Congregation Emanu-El (San Francisco)

KorbenDallas

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During the Gold Rush in 1849, a small group of Jews held the first High Holy Days services on the west coast of the United States in San Francisco. This group of traders and merchants founded Congregation Emanu-El sometime in 1850, and its charter was issued in April, 1851.
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For the building specifically:
  • Who was the architect?
  • How long did it take to build it?
  • What did the inside look like? (any pictures?)
  • What material was it made of?
What are the wires on these domes for, and what is the purpose of the top mounted balls?

Architecture Style:
FYI: the building was destroyed during the 1906 earthquake... but...it stood the great earthquake of 1865 and 1868

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Congregation Emanu-El today
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Thank you.
 

jd755

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The building in your picture is the second church cornerstone laid 1864
Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco, 160+ Years of Service – JMAW – Jewish Museum of the American West

Congregation Emanu-El

For a time after the two pioneer Jewish Congregations of the West, Congregation Emanu-El and Congregation Sherith Israel of San Francisco, were founded as one synagogue in 1851, both used rented quarters
.

In the summer of 1854 both completed their first synagogue buildings.
But it was not until Congregation Emanu-El finished its second temple in 1866, that San Francisco had a truly grand synagogue structure.

Sutter Street Location
Located on the north side of Sutter Street between Powell and Stockton, the property for it was purchased for $15,000 from Benjamin Davidson, who represented the English branch of the Rothschilds.


The cornerstone was laid in 1864.

Addresses delivered by the Congregation’s President Louis Sachs, architect William Patton and Rabbi Elkan Cohn.
When the temple was nearing completion in 1865, one Jewish journalist rhapsodized: “When our gaze is met by the rich and gigantic proportions of this sacred structure, with its commanding towers in their elevated position as spiritual sentinels, it appears to proclaim, ‘Children of Israel, gather within the walls of this temple and worship the Lord.'”


The “Sutter Street Temple,” as it was popularly called, was dedicated on March 23, 1866, with elaborate ceremonies.
The new Synagogue was widely praised as the handsomest religious building in California and one of the most beautiful Synagogues in the world.

Its twin towers rose to 175 feet and were conspicuous features of the San Francisco skyline.

It cost $175,000 to build and seated over 1,300.

One commentator observed that the new structure, “reflects the greatest credit upon the taste and liberality of the Jews of San Francisco, and is a monument all may take just pride in.”

From here Congregation Emanu-El

During the Gold Rush in 1849, a small group of Jews held the first High Holy Days services on the west coast of the United States in San Francisco. This group of traders and merchants founded Congregation Emanu-El sometime in 1850, and its charter was issued in April, 1851. The 16 signatories were mostly German Jews from Bavaria.

Bavarian Jews buying land off of English Rothschilds in a young city full of 'other faiths' 'other nationalities' and Freemasons all there because of a 'lucky strike', pull the other one!
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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So, they built it in under two years 1864-1865. Go figure. I'm wondering whether we could build the exact same structure within the same time frame today.

William Patton
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1821-1899
Résumé: Apprentice, Architect's office in northeast England, c. 1835. His obituary stated in 1899: "When a boy he entered an architect's office and served his apprenticeship." (See "The Reaper claims a Pioneer Architect," San Francisco Call, vol. 85, no. 175, 05/24/1899, p. 10.)

Principal, William Patton, Architect, San Francisco, CA, fl. 1869-1883. Patton occupied an office at 622 Clay Street in 1869 and 405 California Street in 1877. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1869, p. 676, and San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1877, p. 465.) In 1883, Patton maintained his practice at 411 1/2 California Street in San Francisco. (See the San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1883, p. 1106.)

The 1st Unitarian Church, SF
Mr. Patton, also (allegedly) designed this 1st Unitarian Church of San Francisco. It does not even have its own Wiki page, at least I did not find any.

Constructed 1862-1864. How about that speed?

This Gothic Revival Style building served its congregation from 01/1864 until 1889. The 1st Unitarian Church #2 was demolished. The City of Paris Department Store replaced it at this location, which, itself was replaced by Johnson/Burgee's controversial Neiman-Marcus Department Store of 1981-1982.

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KD: So, what's the opinion on speed of construction there?

Related: Testimony of William Patton in ref. to the City Hall building in SF.
 

0harris0

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KD: So, what's the opinion on speed of construction there?
insane!! I've worked in construction and demolition... the planning and coordination behind large construction projects, then finding and hiring the skilled folks in, let alone the materials required; who's gonna produce them? and then we have their storage on site, everything running to schedule etc... and then, who's paying for it all?!! I've never seen a construction project finishing on time, and they run on pretty flexible schedules to allow for lateness/ set backs!

