Leadville, Colorado, from the late 1870s through the First World War and on deep into the 20th Century has developed as one of the best examples of a classic western American mining boom town. During its early glory days of gold and silver strikes Leadville could have stood as a prototypic movie set populated by the full range of remarkable western caricatures. Leadville's culture and commerce were quickly absorbed into the rapidly growing structure of America's industrial economy, supplying not just precious metals but also, ultimately, metals for the production of steel and other fundamental uses. Amongst the many groups of people attracted to the mine fields in the high Rockies was an eclectic sample of then recent Jewish immigrants. Representing all strata of society from mine owners and important merchants to itinerant laborers and tradespeople, they and their fellow pioneers made new lives for themselves and their families while contributing to America's evolving preeminence. It is to their memory that the Temple Israel Foundation is dedicated.
|Temple Israel during the 1890s.|
Courtesy of the Western History Collection,
Denver Public Library
The Temple Israel Foundation was incorporated in April, 1987, "to acquire, historically rehabilitate, and maintain" the Temple Israel building and to research the history of the Jewish community in Leadville as a whole without losing sight of the particulars of individual lives. In October, 1992, the Foundation purchased the Temple Israel building. On June 18, 1993, the Foundation was awarded title to Leadville's Hebrew Cemetery by the District Court. This action rejoined in ownership both parcels originally held by the Congregation Israel and expanded the mandate of the Foundation to include the restoration and maintenance of both properties. Having completed the restoration to its original (1884-1894) form in 2008, the Temple Israel building has been returned to use as a synagogue and museum commemorating the Jewish experience in the industrializing West. It is available for tours and special events by appointment. The Hebrew Cemetery, which is separate from the temple site, has benefited from more than a decade of volunteer efforts by several hundred individuals and has been reconsecrated and reopened for burials.
Temple Israel building: 201 West 4th Street, Leadville, CO.
Temple Israel Foundation: 208 West 8th Street, Leadville, CO 80461
firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 719-486-3625 Cell: 303-709-7050
William A. Korn, President
The Temple Israel Foundation was incorporated in the State of Colorado in April, 1987, and has been accorded Section 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service effective August 19, 1987.
This web site is the result of research into the history of the Jewish community in Leadville, Colorado. The investigations were begun to both satisfy curiosity and to provide the documentary support needed for grant applications as part of the Temple Israel restoration project. Through jewishleadville.org, the Foundation hopes to present the results of these efforts to those who may find some interest in them. Because the volunteers who perform the research are constrained by other obligations, it is likely that this will be a long term process and the site will grow apace.
The research has followed three paths with overlapping protagonists. Establishing the original condition and history of the Temple Israel building has been a necessary condition for the successful restoration of the structure. Properly documenting the Hebrew Cemetery has likewise been crucial to its revitalization. Additionally, the Foundation has received requests for genealogical information which has led to research in that area. The web site follows the three paths in its structure with areas dedicated to the Temple Israel, the Hebrew Cemetery, and to biographical and anecdotal data.
The Foundation is available to respond to questions and comments and it encourages inquiries into the legacy of Jewish Leadville.
HOME || BUILDING || CEMETERY || PEOPLE
Other sites with information about Jewish Colorado include the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Denver and jewishcolorado.org
For more information about Leadville and its history:
Leadville : History
FourteenerNet : History