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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
Lloyd Street Synagogue
Inventory No.: B-20
Date Listed: 4/19/1978
Location: 11 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1845
Architect/Builder: Architect: Robert Cary Long, Jr.
Description: The Lloyd Street Synagogue is an American common bond brick building resting on a coarse stone foundation trimmed by a granite sill. The Greek Revival-style building features fluted Greek Doric columns supporting a portico, a low pitched roof, and trabeated windows. Of particular note is a round stained glass window with a Star of David design, said to be the first on any exterior in America. Seven stone steps lead to the shallow portico. Four granite piers extend out from the western façade, serving as bases for four fluted, plastered Doric columns which support a Doric pediment with guttae, triglyphs, and mutules. The lathed and plastered porch ceiling is coffered. The original central entrance is flanked by two smaller doorways added in 1860. Severe wood surrounds dignify all three doors. Each entrance holds a pair of four-panel, wooden doors and a four-panel, wooden transom surmounts the middle door. Narrow alleys flank the north and south façades, giving access to the basement. Five windows with doors at the westernmost bays fill each basement wall and are symmetrical with the trabeated windows above. Significance: Designed in the Greek Revival style by Robert Cary Long, Jr. and dedicated in 1845, this is the first synagogue erected in Maryland and the third oldest in the country, preceded only by the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island and Beth Elohim (1841) in Charleston, South Carolina. As the population shifted, the congregation dwindled and the building was put to other uses. It had a Lithuanian Roman Catholic congregation from 1880 to 1890. When it was about to be demolished in 1960, the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland purchased and restored the synagogue as a museum. Many of the original features of the building still remain, including the wooden pews, women’s balcony, the cast iron fence, and the blue and white cuspidors. Ritual baths as well as ovens for baking Passover bread survive in the basement.
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