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90 Years in 90 Days: Park Synagogue

90 photos that define Cleveland Heights

90 Years in 90 Days: Park Synagogue

Cleveland Heights officially became a city in 1921. Cleveland Heights Patch is by compiling 90 photos to create an album of the city's past and present. We'll run the feature for 90 days, one photo at a time.

Today's photo, from the 1940s, shows the construction on . The building was designed by architect Eric Mendelsohn, and was the first American synagogue he designed.

The synagogue is located on the site of the old Park School. Members bought the property in 1942, after convincing the Catholic Diocese not to bid on it. The Park property immediately became the eastern branch of the Cleveland Jewish Center. Shortly after, Leonard Ratner, a synagogue member, became convinced that the Synagogue should acquire the additional 21 acres of land adjacent to the Park property which fronted on Mayfield Road. Through the services of a gentile go-between, Ratner was instrumental in the purchase of the land from John D. Rockefeller.

Built between 1945 and 1950, Park Synagogue was designed by the world famous Eric Mendelsohn. When completed and dedicated in 1950, what is now called Park Main was regarded as a major work of 20th century architecture and became a registered landmark of Cleveland Heights. At that time the congregation numbered about 1,000 families. In 1986 the congregation acquired another building, which became Park Synagogue East. - Source: Park Synagogue

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