Architects: Willoughby J. and Frank F. Edbrooke
Architectural Style: Victorian with Moorish and Romanesque Features
Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Year Built: 1882, 1887
The temple is a beautiful structure constructed of hard-pressed brick with buttresses, stone trimmings, as well as a stone and concrete foundation. The corner tower is 90 feet tall topped with a golden ball and the auditorium can seat 500. The altar is made of polished walnut while Hebrew characters are written in gold over the shrine.
The temple was a dominant feature for the neighborhood and it symbolized a spiritual significance. It was the first major Jewish synagogue in the Denver area, and it was built for $20,000.00. The board specified that the temple should have 150 pews, one vestry room, school rooms, a choir gallery, and a basement.
Restoration and Reuse
On November 5, 1887 a fire almost destroyed the temple auditorium and contents with only the lower floor remaining. Rebuilding took place in 1902 for $70,000.00. The reconstruction reflects the original design with only minor changes.
Willoughby E. Edbrooke was a nationally prominent architect born in 1843. He was one of nine children. His first practice was in Chicago in partnership with F. Pierce Burnham. Together they designed the Georgia State Capitol, buildings for the University of Notre Dame, and the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. When he moved to Washington DC he was the supervising architect of the Treasury Dept. and initiated the design of over 40 buildings. He was the first Temple Emanuel architect. He was Frank Edbrooke’s brother. Willoughby’s son worked with Frank.
Frank F. Edbrooke was born in 1840 and was one of nine children. He served in the Civil War. Frank was greatly influenced by his father who was a major architect in Chicago after the fire of 1871. He came to Denver to supervise the building of the Tabor Block and the Tabor Opera House. After completing these buildings he remained in Denver and became the city’s premier architect. Some of his more notable designs were the Oxford and Brown Hotels, West HS, Central Presbyterian Church, the Denver Dry and Joslins Dept. Stores and the Cranmer House. He was the architect for Temple Emanuel after the fire.He was a founding member of the Colorado AIA.
National Register of Historic Places Inventory Form, September 1974; www.historycolorado.org/sites; www.emanueldenver.org/about/temple-and-history.