Jewish settlers arrived in southeast Arkansas early in the nineteenth century. Invariably, as in McGehee, the congregations were small and initially met in their homes or in other buildings before they were able to raise sufficient funds to acquire a site and construct a temple. This temple was designed by the congregation’s building committee after they visited other towns to inspect their buildings; Sam Wolchansky, a local merchant and member of the congregation, supervised construction. The buff brick building has Romanesque styling with a round-arched entrance set into the plain buff brick facade. On each side of the double-door entrance is a stained glass window, and above it is a tablet with the Ten Commandments. The facade is finished with a rounded gable, and simple pilasters mark the corners and rise above the line of the gable roof. The temple was designed to serve residents of neighboring towns as well as those of McGehee.
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Temple Meir Chayim
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