During the 1920s, a significant fraction of Detroit's Jewish population moved into neighborhoods in this section of the city. They left inexpensive and crowded housing nearer the city's center for the more spacious homes and apartments in this area. Numerous impressive synagogues were built just before the Depression, with Albert Kahn's Shaarey Zedek synagogue at Lawton and Chicago and this one being the outstanding examples.
This beautiful building reflects the faith of the first- and second-generation eastern European immigrants; their desire for an architecturally significant and uplifting synagogue, as well as their economic security. This is a Romanesque style building with a Byzantine flavor. The front facing Elmhurst is the most attractive feature. You see a projecting central bay with a large two-story arch framing an impressive triple entrance. You can see the tablet of laws engraved in stone along with other details. St. Mark's in Venice influenced this architect since he incorporated winged lions and Solomonic columns. Apparently, this congregation defaulted on this building during the Depression but was then able to reorganized themselves. They remained here until the 1950s when they moved to another impressive synagogue, this one located at 24350 Southfield Road in Southfield.
This synagogue is now the home of New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist. While the structural integrative of this appealing and very well maintained building is evident, the large neon signs with is huge illuminated digits displaying the time and temperature, detracts a bit.
Architect: John L. Popkin
Architectural style: Romanesque
Date of construction: 1928
Photo: Ren Farley; November, 2002
Use in 2002: Religious structure
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