One of Buffalo’s earliest synagogues is for sale. The stunning Temple Beth El at 155 Richmond Avenue has a $449,000 asking price and is being listed by Hunt Commercial’s Christopher J. Malachowski.
From the listing:
Magnificent church for sale in the Elmwood District, near Allentown and Symphony Circle. May be converted to apartment or kept as large gathering space. On site parking. Many classic features still remain. Property in good condition.
A Brief History of Temple Beth El – The First Jewish Synagogue
An excerpt from “Houses of Worship: A Guide to the Religious Architecture of Buffalo, New York,” by James Napora. Master of Architecture Thesis.
The first Jewish congregation in Buffalo, and the first one between New York City and Chicago, was founded at a meeting of twelve men on May 9, 1847.
With many of the original members no longer active, changes began to occur within the congregation. In 1880 the first English sermon was preached and by the end of the century, men and women were allowed to sit together in the same pews. In 1906, under the leadership of Charles Polakoff, the search for a new location commenced. Polakoff had suggested that the new building be located on the west side of the city. But the majority of the congregation lived on the East Side and insisted that the new building be kept within walking distance of the old one.
On May 10, 1910 the congregation held their final service in the Elm Street synagogue. While the new building was being constructed, they met in the home of Joseph Saperston at 179 Fargo and then in a hall on Grant at Ferry. They broke ground on March 24, 1910, and on July 24 Joseph Saperston placed the cornerstone. They dedicated their $100,000 house of worship on September 10, 1911. The architect was Howard Osgood Holland.
The brick building, with its copper dome, is a familiar landmark on Richmond Avenue. A broad flight of stairs leads to the main entrance doors, the lintels of which feature symbols of the Jewish faith. The auditorium is capped by a dome with an art glass skylight in its center.
The congregation worshipped in the building until the changing demographics of the congregation forced them to consider a new location. In December 1960, anticipating the move to their new site on Eggert Road at Sheridan, they ended Friday evening services. They celebrated their final service on Richmond Avenue on October 9, 1966.
From the Buffalo Architecture and History website.
The site is currently owned by the Greater Emmanuel Temple Church.
Get Connected: Christopher J. Malachowski, Hunt Commercial, 716.880.1914