Here Before the City: Chapel of the Chimes and Its Connection to Hayward

Established in 1872 in Hayward, California, Chapel of the Chimes has been serving families for more than 145 years, making it older than the city itself.  

Even before the town was incorporated in 1876, there was a lot of activity in the area. The Ohlone Indians were the first inhabitants. Then in 1843, soldier and surveyor Guillermo Castro was granted almost 27,00 acres of land by the Mexican government, including present-day Castro Valley, Hayward and San Lorenzo. Castro called the area Rancho San Lorenzo and settled on the site of what would eventually be historic City Hall.  

In 1852, a failed prospector named William Hayward purchased several acres of Castro’s land and set up a small general store, which became a major stopping point for people headed from Oakland to San Jose. Eventually, Hayward expanded the business and established Hayward’s Hotel.   

The first great San Francisco earthquake happened in 1868, damaging almost every building in the Hayward area. However, the area continued to flourish. Fruit orchards, cattle ranches, stores and other businesses were thriving. In 1876 the town was officially named “Haywards” after the hotel, although the “s” was eventually dropped.  

Having been in Hayward since the beginning, Chapel of the Chimes has seen many changes. The city continued to grow, with a thriving economy built on agriculture and tourism. The bridge connecting it to the San Francisco peninsula was built in 1929, and in the 1930s, the city was home to rodeo cowboys and actors from Westerns.  

Before World War 2, Hayward was also home to a high concentration of Japanese Americans, who were held in internment camps during the war. However, the war brought a boom to the area because factories were opened to manufacture war materials. Staying after the end of the war, the workers contributed to a housing boom in the middle of the 20th century.  

Today, Hayward is a very diverse city with many different ethnicities and cultures represented. It’s the six-largest city in the Bay area and the third-largest in Alameda County.   

As the city has changed, Chapel of the Chimes Hayward has also changed to meet the needs of our community. We’re proud of our deep local roots and of the reputation we’ve built on quality, sincerity and trust. Come by for a tour of our meticulously maintained property or call 510.400.4442 to learn more about all we have to offer.

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