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Moses Montefiore Synagogue, Bloomington, Illinois

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Don’t let anyone tell you that smaller cities in America are boring! After eating lunch at a great “farm to table” place downtown, I began wandering around the streets to the east of Bloomington’s center. I spotted this building, and was intrigued; what was it? Then I spotted the Star of David and Hebrew script, and I knew I had discovered an old synagogue.

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And wow, what an amazing building! Originally the Moses Montefiore Synagogue, it is now for sale, having been converted to a residence.

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It is a strange, and wonderful mix of Romanesque, Baroque and even Moorish decorative motifs and architecture. Designed by George H. Miller, and opened in 1889, it reflects its congregation’s German roots.

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The stonework has held up well over the years.

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The onion domes show the influence of central and eastern European Baroque architecture.

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The interesting finials perhaps show the influence of Moorish architecture.

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The windows are both Romanesque and Moorish in influence at the same time.

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The cornerstones list the Jewish date and other dedications.

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4 Comments

  1. Just breathlessly beautiful. Have you ever thought of putting together a book on old underused, transformed, or converted smalltown synagogues nationwide? There’s a beauty in Columbus, GA. They’re unique gems.

  2. What is the meaning/significance of the sorta swirly features at the base of the spire above the tablets?

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