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Congregation Children of Israel Synagogue

Address:  525 Telfair Street

Owner: Augusta-Richmond County

History and Significance:

This is the oldest building constructed in the state of Georgia as a synagogue.  It is an excellent example of  the Greek Revival temple style and is located in the Augusta Downtown Historic District.  The synagogue itself was found in 1845 and the building was dedicated on October 28, 1869.   The cornerstone was laid by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of organized Reform Judaism in America.  Rabbi Wise also gave the dedicatory address.  The Augusta Chronicle ran a story about the seventieth anniversary celebration with a photograph of the monumental and elegant building.  There service was conducted by Rabbi Louis A. Josephson and City Solicitor George Hains brought “greetings from the community” and was introduced by congregational president Harry Steine. The article closed by saying that in 1939, “The synagogue, one of the oldest in American… had been in existence continuously for 94 years”.

Threat: Development pressure, future vacancy

Potential Uses:  Meeting facility, community center

Preservation Tools: (1); A contributing resource in the Augusta Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is therefore eligible for all programs of the National Register which include available grant funds and tax incentives for certified rehabilitations; (2) located in the Downtown Augusta Historic District which means that any alteration to the exterior, including demolition, should be approved by the  Augusta Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission