Several years ago, our firm volunteered to work with Save Austin Cemeteries to document and show potential new uses for the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel. This tiny gothic jewel was designed by Charles Page who, in 1914, donated his services for both the design and construction supervision. The Chapel restoration is currently included in the City’s master plan for its historic cemeteries.
The history and importance of this building have been very well researched and documented thanks to outstanding efforts by the volunteers at Save Austin Cemeteries. Their webpage on the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel offers some great information. I became fascinated with the building when I found out that the Chapel was built as a municipal building. There are very few religious buildings in this country that are owned by government entities, even fewer that were built for them.
So when I came across the Austin Downtown Diary’s Best Of 2015 list, an image of the Chapel caught my eye. Reading the post from the author’s October visit to the historic cemetery, I noticed another familiar image. The knowledgeable and informed guide referred to in the blogpost was none other than historian Danny Camacho. I knew Danny for his work to support many East Austin institutions, including Metz Elementary. Sadly, Danny passed away suddenly last week. Danny was helping the school with its centennial year celebrations, as the original school was dedicated in 1916. The Metz 100 celebration on May 14th will offer a remembrance to Danny and his family’s contributions to Metz’s history.
Oakwood Cemetery, 1601 Navasota St, Austin, Texas