“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Houston in Harris County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Temple Beth Israel

Temple Beth Israel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, January 27, 2013
1. Temple Beth Israel Marker
Inscription. Congregation Beth Israel is the oldest Jewish congregation in Texas. Early Jewish families that settled in the area formed the Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1844, under the leadership of Lewis Levy. By 1854, seventeen adults organized themselves into the Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel, and the congregation received a state charter in 1859. Members first met in a small room on Austin Street between Texas and Prairie, but later moved to a frame building on Labranch Street. The congregation’s first permanent synagogue was dedicated on Crawford Street in 1874. A larger synagogue followed in 1908, but waves of immigration, the oil boom and the deepening of the ship channel brought explosive growth to the congregation, and the need for another, larger building became urgent. The new synagogue, located at the corner of Holman and Austin Streets, was designed by congregation member and noted architect Joseph Finger. When the temple was dedicated in 1925, the Houston Chronicle called it “the finest house of worship of its kind in the entire south.”

The temple’s architecture combines traditional classical and near eastern elements, such as large columns and entablatures, in a stylized art moderne style. The brick and limestone building’s square plan and high facades enhance its monumental scale.

In 1969,
Temple Beth Israel image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, January 27, 2013
2. Temple Beth Israel
the congregation moved to a new site in southwest Houston and transferred the property to the Houston Independent School District. The facility served as the first home of Houston’s High School for the Visual and Performing Arts before it was passed to Houston Community College in the early 1980s.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2008
Marker is property of the State of Texas

Erected 2008 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 14339.)
Location. 29° 44.243′ N, 95° 22.512′ W. Marker is in Houston, Texas, in Harris County. Marker is at the intersection of Austin Street and Holman Street, on the right when traveling west on Austin Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3517 Austin Street, Houston TX 77004, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Houston Light Guard (approx. 0.2 miles away); Trinity Episcopal Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Courtlandt Place (approx. 0.6 miles away); James L. Autry House (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Waldo Mansion (approx. 0.6 miles away); League of United Latin American Citizens, Council 60
Temple Beth Israel Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, January 27, 2013
3. Temple Beth Israel Plaque
(approx. 0.7 miles away); Houston Fire Station No. 7 (approx. 0.7 miles away); Benjamin Apartments (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Houston.
Regarding Temple Beth Israel. Congregation Beth Israel now meets at their temple at 5600 North Braeswood
Also see . . .  Congregation Beth Israel. (Submitted on January 31, 2013.)
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicChurches & Religion
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 30, 2013, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. This page has been viewed 410 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 30, 2013, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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