Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Temple Mizpah, 1923

1615 W. Morse,  Former Temple Mizpah
The former Temple Mizpah is a remnant from the neighborhood when it was home to a number of Jewish congregations.  In fact, Reform Judaism originated in Rogers Park, and this building was one of its first permanent expressions. Most of the temples have been converted into churches, and this one is no exception.  It's designed in the Byzantine style, with arched leaded glass windows which resemble tablets.  The brickwork is remarkable, but has seen better days.  And it doesn't look like the leaded glass windows are doing too well.

The building was designed by the firm of
Spitzer and Popkin, and constructed at a cost of $150,000, according to the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.

To the east of the building is  a large parking lot which had been intended to accommodate the main portion of the synagogue. For some reason only the community house was constructed.  Perhaps they intended to build it in phases but ran out of funding.  An illustration from 1922 shows how splendid it could have been.  The structure on the far right is the only one which was built. This does explain the odd termination on the east end of the facade.

Accessed through Google Books


  1. I lived across the street for years.. As the neighborhood changed it became home to a series of churches, including Korean Presbyterian, Haitian, and Spanish churches. There were three houses, then a small apartment building, and a Lutheran church and pastor's house a few doors west. The Lutheran church and parsonage were torn down for the grammar school.