Details for Temple Beth El (Atlas Number 5355012997)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5355012997

Data

Marker Number 12997
Atlas Number 5355012997
Marker Title Temple Beth El
Index Entry Temple Beth El
Address 1315 Craig Street
City Corpus Christi
County Nueces
UTM Zone 14
UTM Easting 656769
UTM Northing 3074680
Subject Codes eccesiastical buildings; Jewish topics; Mediterranean (architectural style)
Marker Year 2003
Designations Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location Craig and 11th streets
Marker Size 27" x 42"
Marker Text Jewish settlers came to Corpus Christi shortly after the city's founding in 1852. Several became prominent business owners and community leaders. In the 1870s, the Jewish community formed a Hebrew Benevolent Society. In 1912, they formed a congregation, which included both Orthodox and Reform families. Services were held irregularly in various places until 1928, when the congregation officially organized and elected officers, and purchased this site. In 1936, the congregation, called Temple Beth El, hired architect Dexter Hamon to design this synagogue. Hamon chose the Spanish Colonial Revival style for the synagogue, which today is a rare example of a Jewish congregational structure built in the style. In 1950, architect Morris Levy added classrooms, an auditorium and other facilities. Hamon's design exhibits Spanish and Mediterranean influences, including two domed towers with iron balconies, red tile roofs, courtyard, arched porticos and an arched motif on the main façade, with stone tablets at the center. A Star of David is centered on the wide arched stone entry. In 1942, Temple Beth El's Orthodox members organized a new congregation called Shomre Emunah, or "Keepers of the Faith." The Reform congregation continued to worship in this building under the leadership of Rabbi Sidney A. Wolf until 1982, when it moved to a new site on Saratoga Boulevard. The two groups maintained close ties through the years. Various groups, including a local Montessori school, used the building, which remains a Corpus Christi landmark. In 1991, the Metropolitan Community Church of Corpus Christi purchased it and once again used it as a house of worship. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2003