Temple Sinai

In the year 1893, the 16th of April, the Jewish citizens of Bayou Sara on the river and St. Francisville on the bluff, met to make plans for building a temple.  On July 12, 1901 the Jewish congregation formed a corporation known as Temple Sinai.  On the bluff above the town of Bayou Sara, Turner Hill was selected as the site for building their house of worship.  Active construction of the temple started July 22, 1902 and on Auguest 12th the cornerstone was laid with Masonic cermonies.  The dedication cermonies of the temple was March 28, 1903.

By 1921, because of flooding from the river, most of the congregation had moved on to more profitable locations and the temple no longer had the full services of a rabbi. In 1922 Temple Sinai was sold to the local Presbyterians.  The building was used by the Presbyterians as a house of worship until the 1970's when it was sold to the  local government for offices.  

In the Louisiana Preservation Alliance Report for the Winter 2006, the Temple Sinai was listed as one of the Top Ten Endangered Sites.  A grant for the restoration was applied for through the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service.  The grant agreement began in December 2009 and ended in December 2011.  In December 2012 the community celebrated the non-profit Freyhan Foundation's restoration of Temple Sinai as space for weddings, lectures and nondenominational community cultural activities.   

For a more in-depth history of Temple Sinai, read Anne Butler's article: RESTORATION OF OLD TEMPLE GIVES ST. FRANCISVILLE NEW CULTURAL VENUE.