by David Miller
Cincinnati, Ohio – I went to the Isaac M. Wise Temple at the corner of Eighth and Plum Streets in Cincinnati for my grandson’s bar mitzvah. While formal photos were being taken of the rest of the family, I peeked into every corner on every floor where a door was unlocked. Extraordinary is that everything has been so beautifully cared for and pampered over since its construction.
All the below descriptions are from the web page https://www.wisetemple.org/about/our-history/history-of-plum-street-temple/ .
The building is used nearly every week for Sabbath services, programs lifecycle events, and other religious functions.
The Plum Street Temple was dedicated on Friday, August 24, 1866. As a daily paper writes at the time, “Cincinnati never before has seen so much grandeur pressed into so small a space.”
The building has been carefully preserved, with original flooring, pews and pulpit furnishings all still in use. Its chandeliers and candelabra, formerly gaslight, are now electrical, but still the original fixtures. The original pipe organ, a unique historical instrument built by the Cincinnati firm Koehnken and Company, is still in place and was restored as the Rockwern Organ in 2005.
Designated a national historic landmark and placed on the Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places in 1975, it was recognized then as a “splendid and exotic building.” A restoration in 1994-1995 gave a renewed sense of vitality and sparkle to the building, which looks much the same now as when it was built over 130 years ago.
Here are the photos I took that day and below is a video published by the Wise Temple that will tell you more about the history of the building and its people.