Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

May 15, 2013

Temple Beth-El ready for some facade work

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Temple Beth-El, the unique onion-domed former Jewish temple on 15th Street in Corsicana, is undergoing a facelift.

The 115-year-old building is getting a new facade, removing laminates and composition shingles, putting on new  plywood sheathing, under flashing and ice and water shields.

“It’s primarily the facade and onion domes,” explained Corsicana Parks Director Sharla Allen. “We’re going to hopefully work our way around the entire building. The facade is Phase I.”

The stained glass windows are still in place, although they’re covered with a protective layer of plywood while the woodwork frames are being replaced.

The work is being done by Cheyenne General Contracting out of Palmer.

Temple Beth-El closed as a congregation in 1980 and was turned over to the city around 1990. The building can be rented out for various functions. Once a month, a local rabbi conducts a Jewish service which attracts the faithful from Fairfield, Red Oak and other communities.

Babbette Samuels is one of only a handful of Jewish residents left in Corsicana.

“We love it dearly. We take an interest when something’s wrong,” she said of the temple. The community got grants and raised money just a few years ago to have the stained glass taken out, strengthened and cleaned and put back.

Moorish Revival synagogues are rare now, and those that are still standing tend to be in disrepair.

“Corsicana is preserving history,” Samuels said. “They do a really good job.”



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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com