You are here

Temple Beth-El

-A A +A
1927, Carl von Seutter and Malcolm G. Simons; 1947 renovations and addition, N. Straus Nayfach; 2003 renovation and addition, Marmon Mok. 211 Belknap St.

In a city dominated by the presence of the Catholic Church in the form of its Spanish colonial missions, it is perhaps appropriate to find a spectacular synagogue designed using decidedly Spanish architectural decoration. New York City architect Albert S. Gottlieb served as a consultant to Seutter and Simons; the latter was a member of the temple congregation. The massing of the building combines a staged rectilinear mass surmounted by a low dome covered in terra-cotta tiles. The terra-cotta cornice line of the entrance facade has an unusual cresting of shells, a favorite Spanish motif. The interior of the temple is spacious and simply detailed, with the great dome supported on pendentives and the walls clad in marble up to the spring line of the arches.

Renovations in 1983 included the addition of the Barshop Auditorium. In 2003 the twenty-seven-foot-square domed Dreeben Family Pavilion, designed by Marmon Mok, was connected to the main temple with a limestone west wall in emulation of Jerusalem's Western Wall and sited to face Jerusalem. Placed on its interior north and south glass walls are wooden images of the Tree of Life and the seven branches of the Menorah.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Temple Beth-El", [San Antonio, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 173-173.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.