in about 30 minutes.
By bus, take the AC Transit 12, 49, 51A, or 57 lines.
Where to Stay
There are several hotels and motels in the area. If you want to splurge, check out the Claremont Hotel and Spa. It's just a short drive from Piedmont Avenue - and a totally different world!
Mountain View Cemetary - 5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, California Telephone: (510) 652-2726.
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