I wonder if these architects oversaw any of the site management, or any of the building phases.. it's likely he would have been on hand in case of trouble, but not neccesarily on site, or involved in the construction. either way 2 years surely seems like they would have been rushing and cutting corners just to complete the projects!
 

whitewave

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And for it to only stay up for 35 years seems like a huge waste of time, effort, and money. For a new country in the middle of a war the history on this building is completely unbelievable.
 

jd755

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And for it to only stay up for 35 years seems like a huge waste of time, effort, and money. For a new country in the middle of a war the history on this building is completely unbelievable.
Be fair it survived three earthquakes but not the fire of 1906 all that shaking must have had a detrimental effect on it and the burning sealed its fate.
 

whitewave

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Be fair it survived three earthquakes but not the fire of 1906 all that shaking must have had a detrimental effect on it and the burning sealed its fate.
I just add it to the many bits of elaborate and expensive architecture that only managed to survive less than 50 years before encountering calamity. There are quite a few. Quite. A. Few. This one was built during the Civil War. How nice that they were able to take a break from slaughtering their fellow countrymen to crank out a sumptuous edifice. Burning does seem to be the method of choice for destroying architecture.

Yes, 3 earthquakes is enough to weaken any structure. How hot does a fire have to be to burn stone? I suppose it would depend on the type of stone.
 

jd755

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I just add it to the many bits of elaborate and expensive architecture that only managed to survive less than 50 years before encountering calamity. There are quite a few. Quite. A. Few. This one was built during the Civil War. How nice that they were able to take a break from slaughtering their fellow countrymen to crank out a sumptuous edifice. Burning does seem to be the method of choice for destroying architecture.

Yes, 3 earthquakes is enough to weaken any structure. How hot does a fire have to be to burn stone? I suppose it would depend on the type of stone.
It was made of brick which was rendered to look like stone. Intense fire makes bricks brittle. Firebricks especially made to withstand the heat of a coal fire crack and crumble eventually. Firebricks in huge coal/oil/gas fired boilers last around two years before they have to be replaced. How the Chinese temple, also made of brick, survived the 1906 event and is still there today is of interest.
From my examination of the 'grander' structures in San Francisco in the 1800's brick was replacing wood quite early on but in a piecemeal fashion. Rendered brick is a far cheaper and far quicker building technique that using stone. Ergo most of what looks like stone during that time actually isn't.

Here is most likely why it stood up to the earthquake, it had a granite foundation. Why it stood up to the fire can only be to me at least, is the New England source of the bricks fired theirs at a higher temperature than others and probably they are engineering bricks not commons, but that is just my guess. Certainly looking at the modern pictures and the lack of render in all pictures they were high quality, high fired bricks.

From here Old St. Mary’s Cathedral-Holy Family Chinese Mission, San Francisco
Old St. Mary’s was the first cathedral built in California. The cornerstone was laid in July 1853, just three years after California became a state. The foundation was made of granite quarried and cut in China, and the bricks for the structure were made in New England and brought around Cape Horn as ships’ ballast.

The spectacular new cathedral was completed and dedicated in 1854 at Christmas Midnight Mass.
A major earthquake destroyed much of San Francisco on April 18, 1906, but Old St. Mary’s stood undamaged. However, a fire resulting from the earthquake raged out of control and raced toward the old cathedral. When the smoke cleared, the entire area had been destroyed, except for Old St. Mary’s which stood gutted but otherwise undaunted amidst the surrounding ruin.
 
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KorbenDallas

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Intense fire makes brick melt, it does not collapse multiple city blocks made of brick. May be all the dynamite they allegedly used to put the fires out collapsed them.

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  • Built by engineer Konstantin Zverev in the 1870s, Fort Zverev now lies in ruins, with machine gun mounts, bunkers, and water tubes slowly rusting away.
  • But the part of Fort Zverev that feels truly nightmarish lies in the basement area, where in the 1970s, a fire erupted. However this wasn’t just any fire.
  • In this basement they stored a Russian alternative to napalm, and when it caught fire it reached temperatures of over 2000С, so hot in fact, that it literally melted the brick above it. In doing so it created a sort of artificial cave of red brick stalactites dripping down from above.
  • The Melted Bricks of Fort Zverev, in Russia
  • The Russian fortress that MELTED after fire broke out igniting napalm
  • Fort Zverev
As far as what was made with brick, and what was not, we will probably never find out. 1871 Chicago burned down due to allegedly being made of wood.

