Project Update: Temple Aaron

Temple Aaron Awarded State Historical Fund Grant

History Colorado awarded a $50,000 State Historical Fund grant to Temple Aaron, one of the oldest continuously operated synagogues in its original location west of the Mississippi. This grant will help fund roof investigations, construction documents, and emergency roof repairs. The Temple will match the funds with $29,250 for a total project of $79,250.

Colorado Preservation, Inc. listed Temple Aaron on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 2017. Since then the Temple continues making great strides in re-constituting as a regional synagogue, hosting lively and engaging services and programs to attending supporters from Albuquerque to Boulder and beyond.

In September, the Temple hosted both in-person and virtual Rosh Hashanah services on Zoom, led by Rabbi Robert Lennick of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. Rabbi Lennick engages as the Temple’s first Rabbi since the 1970s. He commented on the feeling of generations past that permeates the building by noting how “the past, present, and the future come together here at Temple Aaron … it’s like a Jewish vortex or something.”

Temple Aaron, opening its doors in 1889, is a contributing historic property in the El Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District. Prolific architect Isaac Hamilton Rapp designed the Temple in the Exotic Revival Style, making it one of the few synagogues of its type in the United States. Elements of the Exotic Revival style include such Oriental motifs as Turkish (Onion) domes and Moorish minarets, both evident on Temple Aaron. The synagogue’s many geometric colored glass windows are reminiscent of the first colored glass windows found in other Eastern mosques. The Temple’s distinctive pressed metal patterned roof has a complex structure featuring many peaks and valleys. It features two towers on the east façade of the building, which sits high on a hill overlooking Trinidad. The Temple was built primarily by Jews of German descent who played a prominent role in the town’s early development, including its first mayor Samuel Jaffa and prominent merchants such as Maurice and Isaac Wise.

For more information, contact Colorado Preservation, Inc. or Temple Aaron.

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