Category Archives: Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces in Downtown: Temple Israel of Greater Miami

Image: The Worship Space

Sure this one isn’t exactly in Downtown (CBD), but it is in the urban core. Located on 19th street and N.E. 2nd Avenue, the Temple is not easily noticed. Nevertheless, it is one of the City’s most strikingly beautiful sacred spaces. The main temple sanctuary, built in 1926, was designed by Robertson and Paterson to create a “Moorish-Gothic confection of stained glass and tropical tile”.

In addition to the main sanctuary, there is the other-worldly worship space. The Temple’s website describes it this way:

“Imagine a large, luminous igloo suffused with rays of sunlight and eye-popping color, and you begin to get the idea.”

Image: Worship space interior as seen on the Temple’s website

Temple Israel of Greater Miami takes its role in Judaism as a reformation:

“Reform Judaism is, as much as anything, a search for truths rather than a recitation of them…The architecture of this chapel is intended to echo that quest.”

Such an unorthodox integration of faith and architecture makes this sacred space truly wondrous.


Bertha Abess Sanctuary (image provided by Vivian Simo)


Filed under BoB Articles, Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces in Downtown: Gesu Church and Rectory

The oldest of Downtown’s sacred spaces, the Gesu Church and Rectory is a beacon of faith in the heart of the CBD.

Image: Church pinnacle

Here’s why the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board considers it special:

“Located in downtown Miami, this imposing Mediterranean Revival style church houses the city’s oldest Roman Catholic parish. The cornerstone for the building was laid in 1920 on land donated by railroad magnate Henry M. Flagler, but construction did not begin until two years later. The new church was dedicated in 1925. Now restored to its original appearance, the design includes a massive arched portico under a landmark tower. Gesu Church and Rectory were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974″

Image: N.E. 1st Avenue main entrance


Filed under CBD: Jewelry District, Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces in Downtown: Central Baptist Church

Yes we have them, and they are grand, each, in their own right. For now, take a look at the Central Baptist Church:

Built in 1926 the circular church is considered noteworthy by the HEPB because:

Central Baptist Church is an excellent example of Neo-Classical design adapted to the Florida climate. Particularly noteworthy is the circular plan, which allows natural ventilation to keep the interior cool during the summer. The church, originally known as First Baptist Church, was organized two days before Miami incorporated in 1896 and houses the oldest Baptist congregation in the city. It remains one of the last active churches to hold regular services in the downtown central business district. Central Baptist Church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

Interestingly, this is not Miami’s first major church (that still stands). That right is reserved for the Gesu Church, which will be highlighted later.

Image: the pinnacle of the Central Baptist Church


Filed under BoB Articles, Gentrification, Sacred Spaces