1475 Water Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

1475 Water Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
1475 Water Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Temple Beth Israel
Reference Number:07000101
Location (Address):1475 Water Street
City/Village:Stevens Point
1475 Water Street, Stevens Point, Portage County
Architect: John Bukolt
Date of Construction: 1905

Beth Israel Congregation, incorporated in 1905, built this synagogue the same year. The Stevens Point Jewish community had its beginnings in 1873 and grew to about forty families after the immigration of Eastern European Jews beginning in the mid 1880s.

The synagogue served Jewish families from numerous communities in Central Wisconsin, primarily Stevens Point, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids, but also Fremont, Weyauwega, Pittsville, Adams, Waupaca, Friendship, and New London. The congregation grew to as many as 100 members between 1930 and 1960. Membership began to decline in the 1960s and in 1986 the congregation disbanded.

For a century and a quarter members of the Stevens Point Jewish community made significant contributions to the religious, social and commercial development of the Stevens Point area. More than 100 Jewish enterprises were active in Stevens Point. From 1930 to 1960 twenty to thirty Jewish businesses were located downtown Stevens Point. Members of Beth Israel Congregation were members of all the local service organizations, were civic leaders, founded the community chest, donated two parks to the city, and established the first Holiday Inn which transformed Stevens Point into a regional convention center.

Temple Beth Israel is a rectangular wood frame structure with pointed arch windows filled with frosted and colored glass. The sanctuary, remodeled in 1951, is largely intact, including Torah scrolls and other religious objects.

With its disbanding in 1986, Beth Israel Congregation deeded its synagogue to the Portage County Historical Society which operates it as a museum.

Period of Significance:1905-1956
Area of Significance:Social History
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Religion: Religious Facility
Architectural Style:Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Allen, W.H. - builder
Architect:Bukolt, John - architect
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:03/01/2007
State Register Listing Date:07/21/2006
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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