Judiciary Square in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum
Civil War to Civil Rights
—Downtown Heritage Trail —
“The neighborhood was our whole life.”
This is the oldest surviving synagogue building in Washington. Constructed in 1875 by Adas Israel Congregation, and originally located at Sixth and G Streets, it served the German-Jewish immigrant shopkeepers in the neighborhood. Albert Small, a member of the congregation, grew up on Fifth Street and recalled that as a boy, “the neighborhood was our whole life [and] the synagogue was the focal point. We went to school at Seaton [Elementary], and we took our music lessons in St. Mary’s across the street from our house. We used to help in the family store two blocks away.”
When the congregation outgrew this sanctuary in 1906, a Greek Orthodox church and later a carry-out restaurant occupied the building. Threatened with demolition in 1969, the building was moved to its present location and restored as a museum bearing the name of its benefactors Lillian and Albert Small.
This historic synagogue symbolizes the rich immigrant history of the eastern section of Washington’s downtown. Beginning with the Irish and German craftsmen who arrived in the early 19th century to work on the government buildings, the area has been a
The legacy of the neighborhood’s immigrant history surrounds you. Holy Rosary Catholic Church (founded about 1913 near its present site at Third and F Streets) served the surrounding Italian community. It still celebrates Mass in Italian. St. Mary’s Catholic Church (established in 1846), at Fifth and H Streets, founded by Germans, today holds Mass in Latin and Cantonese. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (founded in 1794), and still located on its original site on Tenth Street between F and G, was established to serve Irish immigrants. And three former synagogues, on or near I Street, are now Baptist or African Methodist Episcopal churches serving African American congregations.
The Civil War (1861 - 1865) transformed Washington, DC from a muddy backwater to a center of national power. Ever since, the city has been at the heart of the continuing struggle to realize fully the ideas for which the war was fought. The 25 signs that mark this trail follow the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglas, and others, famous and humble, who shaped a nation and its capital city while living and working in historic downtown DC. Civil War to Civil Rights Downtown
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number e.8.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil War to Civil Rights marker series.
Location. 38° 53.905′ N, 77° 0.905′ W. Marker is in Judiciary Square, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of G Street, NW and 3rd Street, NW, on the left when traveling east on G Street, NW. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 701 3rd St., NW, Washington DC 20001, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Original Adas Israel Synagogue (a few steps from this marker); On This Corner ... (a few steps from this marker); Cristoforo Colombo (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Discover DC / Judiciary Square Victims of Communism Memorial, (approx. 0.2 miles away); National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); The National Building Museum (approx. 0.2 miles away); U.S. Reservation 196 (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Judiciary Square.
More about this marker. This marker was renumbered from e.4 to e.8 when the marker system expanded.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. (Submitted on April 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Our Lady of China. (Submitted on April 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
3. Adas Israel, Washington, DC. (Submitted on April 14, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
4. Wikipedia entry for the Washington Hebrew Congregation. (Submitted on April 14, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Categories. • African Americans • Asian Americans • Churches & Religion • Notable Buildings • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 10, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,300 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 7, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5. submitted on April 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 6. submitted on June 7, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 7, 8. submitted on April 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 9. submitted on April 14, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 10, 11. submitted on April 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.