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Branches of Baltimore History

Four Historic Baltimore Synagogue Buildings

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Lloyd Street Synagogue B’nai Israel Synagogue Madison Avenue Temple Eutaw Place Temple

The Lloyd Street Synagogue stands just off Corned Beef Row in Old Town, Baltimore. Founded in 1830, the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation worshiped in an apartment above a grocery store until 1845 when the Robert Cary Long, Jr. designed building at Lloyd and Watson Streets was completed. The third oldest synagogue in America, the subtle Greek Revival style structure served its founding membership for 45 years. In 1890 the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation moved to the Madison Avenue Temple. Lloyd Street was subsequently occupied by two Catholic and two Jewish congregations until 1963 when it was abandoned. The Jewish Museum of Maryland purchased the noble structure shortly thereafter, restoring the synagogue as a shrine. The basement contains traditional matzoh oven and a ritual bath, while the interior and exterior represent the building’s historic aesthetic.

Next door to the Lloyd Street building is the beautiful B’nai Israel Synagogue. Designed by Henry Berge and dedicated in 1875, the Victorian Gothic style structure contains detailed facade stonework. Berge, the father of sculptor Edward Berge, was a master stonecutter and apparently a very talented architect. Dedicated in 1875 as the Chizuk Amuno Synagogue, the building was purchased in 1895 by the Russian/Polish B’nai Israel Congregation. The group still occupies the synagogue today. The Jewish Museum of Maryland was built on the lot between the Lloyd Street and B’nai Israel synagogues.

When the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation moved out of the Lloyd Street Synagogue (1890) they relocated to the Madison Avenue Temple in Bolton Hill. Deigned by Baltimore architect Charles L. Carson, the building is Byzantine in style and features a massive dome and two parallel octagonal towers. Carson also designed the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church next to the Washington Monument. In 1951 the Berea Temple of Seventh Day Adventists purchased the temple when the BHC moved to their current location on Park Heights Avenue.

Just south of the Madison Avenue Temple is Joseph Evans Sperry’s Eutaw Place Temple. Originally built for Temple Oheb Shalom, the Byzantine structure, decorated with Beaver Dam marble, was completed in 1892. When the congregation moved out in 1960, the Price Hall Masonic Lodge purchased the Bolton Hill property. Dedicated in 1907, the Francis Scott Key Monument stands directly in front of the temple. The fountain memorial depicts Francis Scott Key on a small boat offering his patriotic poem to a golden statue of Columbia.

Written by monumentcity

February 23rd, 2011 at 8:37 am