AKA: Congregation Bikur Cholem, Central District, Seattle, WA; City of Seattle, Parks and Recreation Department, Langston Hughes Center for the Performing Arts, Central District, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - performing arts centers; built works - religious structures - synagogues

Designers: Priteca, B. Marcus, Architect (firm); Streeter/Gorasht, Architects (firm); Isadore Mervin Gorasht (architect); Barnet Marcus Priteca (architect); Melvin Edward Streeter (architect)

Dates: constructed 1909-1915

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104 17th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98144-2107

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The Chevra Bikur Cholim temple first met in 1889, and incorporated two years later, making it the earliest Jewish congregation in the State of WA.

Building History

This was third home of the Chevra Bikur Cholim Temple in Seattle, WA. First services were held in the Red Man's Hall located at the intersection of Seneca Street and 2nd Avenue in 1889. Its first place of worship was located in a repurposed dwelling at 14th Avenue and Washington Street in Seattle. The group outgrew this small setting, and it secured property at 13th Avenue and Washington Street on which to build a new temple, completed in 1898. By 1909, an influx of Jews from various parts of the world swelled the synagogue's numbers, requiring another new home. Prominent Jewish architect B. Marcus Priteca (1889-1971), who would become renowned for movie theatres designed up and down the West Coast before World War II, was commissioned to design this new facility. By 1910, the temple congregation used the building for five years in an unfinished state, before its final completion in 1915.

Seattle architect and historian, Miriam Sutermeister has noted of the Chevra Bikur Cholim Synagogue #3: "Emblematic of synagogue architecture at the time, this was heavily indebted to Touro Synagogue, New Orleans, Louisiana," by Emil Weil. (See Miriam Sutermeister, "B. Marcus Priteca," in Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed., Shaping Seattle Architecture, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994, p. 184.) Construction on the Touro Synagogue ended in 1908 and the building was dedicated on 01/01/1909.

The congregation sold the building in 1969 to City of Seattle, although it continued to use it for various events until 1971. It became the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center in about 1972, named for the renowned poet of the Harlem Renaissance.

Building Notes

Registered as a City of Seattle Landmark.

Tel: 206.684.4757 (2011).


The firm of Streeter/Gorasht supervised a renovation of the building into a performing arts center in 1970, at a time when older buildings were being rehabilitated routinely for new uses.

Seattle Historic Landmark: ID n/a

PCAD id: 3227