All Souls Parish was founded as a mission of St. Mark’s Church, Berkeley, in 1906. The real property, on which the church now stands, was given to St. Mark’s by Louise W. B. Kellogg, widow of Martin Kellogg, who was acting president of University of California from 1890 to 1893, and president from 1893 to 1899. A “Chapter House” was build on the west side of the property (about where the north end of present chapel is situated), and the Sunday School, which had been held in parishioners’ homes north of campus, was moved into the new building. On Easter (April 15) 1906, the Reverend W. R. H. Hodgkin, who was curate at St. Mark’s and had been delegated to assist with the Sunday School, was installed as vicar of All Souls’ Chapel. Three days later the great San Francisco earthquake made many San Franciscans homeless and caused a rapid growth of the City of Berkeley (and other areas in the East Bay) as refugees from San Francisco moved across the bay to established new homes. The small Chapter House was not large enough to accommodate all of the newcomers, and the All Souls’ Chapel (“the old church”) was quickly built.
The current church building was constructed in 1956, designed by architect Robert Ratcliff. It is a modern interpretation of typical northern California and especially North Berkeley architecture, emphasizing the traditional use of wood. The architect emphasized that the building should fit gently into its neighborhood, and that its materials should be natural and unadorned (concrete, unfinished wood, glass, and tile). It is, by these standards, a gem of its time.