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Plum Street Temple (Cincinnati, Ohio)

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Plum Street Temple (Cincinnati, Ohio)

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Title: Plum Street Temple (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Author: MacKaron, Erissa, Photographer
Description: Cincinnati's first native architect, James Keys Wilson, designed this eclectic building. Wilson acted as the first president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1870. He was trained in New York with Martin E. Thompson and James E. Renwick whom he assisted in the designing of the Gothic Grace Church in Manhattan. His Gothic roots are seen in the temple's tri-partite facade, pointed arches and rose window. Overall, however, the temple is an example of the Moorish or Saracenic Revival that was particularly popular in the mid-nineteenth century. This Moorish style lends itself to several allusions. The great philosopher Maimonides was born in Moorish Spain. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the allusion to the Golden Age of Moorish Spain, a period when Jews lived peacefully with Christians and Muslims. The combination of Gothic and Moorish elements also serves this purpose. That the congregation the temple was intended for was the first Reformed sect west of the Allegheny Mountains and that they were German-Jews makes the Gothic element an important inclusion. The effect of the temple's architecture is also to allude to a Jewish identity. The church incorporates Islamic tendencies such as minarets, contrasting stone on the exterior, aniconic stenciling in the interior, Byzantine tendencies seen in the temple's thirteen domes (five in the nave and eight in the aisles and transepts). The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Bookmark: http://hdl.handle.net/2374.UC/26
Date: 1865-1866

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