Community Post

CD History: Temple de Hirsch

I’m sure you’ve walked past the synagog at 15th & Union and noticed the four old columns standing there by themselves.  I’ve always wondered what that corner must have looked like back when those columns actually supported a building. 


This week I got a peek at it on the endlessly cool Vintage Seattle site:

Photo courtesy Deran Ludd and Vintage Seattle

A commenter there says the temple was built in 1908 and torn down in the early 70s due structural issues.

We’ve got a number of very cool old temples that still survive in the neighorhood, but this was by far the most ornate. Too bad it isn’t still around.


0 thoughts on “CD History: Temple de Hirsch

  1. An update on the Vintage Seattle site indicates that the old temple was razed in 1993. That seems about right from my memory. An interesting part of the story is that David Brewster and others tried mightily to save the building for use as Seattle’s “town hall”. It was a beautiful building with a reputation for excellent acoustics. Don’t know if old “Seattle Weekly” issues are archived electronically, but if so, there should be quite a bit of information about Brewster’s ultimately unsuccessful fight to prevent the destruction of the building. Of course, another religious building did become what we now call Town Hall. Your post reminds me of what an opportunity for our neighborhood’s vitality was lost. Also, reminds me that Washington Performance Hall, at 14th and E. Fir, with similar potential (and similar challenges to preservation) is threatened.

  2. 1993 sounds right. I have some of the bricks from the synagogue demolition, and I moved here in 1990. I bought the bricks two or three years later when they were tearig it down and loading the bricks into a truck to dispose of them.

  3. I hate to see the beautiful old buildings torn down. Usually the replacements aren’t nearly as beautiful and all that history is lost. I felt I was too late to post a comment on the development going in on Cherry where the thread ran to many comments mourning the loss of Deano’s and other old brick buildings, so here I am. Having bought one of these old (1929) brick buildings at 21st & E Union in 1999, I feel compelled to point out that the deferred and on-going maintenance costs an f-ing fortune. We just had one (1!) wall tuckpointed and I almost fainted at the bids. I see how few developers can afford to rehab the old buildings – history, beauty or not. So please come on down to Central Cinema, Mind & Body Pilates/Yoga studio, Reel Grrls (no, it’s not porno, it’s a non-profit working to build self-esteem in teenage girls thru story-telling and media), and 2020 Cycle to support an old brick building and your local businesses. And I sincerely hope that like the CDRealEstateGuy I’m not too shameless here.

  4. Tuckpointing is grinding out the old, deteriorated mortar between the bricks and replacing it with new. Srsly labor-intensive.

  5. My good dog, Sam, and I walk around the CD a lot. You’d be amazed at how many Temples/Synagogues are now churches. I think the Islamic Day School even occupies an old Jewish site. The CD was home yo the Orthodox community that now resides in Seward Park.