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Temple Emanuel

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1952, Erich Mendelsohn; 1992 renovation. 1715 Fulton St.
  • (Photograph by Catherine Boland Erkkila)
  • (Photograph by Catherine Boland Erkkila)
  • (Photograph by Catherine Boland Erkkila)
  • (Photograph by Catherine Boland Erkkila)

One of the pioneer Reform congregations in the Midwest, the temple had occupied a churchlike building constructed by David Sprague Hopkins in 1882 at the corner of Fountain and Ransom (now in a much-altered form). German-born Mendelsohn, one of the great figures of modern architecture, who built synagogues in Cleveland, St. Paul, and St. Louis, designed this low, wide, brick and glass building with butterfly-wing roofs and an unusual sanctuary/social hall plan. Twin rooms, side by side, are separated by an electronically retractable wall, thereby doubling the space for holiday worshipers. The focal wall features a mural by Lucienne Bloch Dimitroff reflecting the festivals of the Jewish year. An inviting foyer contains a beautiful Tiffany window depicting Ruth and Boaz that graced the earlier building, and there is a well-designed school wing and gymnasium in the east half of the building. In 1992 a major renovation of the sanctuary and public spaces was undertaken.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Temple Emanuel", [Grand Rapids, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 260-260.

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