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Columbus Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church

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Temple Israel, Congregation Adeth Israel
1885, Louis Weissbein and Jones. 600 Columbus Ave.
  • (Photograph by Terageorge, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Built for Boston's first Reform congregation, the monumental red brick temple at the corner of Columbus and Northampton avenues was once the city's largest synagogue. A leader in progressive Judaism, its membership of assimilated German Jews later created the Federation of Jewish Charities (today Combined Jewish Philanthropies; see FD11). The eclectic variant of Romanesque Revival was then considered appropriate for a synagogue, similar to contemporary synagogue architecture in the immigrants' country of origin. Comparing the present building with a late-nineteenth-century engraving shows the original conceived by Bavarian architect Louis Weissbein as an essentially vertical structure with soaring twin spire towers. Emphasis on white stone stringcourses and lintels has resulted in an almost squat horizontal edifice. A trace of the once grand synagogue remains in the Star of David encased in a central tondo above the portal of today's church.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan



  • 1885

  • 1903

    AME Church assumes ownership

What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Columbus Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 143-144.

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