Our History


Construction History

The Ladies Temple Association purchased the north half of the Temple lots from George Harpster for $2000 on April 18, 1898.  The Association assumed a $1500 mortgage and held a bazaar which raised $1000 in one week to apply to the mortgage.  The women's organization conveyed the deed for the land to the Temple Association on March 16, 1900.  The Temple Board of Trustees had hired George Reynolds to build the Temple for $5200.  The Temple was completed and dedicated in ceremonies conducted September 7, 1900.  The Temple was referred to as "The little Jewelbox" in the Pueblo papers of the time period and this name characterizes the feelings of the Pueblo community towards this small, but exquisite building.  The Pueblo Chieftain reported that the opera chairs and stained, leaded glass windows in Temple Emanuel were the first in a house of worship in Pueblo.  The vaulted ceiling, decorative molding, wooden theater seats, brass lighting fixtures, and surrounding stained glass windows enhance the expansive theatre-style interior space dedicated to the area of worship. 

Architectural Style

Temple Emanuel, a Reform Jewish house of worship, is located in an area rich in Victorian architecture in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Pueblo. Temple Emanuel is an interesting example of Queen Anne style architecture employing both classical and Richardsonian Romanesque detailing.  The building has had no exterior alteration since its construction in 1900.  The Queen Anne style is perhaps the most varied and richly decorative style of the Victorian period and Temple Emanuel employs a variety of forms, textures and colors in the use of rock-faced tan sandstone, red brick and patterned wood shingles.  The Syrian arch and decorative arch surround at the entrance are elements of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture.  This unusual sculpted shape provides great individuality to the dominant Queen Anne style. 

Early Jewish Community History

The Temple is the oldest Jewish house of worship in the Pueblo community.  Many of the Temple families are descendants of immigrants from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Russia who came to Pueblo between 1880 and 1913.  These early Jewish immigrants resided on Pueblo's east side along 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Streets.  The Pueblo 1870 census listed twelve Jewish families in the larger Pueblo community of 700 people.  High Holyday services were held on Union Avenue intil1895, when the Jewish population of about 40 to 50 families was large enough to organize its first Orthodox congregation, calling itself B'nai Jacob.  The Jewish population met as a united group for religious services until a portion of the community organized a Reform group.  The Reformed Judaism movement had been active in the United States since 1873.  The Ladies Temple Association, a Reform group, was organized by 1898 and became known as the Temple Emanuel congregation.