AKA: Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - synagogues

Designers: Allison and Allison, Architects (firm); Edelman, Abram M. Architect (firm); David Clark Allison (architect); George Boggs Allison (architect); Hugo Ballin (artist/muralist); Abram M. Edelman (architect); Samuel Tilden Norton (architect)

Dates: constructed 1929

3663 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2601

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Building History

Los Angeles architect Abram M. Edelman (1863-1941) was the son of Congregation B'nai B'rith's first rabbi, Abraham Wolf Edelman (1832-1907), who was also the first rabbi in Los Angeles. Abram M. Edelman also had designed the Congregation B'nai Brith's second temple downtown, at West 9th Street and South Hope Street.

Rabbi Edgar Magnin anticipated the city's development westward along Wilshire Boulevard when he decided to build the congregation's third temple in this still sparsely populated western region of the city in 1921-1922; an early version of the plan had been developed in January 1924 by Edelman and Barnett with the assistance of Norton and Wallis. Architect, S. Tilden Norton (1877-1959), removed himself as an architect in October 1925 so that he could serve on the congregation's supervisory building committee. The committee made alterations until mid-1927. Stylistic similarities have been noted between this congregation's temple and that of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco (see Gruber, American Synagogues, p. 62). Three of the Warner Brothers, Jack, Harry, and Abe, flush with the profits of the first sound motion picture, "The Jazz Singer," financed the decorative scheme, including the auditorium murals by Hugo Ballin.

This third synagogue for this congregation had a capacity of 1,800, when it opened for services on 02/15/1929. Its dedication occurred on 06/08/1929. Oliver Smith Studios of Bryn Athyn, PA, produced the stained glass windows, and the Kimball Company produced the huge 4,102-pipe organ in the auditorium. The UCLA physicist, Vernon O. Knudsen, tested the 100-foot-tall auditorium's acoustics.

David C. Allison was credited by architectural biographer, Henry F. Withey, as a "Consulting Architect" on the 100-foot dome of this project (p.190).

PCAD id: 996