June 5, 2019: A Pioneer Synagogue, Leadville

 

I don't think I've ever been to a synagogue built in a pioneer mining town during its heyday, before coming across this one in Leadville.

Temple Israel was built in Leadville during the summer of 1884 in less than two months. It's a small house of worship, 25 ft × 72 ft (7.6 m × 21.9 m) and was dedicated during Rosh Hashanah services that year.  The congregation of Jewish pioneers included a variety of members, many of them merchants and European immigrants.  The building was actively used in its early years, but as the mining dwindled so did the town's population, and the building was no longer used as a synagogue by 1914.

01 Leadville Synagogue

The synagogue was used for a variety of functions in the 20th century, including as a parsonage for the Episcopalians, a radiator repair business, and a boarding house/apartment complex.  The Temple Israel Foundation bought the building in 1992 and, after a fire in 2006, restored the synagogue to its original condition.

02 Leadville Synagogue

The Temple Israel building now mainly functions as a museum dedicated to the history of pioneer Jews of Leadville. Besides the synagogue building, the Temple Israel Foundation also maintains the Leadville Hebrew Cemetery about 3/4 of a mile from the synagogue.

The building is open daily and admission is free. This is what the interior currently looks like.


1024px-TempleIsraelLeadvilleInterior. Courtesy Longled and Wikimedia
(Photo courtesy Longled and Wikimedia)

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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