maya-program

Temple Freda

The Jewish community of Bryan, Texas had its origins in the 1860s, and met in the homes of members for worship services. By 1890 a congregation had been organized and in 1912 J.W. English, a Christian merchant, donated parts of lots 6 and 7 in block 117 of Bryan to the congregation for the purpose of establishing a synagogue. Many of the materials used in the construction of the building were given by local citizens. The simple rectangular building in the Greek Revival style, was completed within a year. It was named at its dedication for Mrs. Ethel Freda Kaezer, the recently deceased wife of the congregation's president. The deed to the building requires that the building be used as a place of worship.

The front of the building has finely detailed tan brick walls with a classical entablature in pressed metal. The portico has two wooden Corinthian columns. The simple interior has an entrance lobby, flanked by two bathrooms, leading into the sanctuary. A small meeting room is located at the back. The synagogue retains its original ark and bimah furnishings, pews, menorahs, light fixtures and fans. The ceiling is of pressed metal. The original cast iron stoves, although not in use, are stored in the building. Stained glass windows, many donated in memory of congregation members, enrich the otherwise plain interior.

Director Robert Warden, longtime associate Lonnie Champagne, graduate student Meredith Butlter, and undergraduate student Jennifer Whisenhunt documented Temple Freda in December of 2010 using laser scanning and photography.