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Summary for 6500 52ND AVE / Parcel ID 1102000351 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Common Name: Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Seward Park
Built By: Year Built: 1964

Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation’s synagogue is significant through its association with the Jewish community in Seattle. It also reflects the movement of Jews to South Seattle during the 1950s and 1960s.

The synagogue is located in the Seward Park neighborhood in South Seattle and was constructed by the Sephardic Bikur Holim congregation, which still occupies the building today. The Bikur Holim congregation was founded by Sephardic Jews from Turkey around 1910.  The congregation began construction for their new building in 1964 for an estimated cost of $300,000. It was completed in 1965; and, in 1972, a two-story addition was added at an estimated cost of $18,000.

During the 1850s, German Jewish immigrants moved into the Central District in Seattle. Yiddish-speaking Jews from Russia and Poland also settled in the Central District and Pioneer Square. Around the turn of the nineteenth century, Sephardic Jews from the Isle of Rhodes and Turkey immigrated to the area. Those from Turkey formed the Sephardic Bikur Holim congregation, and those from the Isle of Rhodes formed Ezra Bessarott Turkish congregation. During the early 1950s, as many African American families moved into the Central District of Seattle and as Jewish families increased in prosperity, many Jewish families began moving out of the Central District to Seward Park, the Eastside, and north Seattle. This trend began in the 1950s with move of a number of Orthodox families. During the late 1950s and 1960s, several congregations also relocated, including the Ezra Bessaroth congregation, Sephardic Bikur Holim, and Bikur Cholim.

Sephardic Bikur Holim continues to have a strong, intergenerational congregation, which organizes and supports many activities for in the Jewish community in Seattle.


The rectangular, 78,592 square foot lot for this synagogue is located between South Morgan Street and South Holly Street and was originally platted for the Brighton Beach Acre Tracts. The front entrance of the synagogue is oriented northwest and is located on a declining slope; it is one story at street level and two stories towards the rear of the structure. This Modern, Brutalist-inspired structure has an irregular floor plan, a poured concrete foundation, a flat parapet roof, and an overhanging arcade with a stuccoed arched arcade on the northeast elevation. The entrance is defined by four concrete steps that lead to a semi-circular, enclosed porch that is supported by brick piers and shielded by decorative metal and glass screen doors. A solid, diamond-shaped tower protrudes from the roof near the entryway. The structure is clad in mottled brick with scant fenestration. While narrow fixed windows punctuate the facades, their subtle effect does not visually interrupt the vast planarity of the walls. The varied, bulky massing of the building elements and the parapet roof create geometrical shapes and broken planes. This bulky massing and geometrical effect is emphasized by the clean lines and contrasting trim of the roof parapets, the textured cladding, and the minimal presence of windows. This is a good example of Brutalist-inspired architecture, where flattened planes and massing are used to create geometric lines and shapes. It, therefore, remains a significant architectural feature in the Seward Park neighborhood.



Detail for 6500 52ND AVE / Parcel ID 1102000351 / Inv # 0

Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Religion - Religious facility Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Unknown
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Interior: Unknown
Other: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Dorpat, Paul, “101 The Railroad Avenue Elevated,” Seattle, Now and Then, Seattle: Tartu Publications, 1984.
Bagley, Clarence B. History of Seattle, Washington. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1916.
Berner, Richard. Seattle 1921-1940: From Boom to Bust. Seattle: Charles Press, 1992.

Photo collection for 6500 52ND AVE / Parcel ID 1102000351 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010
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