Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why did architect build the synanogue like this?

Temple De Hirsch decided to move the site of their synagogue rather abruptly.  They already had the start of a building (just the first floor) at Marion and Boylston just above the downtown.  In 1907, they had enough money to go above the first floor.  But they realized that their current plan would not be big enough.  Plus they could sell that site for a profit and move up Capitol Hill to 15th and East Pike.  I think the Schumacher family owned land around there, not sure.

So they commissioned E. F. Everett as the architect and within a year, the synagogue was done.

So how do I describe this building.  I am not an architect.  Where did he get this design?  I'm looking at pictures in synagogue architecture books and I'm not seeing much that looks like this.  Believe it or not, the one the comes close is Mishkan Israel (New Haven) and Ados Israel built in 1897 and 1898 by noted synagogue architect Arnold Brunner.

This was just before Brunner decided to go Classical and build big synagogues that look like Roman temples.

This style also looks like early eastern European synagogues.

In the paperwork around the landmark status, the building is described as neoclassic.  That author felt that the interior looked like iconic Touro synagogue in Rhode Island.  Maybe the interior but, to my untrained eye, it doesn't look the same to me at all.

E. F. Everett is a local architect, I've seen references to churches and schools and residences.  How would he know how to build a synagogue?  I don't think he would know about how synagogues in eastern Erurope looked.  He might not know of Brunner's work; why would he know about the Connecticut buildings?  There were no other big synagogues anywhere around.

OK, I have a theory.  I ran into some clip art from a University of South Florida site.

This kind of looks right.  The source they gave was

Bible symbols, or, The Bible in pictures : designed and arranged to stimulate a greater interest in the study of the Bible by both young and old
Frank Beard 1842-1905. Martha Van Marter 1839 @1904 

I think I can actually get this book through Summit Libraries.  He could have had this book.  1904.  Since he did churches having a source of Biblical images might be helpful.  He could have looked it up to get an idea of what a synagogue was supposed to look like.

What do you think?

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