The small Frankel Memorial Chapel built in 1905 has collapsed. Long-time Broken Sidewalk contributor Diane Deaton-Street pointed out the tragic news and has shared a few photos of the aftermath. Designed in the eclectic style, the chapel sits in the back of the Temple Brith Sholom Cemetery section of the larger Adath Israel Cemetery on Preston Street south of Eastern Parkway, Kentucky’s oldest extant Jewish cemetery, but the identity of the architect remains uncertain.
The collapse occurred on July 25 when cemetery maintenance workers were attempting to remove the decaying roof for repair, which had been deteriorating for many years. It looks like what was left of the interior is a complete loss, but the roof and stone pieces have been stacked on site. No word yet as to the future of the chapel.
Adath Israel Cemetery is marked by a gatehouse dating to 1876 and a stone chapel built in 1890 designed by the Louisville firm Maury & Dodd at its entrance on Preston Street. The site was laid out in 1876 based on a scaled-back design by noted cemetery architect Benjamin Grove (the original plan can be viewed in the cemetery caretakers office). The Frankel Memorial Chapel was named after 19th century industrialist Henry U. Frankel who owned the Manufacturer’s & Railway Supply company once located at 151 Third Street, Delsola Therese Frankel, and Abraham Frankel. More information (and photos) on the Frankel Memorial Chapel from the National Register:
It is a one-story stone building with a stone facade which projects above the gabled roof and extends beyond the sides of the building. This facade is stepped and crowned with a large arch pierced by three rectangular openings. A pedimented porch with hipped tile roof is supported by Tuscan columns. The chapel roof is also tile and three windows are located on each side. The gabled chancel projects from the rear wall, and contains half timbering.
Let me respectfully add a corrective on some data in the text of the main story above. There are three historical buildings on the grounds of The Temple Cemetery. Seen from the Preston Hwy entrance are the gingerbread gabled Gatehouse probably designed by Benjamin Grove in the earliest years of the cemetery (ca. 1876) and the Cemetery Chapel with gothic tower known to be designed by the firm of Maury and Dodd, ca. 1890; the third is the Frankel memorial chapel dedicated in 1905 but for which the designer remains uncertain.
The two designers of choice by the affluent establishment of the Jewish community at the time would have been Kenneth McDonald (of the firm McDonald & Sheblessy in 1905) and William J. Dodd (just splitting from a partnership with Arthur Cobb in 1905 and likely free lancing until partnering with McDonald in 1906). Both men had done previous commissions for several of the Jewish congregations and residence of many members. McDonald and Sheblessy would design the new Adath Israel temple on 3rd street downtown in 1905-06.
And one must not ignore a possible design contribution by Alfred Joseph, a member of Adath Israel congregation and the senior draftsman for McDonald and Sheblessy and later the chief staff architect for McDonald and Dodd.
All three designers worked in the eclectic mix of styles that were current at the turn of the century. The romantic and orientalist touches in the Frankel chapel give it some of its strange beauty and were a part of the design language of all three designers mentioned above.
1981 NRHP nomination form, authored by M.A. Allgeier and certified by Mary Aronson Appel
1991 Letter to Norman Berry & Associates, Inc. authored by Leslee F. Keys, Division Director, Environmental and Community Development Department, Historic Preservation, Jefferson County.
1995 The Synagogues of Kentucky by Lee Shai Weissbach, University of Kentucky Press. Lexington.
Thanks for the added history, C.T.! I moved the reference to Maury & Dodd down to where the other two buildings are mentioned per your note. All three structures in the cemetery are absolutely beautiful, and hopefully this chapel will see better days ahead.