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Mostly wooden buildings were also destroyed by the Seattle fire of 1889. These "wooden" buildings will get leveled.

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1866 Portland fire... mostly wooden structures were destroyed...

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May be we should stop trying to plausibly explain a clearly exiting pattern of brick and mortar cities getting destroyed. May be we should start asking questions, like why are people smiling, when their city is getting destroyed by a fiery "earthquake".

1906 San Francisco
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jd755

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Not looking for plausibility just evidence.
I have touched the vitrified surface of stones, shaped and not shaped, at Vindolanda and can only compare them to the slag that came out of the local blast furnaces and is used locally to build garden walls that simply don't weather but the Vindolanda stones are more glass like. Only one surface is vitrified the others are plain old weathered stone.
I have crumbled bricks that have come out of an oil fired steam boiler after two seasons use. I know engineering bricks react very differently to heat than commons, the house I live in has engineering as the outer layer and commons as the inner. They also weather way better than the commons which is why common are usually rendered.

If my experience doesn't fit with the theory then what am i supposed to do keep quiet?

Keeping on topic these two churches both made of different types of bricks one with a granite foundation one with who knows what foundation survived the 1906 earthquake. The photographs are evidence of this.
The church in the op was rendered brick and it could not be saved. The chinese temple was and is engineering brick and was able to be salvaged.
What caused the fire is of intense interest to me at this point.

Have you perused the aftermath of the earthquake picture to find any melted bricks?
How does a wood fire reach 2000 degrees?

Looks to me like the lady is smiling with relief because they have just found or been reunited with the lady holding her head. Cannot get to the source as its on Pinterest which hangs for me but here's the link anyway.


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Rendered commons for sure.

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Source
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Well well well, its amazing what turns up when digging. Turns out it cannot have been built of commons or not as badly affected by the fire as it appears in the images above and was not torn down in 1906/07
Here it is in 1909
Elevated view northeast over Union Square from St. Francis Hotel. Crowds assembled for Portola Festival. Grandstand set up in empty lot at northeast corner Powell & Post, former Trinity Church site. Temple Emanu-El in background showing post-earthquake changes to steeples.

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Still there in 1912
View east on Sutter toward Powell, Rebuilt Temple Emanu-El at left.

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Still there in 1920
Temple Emanu-El (Now location of 450 Sutter medical building) at left,

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Jim Duyer

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During the Gold Rush in 1849, a small group of Jews held the first High Holy Days services on the west coast of the United States in San Francisco. This group of traders and merchants founded Congregation Emanu-El sometime in 1850, and its charter was issued in April, 1851.
For the building specifically:
  • Who was the architect?
  • How long did it take to build it?
  • What did the inside look like? (any pictures?)
  • What material was it made of?
What are the wires on these domes for, and what is the purpose of the top mounted balls?

Architecture Style:
FYI: the building was destroyed during the 1906 earthquake... but...it stood the great earthquake of 1865 and 1868

View attachment 18459

Congregation Emanu-El today
View attachment 18460

Thank you.
Those domes in the first picture are most definitely Arabic or Middle Eastern Persian but absolutely not Jewish styling, who prefer the rounded type domes. Perhaps they took over a building constructed by Persians? That would be bizarre, even for California.
 

RecycledSoul

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Those contractors back in the day must have been fearing the huge “liquidated damages” clause to get those buildings up so quick. ;)

If Persian design, could the Phoenicians have constructed it?
 

Jim Duyer

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Those contractors back in the day must have been fearing the huge “liquidated damages” clause to get those buildings up so quick. ;)

If Persian design, could the Phoenicians have constructed it?
Most likely a group of Celts, with a Scythian along on the crew. Or perhaps one of the holdovers from the Yamnaya people or the Altai Mountain people, all of whom would have recognized that design from Persian influence. We would be talking about 800 BC or so if that were the case. (Using the mainstream timeline)
 

jd755

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Never did dig into the possibility of finding out the nationalities of the Jews who paid for that temple. Given the number of nationalities in San Francisco tis likely a mixture so probably a fruitless exercise.
However the design of the steeples seems to be popular with Jewish communities. For example this one in Tipton, Montana Source
Perhaps its a standard basic design for Emanu-El temples with financing/craftsmen/material availability that influences the physical result
temple emanu-el tipton s.jpg
who knows.
 

