Structure Type: built works - religious structures - synagogues

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1886

2 stories

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Clay Street and 13th Street
Downtown, Oakland, CA 94612

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This second temple for the 1st Hebrew Congregation opened in 1886. The building had the appearance of a Gothic Revival building, having two towers flanking a main entry on the front facade. The arches above the windows had a Gothic point. The only "exotic," non-Gothic detail on the exterior seems to have been the onion domes topping the towers, suggesting, perhaps, the congregation's Russian or Eastern European roots. Utilizing familiar Gothic ornamentation and a common plan type, this Jewish congregation did not make a divergent architectural statement within the prevailing Christian community.

Building History

This temple operated from 1886 until 1895, at Clay and 13th Streets in what became Downtown Oakland. A Depression after 1893 forced the congregation to sell its property and move its second building to another location on the northwest corner of 12th and Castro Streets. The synagogue's real estate at Clay and 13th Street had become too valuable not to sell, as the city's central business district began to encircle it. The building reopened at its new location in 1896, and operated here until the third synagogue was built in 1914. (See Frederick Isaac, Jews of Oakland and Berkeley, [Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2009), p. 17.)


This second synagogue was razed. The building's second location stood on land later taken by Interstate 980.

PCAD id: 21928