Board meets with Indiana Landmarks, masonry expert, to evaluate synagogue restoration effort

By Terry Fear and Debra Israel

Terry Fear is vice president/secretary of United Hebrew Congregation Terre Haute and Debra Israel serves on the UHC board.

We would like to thank those of you who have already generously contributed to our United Hebrew Congregation Restoration Fund.

But we also have exciting progress to report. Thanks to your contributions and a matching grant from Sacred Places Indiana, we are starting to collect estimates for the first phase of the project to restore our historic synagogue, originally known as Temple Israel.

Replacement of stabilizing steel lintels around the sanctuary’s stained-glass windows and limestone restoration to prevent further water infiltration are critical projects.

Using the building assessment completed by Indianapolis architectural firm Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf, board members recently met with architect Jonathan Young, Indiana Landmarks Western Regional Office Director Tommy Kleckner and masonry restoration expert Donnie J. Furry.

Collectively, we determined the replacement of stabilizing steel lintels around the sanctuary’s stained-glass windows and limestone restoration to prevent further water infiltration are critical projects.

The full board will study Mr. Furry’s proposal to determine the scope of work that matches UHC’s budget. Mr. Furry says work can begin during spring 2018.

Restoration priorities

Images from architect Jonathan Young’s Temple Israel Feasibility Study detail three areas of primary concern — pressure cracks in stained glass windows; deterioration of exterior steel lintels; and cracks and mismatched patchwork in the exterior limestone.

Arrows highlight the problem areas.

Interior detail view of stained glass with cracks.
Evidence of steel lintel deterioration.
Edge cracks at limestone.

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