Save The Old Santa Rosa Chapel in Cambria !

Save The Old Santa Rosa Chapel in Cambria !

From Brynn Albanese

The Little Chapel on the Hill... Forty years ago the Community brought the Chapel back to life. The Covid-19 Pandemic has closed the Chapel and curtailed all funding sources. Help us revitalize Old Santa Rosa Chapel!

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For over 150 years the Old Santa Rosa Chapel has overlooked the historic East Village of Cambria, California. Originally built in 1870 the Chapel was named for St. Rose of Lima and its’ construction was funded by local dinner-dances.

The Chapel served the Catholic congregation for ninety-three years. In the early 1960’s a new church was built in the West Village of Cambria, and eventually the Chapel on the Hill was slated for demolition. The Native Daughters of the Golden West came forward and saved the Chapel. However, both the Chapel and the adjacent Cemetery fell into sad disrepair and were occupied by vagrants and vandalized. 

In 1978 Clementine Nunes Newman organized a committee of local pioneer families to restore and revitalize the Chapel and Cemetery. It was renamed the Old Santa Rosa Chapel and Cemetery and major work begun. Once again Cambrians came forward offering their time, skills, and funds toward the renovation of the Chapel and adjoining Cemetery. 

The Chapel was recognized as a historical edifice and was placed on the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historical Places. 

Since 1984 the Chapel has served as a venue for the community’s weddings, vow renewals, baptisms, christenings, memorials, funerals, historical lectures, and music concerts. The popular annual Strings at the Chapel Christmas Concert has been sold out year after year and is currently under the umbrella of Cambria Concerts Unplugged run by Founder/Artistic Director Brynn Albanese. Beginning each each for the past two years, there are concerts in the Chapel one Sunday a month at 4pm until November. Please visit for more information.

This year is different. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced closure of the Chapel since early March and all our sources of fundraising including the much-loved Christmas Concert have come to an abrupt halt. Donations from our events provided for ongoing maintenance, repair, and restoration of the Chapel, adjacent grounds, Caretaker’s residence, and out-buildings.

We realize that many organizations find themselves in similar straits. We are asking you for help and support to preserve this historical structure and site, and assist us in insuring this unique venue is available to all for many years to come. 

The Old Santa Rosa Chapel and Cemetery Committee is a 501c-3 non-profit corporation and all donations are 100% tax deductible. Any donation is much appreciated and can make a difference as we struggle to continue our service to the Cambria community and it many visitors.

Visitors Comments:

Weddings: “A rare gem! The Chapel is truly one of the most magical places I have ever been in. It holds so much history and is so well cared for. I love going for the Christmas Concerts … the ambience from all of the candlelight is gorgeous and sets the tone. I was lucky enough to have my wedding there and it was such an amazing day!

Memorials: “The Chapel provided a lovely setting to honor my mother.”

Historical Lectures: “What a fabulous history our little town has, thank you for this series of informative and entertaining lectures.”

Cambria Concerts Unplugged: “Listening to music in this unique structure is an experience. It’s acoustic splendor is a marvel to say the least!”

Donation suggestions: 

$50 - $500 General Maintenance Fund

$200 - Monthly delivery of irrigation water                                             

$3,000 - Replace arch window casement above the                 Chapel’s main doors

$2,000 - $2,500 each - Replace wooden window frames,              restore locks & pulley systems in the eight Chapel windows

$2,000 - $5,000 – Plant Native drought resistant landscaping                in the yard adjacent to the Chapel 

$2,000 – Nurture and maintain oak and ornamental pear trees throughout the site

$20,000 - $35,000 - Replace decking of Caretaker residence, portable toilet facility, and storage shed. 

Examples of Rotted Wood:


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