1889 Synagogue – Bloomington, IL

Off Market / Archived
Posted March 2019. This home has been archived on OHD. The sold status is unknown.
Added to OHD on 3/5/19   -   Last OHD Update: 5/1/19   -   23 Comments
315 N Prairie St, Bloomington, IL 61701

Map: Street

  • $125,000
  • 2 Bed
  • 1.5 Bath
  • 2812 Sq Ft
Beautiful historic temple near downtown Bloomington. Originally built as a synagogue and later converted to a residence. Currently zoned B-2 with an S-4 historic overlay. First floor contains a large open room with vaulted ceilings and a half bathroom. Hardwood floors, original woodwork and magnificent stained glass windows. Lower level includes 2 bedrooms, living area, kitchen, full bathroom and laundry room. Small fenced courtyard. So many possibilities!
Last Active Agent
Dawn Peters, Keller Williams Realty
(309) 834-3400 / 309-445-3668
Links, Photos & Additional Info
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23 Comments on 1889 Synagogue – Bloomington, IL

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  1. Kelly, OHD adminKelly, OHD admin says: 10360 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Link to 2014 article about what the owner was going to do with it.

  2. Kelly, OHD adminKelly, OHD admin says: 10360 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    I said above why I called it a church.

  3. AvatarMarcia Wilwerding says: 6 comments

    I was born about a mile from this place! I passed it many times growing up. It is very close to downtown. Brings back memories. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. RosewaterRosewater says: 4561 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Italianate cottage
    Noblesville, IN

    19th century American Synagogues are SUPER DUPER rare; and this one is OMG – wow – just beyond cool. Temple Gemiluth Chessed in Port Gibson MS is my favorite, but this one – wow. Love the intimacy of it. I hear the cantor in my head now. Nice. 


  5. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4718 comments

    Amazingly intact late 1880’s Jewish Synagogue/”Church” here. I know exactly which Synagogue Jeff is talking about in tiny Port Gibson, MS and it too dates from about the same time period as this one. There’s also a super rare surviving Moorish Revival synagogue/temple in Corsicana, Texas from the 1890’s with onion domes now in use as a community center: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Beth-El_%28Corsicana,_Texas%29 Churches and Synagogues are difficult to repurpose as residences but they do often function well as offices and or as secular community gathering places. I’ve even heard of a few former houses of worship being reused as restaurants but the main thing is to preserve them as a part of the local history. Sadly, most of the Jewish populations who once lived in smaller towns, especially across the South, have long moved on to larger population centers leaving the old cemeteries and shuttered Synagogues behind. This old sanctuary looks like it was built to last for centuries and it has, so it will be up to the next owners to take it forward in time. I love those stained glass windows which because of the Jewish dislike of graven images appear to feature geometrical patterns rather than religious figures as seen in Christian church windows.

    • AvatarAParker says: 5 comments


      Yes, churches, temples can be converted to restaurants among other things. Thought you might like to see our local favorite Freemason Abbey. Beautifully restored & a beloved landmark in Norfolk, Va!

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 4561 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        So do old stores. This one was run as a hardware store in my family for 80 years until it was sold and became a bierstube back in the late 90’s.
        http://www.gersthausevansville.com/ I liked it better as a VERY old style hardware store, but it’s still pretty cool as a pub..

    • AvatarDaveZ says: 15 comments

      John, I was recently in Port Gibson and the synagogue is now a Messianic congregation. Hopefully that one will be with us for another 150 years.

      • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4718 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1889 Eastlake Cottage
        Fort Worth, TX

        Thanks for sharing that information, Dave. That Gimiluth Chessed has even survived since 1892 is itself a minor miracle. Port Gibson seems to be barely hanging on these days. I’m glad you can contribute your preservation talents in Mississippi. There’s a fair number of important Mississippi homes that need TLC as soon as possible. Smaller towns are especially critical in their needs as far as I know. Erin and Ben Napier with their HOMETOWN HGTV show have helped Laurel immensely. More folks like them are needed in smaller towns across the country.

  6. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 4718 comments

    Thanks for sharing an excellent example of repurposing a former Church. The adaptation was done tastefully and it preserves the historic structure as well as providing diners with a unique restaurant setting. It will take creativity to adapt this former synagogue in a way that respects its history yet also provides a useful purpose for it to continue standing. Architecturally, it’s a rare blending of Moorish Revival style and Victorian era decorative arts within a Jewish house of worship. Let’s hope the next owner(s) can find a long term suitable use for the structure.

    • AvatarRon G says: 167 comments

      John, I agree with your Moorish style comment which might indicate the designer was influenced by middle eastern architecture. Although the exterior design of Synagogues was less important then the interior design. Unlike the Catholic faith, their churches tended to be some of the most elaborate designs of all the religious groups. Churches built prior to the nineteenth century were easily identifiable by the faith. Beginning shortly after the turn of the twentieth century almost all churches being built took on the style of the surrounding architecture.

  7. AvatarKhris says: 1 comments

    Love, love, love this building!

  8. RosewaterRosewater says: 4561 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Italianate cottage
    Noblesville, IN

    Brings a pang of regret to see some of these old places popping back up still unsold after years on the market. This one is such a do-able size, and seemingly in pretty good shape; it really is a surprise to see it still unsold.

  9. Avatarddbacker says: 384 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1971 Uninspired split-level
    Prairie Village, KS

    The onion dome alone is enough to rescue this place. Too bad it doesn’t have a congregation, like so many other churches and synagogues across the country.

  10. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 10360 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Back on the market, moved to front page, comments above may be older.

  11. AvatarMJG says: 528 comments

    I bet you a paint sample analysis on the interior of this building would expose some pretty beautiful stencil work in reds, golds, silvers, greens and browns. I’ve seen so many of these types of buildings with such elaborate interior stenciling when built. Mostly painted white now but some have begun to be restored.

  12. BethsterBethster says: 805 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1927 Spanish
    NY (house is in VA), NY

    What fantastically divine windows! Sad to see it is still on the market….

  13. AvatarRay Unseitig says: 174 comments

    Nice Church: Looks like Indiana Lime stone: I can get wholesale for a good cause: If only for our annual Seder, front door open, come on in Groucho Marx Presiding. “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

  14. AvatarBen says: 2 comments

    I hope this is allowed…This is my assessment of the property after visiting it, in case anyone else on here were interested…

    I went and took a look at this building on Friday. It’s awesome…but there are a few issues. First for the goods…The building, for the most part is in great shape. It looks like the mortar was set last week. I saw no sign of foundation issues. The floors were in great shape. I actually liked the little 2BR unit in the basement. The unit was pretty clean, didn’t smell musty, had normal height ceilings (I found this odd…I was expecting 7′ basement ceilings) and it had a lot of space. A friend and I were interested in it as a possible business venture (coffee shop, cafe, etc)….and I still think, that with the right recipe, someone could put a great business in this building and show off its history. And it’s only a block away from a fairly vibrant downtown.

    1) Building needs. There either was a leak, or is a leak in the roof. You can see some of the damage on the ceiling/wall on what would be the front of the building, or the back of the congregation. Also, the outside of the windows would need to be re-painted soon…but this is more of a maintenance item.
    2) Parking – There is only parking on the street. The parking lot to the right belongs to the Masonic Lodge next door. So, if someone were to use this for a business, there would need to be some sort of agreement worked out.
    3)Commerce – There is a huge building, less than a block away, that formerly was State Farm’s headquarters, that is now empty. If that building, the main employer in the area, were full…

    Anyway, the building is also 45-60min away from me, so it just doesn’t make sense for me, at the moment. But I still think it’s interesting, nonetheless.

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