Jim Duyer

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Never did dig into the possibility of finding out the nationalities of the Jews who paid for that temple. Given the number of nationalities in San Francisco tis likely a mixture so probably a fruitless exercise.
However the design of the steeples seems to be popular with Jewish communities. For example this one in Tipton, Montana Source
Perhaps its a standard basic design for Emanu-El temples with financing/craftsmen/material availability that influences the physical result View attachment 21744who knows.
If they were European Jews, they could have been from the Askenazi branch of Judaism. These Askenazi Jews originally came from the Khazar kingdom, an empire in the north Caucasus region between Europe and Asia lasting from the 7th century to the 11th century whose leaders adopted Judaism. That would explain both the influence and the cultural choices of temple style. The Khazar region is part of what this site refers to as the Tartara people that disappeared from the history books.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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Do we have at least one jewish congregation today running the domes in question. That Tipton, Montana one does not have the domes any longer. But the domeless towers are still there. Pretty sure I have seen similar domeless towers elsewhere. On mosques maybe?

Do we have a pattern of those domes getting removed? If we do, then why are they getting removed?
 

jd755

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From here, missed it completely first time round.
Twas a building erected by German born Jews.
Temple Emanu-El was the wealthier of two original Jewish congregations, representing the German-born Jews in early San Francisco.

On Rosh Hashana of 1849 the young merchant Lewis Abraham Franklin's storage tent on Jackson Street became the site of the first Jewish service held in San Francisco. However, the first synagogue would not be established for five more years.

A rift between those of German and Polish background marked a breakdown within the small Jewish community. The establishment of two separate synagogues in 1854 - Emanu-El for the German Jews, and Sherith Israel helped solidify the division that would last well into the 20th century. The German Jews brought to America their European cultural bias against Eastern European Jews as inferior and considered themselves the "aristocrats of the emigres."

The Temple Emanu-El congregation of 260 mostly German Jews soon moved into a newly built large and elegant synagogue on 450 Sutter St. in 1864. Dr. Julius Eckman, an active pro-Union supporter during the Civil War and ironically a Polish Jew, was the first rabbi to preside over the elite congregation.


Found one in Budapest Budapest Dohany street Great Synagogue - the largest synagogue in Europe
Perhaps the domes on the Tipton temple wore out as likely they were built on a wooden frame as those in San Francisco seemed to be although they burnt out most likely. Or possibly the expertise in building them had priced itself out of the market by the time replacements were required. Not a clue really but without their domes they look like any other denominations twin steeple building like for example Notre Dam.
budapest.jpg
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And then there's this History of Jews in San Francisco | American Jerusalem


American Jerusalem: Jews and the Making of San Francisco is the epic story of the pioneering Jews of San Francisco, their rise to prominence, and how, freed from discrimination, they reinvented themselves as a distinctly new kind of Jew: they weren't just American Jews—they were San Francisco Jews.


In 1848 San Francisco was a remote seaside village, with little more than 500 non-Indians living there. Then James Marshall discovered gold on the American River, 120 miles east. Tens of thousands of prospectors flooded into California from around the country and the world. Thousands of Jews were among the newcomers, some born in the United States, but many more immigrants who had fled persecution in Central Europe. Like everyone else making the difficult journey to California, Jews sought riches—but they also hungered for something more: the opportunity to shape a new life for their families and their people.


In San Francisco they found their Promised Land. In the middle of the 19th century, San Francisco’s infrastructure and institutions were not yet built. Therefore, and in stark contrast to cities elsewhere in America, where Jews had to fit into an existing power structure, many Jewish pioneers built those institutions, becoming prominent merchants, politicians, and civic leaders.


By 1870 the city was a thriving metropolis of 150,000, of which more than 10% were Jews—the largest Jewish population outside of New York City. By day Jewish and non-Jewish businessmen cut backroom deals; by night they would occasionally socialize with one another.


How did the most successful of these rural Jews from Germany transform themselves almost overnight from poor peddlers to merchant princes? American Jerusalem traces these pioneers' remarkable journey from Germany to the Gold Rush and up to the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, an epic world's fair held after the city had rebounded from the 1906 earthquake. During the Gold Rush, San Francisco accepted Jews as just another part of white society, and as a result Jews integrated into and had a greater impact on the building and defining of this city than anywhere else in America, or the world. For the first time in American Jewish history, the ultimate outsiders, the Jews, became insiders.
 
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KorbenDallas

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Wondering if Notre Dame de Paris had these same domes originally.

84A95DCD-99B9-4F85-9F90-C51CB2857DA5.jpeg
 
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