Plum Street Temple 2023-2024
Restoration & Repairs


Over 155 years after its dedication, Plum Street Temple continues to be at the center of religious and cultural life at Isaac M. Wise Temple. A national historic monument since 1975, the building has been beautifully preserved through the generations. However Plum Street Temple is not a museum to the past; it is a living, dynamic sanctuary, where Wise Temple members and guests regularly come together for weekly Shabbat services, along with many other life milestones and celebrations.

With the goals of remembering the building’s incredible past, while creating a vibrant space for today and the future, the Wise Temple congregation is devoted to Plum Street’s maintenance and preservation. This devotion is reflected by extensive restoration and renovation projects to the interior and exterior of the building over past decades and the development of the Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund. Through these projects, our community fulfills its sacred obligation to Plum Street Temple and to those who built it so many years ago.

We invite you to peruse the photos and descriptions below outlining the extensive work tackled to both the interior and exterior of Plum Street Temple in the summer of 2023 and the winter of 2024. Keep in mind that these projects, which cost over $1,000,000 combined, were fully funded through the Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund. As you read more about these and past renovation projects at Plum Street, should you wish to lend your support to future Plum Street Temple repairs, restoration, and preservation, please consider a donation today.


From December 2023 through February 2024 we undertook an exciting project on the lower level of Plum Street Temple. We removed all carpet and ceiling tiles on the lower level, and pulled up floorboards to get down to the foundation. We had several goals in doing this:

  1. Access pipes running beneath the floor to fix broken pipes.  These clay pipes are original to the building
  2. Reinforce some structural issues beneath some floorboards.
  3. Encapsulate the foundation and support beams in order to reduce the amount of moisture seeping into the building and remediate some of the odor.

After completing these tasks, we replaced the lights with LED fixtures, put in new ceiling tiles and put down new carpet.

While doing these projects on the lower level, a crew also worked in the sanctuary to remediate moisture issues near one of the windows and repainted where the moisture had damaged the surrounding arch.

This significant and important work cost approximately $425,000.


The pipe that started it all

The sleeve used to line the pipes

The original floor

Look what was found under the floor!

Material used in encapsulation

Reinforcing joists

Tight workspace for the encapsulation

Work in progress

4 wells

Foam sprayed around the wells

Making sure everything is sealed up

Social hall floor - encapsulation

Closing up floor over the foundation. The well caps are even with the floor so the sheeting is shaped to the well.

Structural issue at the bottom of the spiral staircase.

Broken pipe that led to structural issue

Floor jacked up to fix structural issue

One of four dehumidifiers being put under the floor and connected to pipes to drain moisture from the area

Time capsule put under the floor in the Rabbi’s study

Sanctuary repairs / Color mixing area

Stencils to correct lettering issues

New letters - real word

Ceiling tiles removed for odor mitigation. Ceiling grids painted to match new tiles

Painting the vents to match the new ceiling colors

Voila! New ceiling tiles. New lights

Floor being prepped for new carpet

Almost done

Finished in time for the Bar Mitzvah - as promised


Exterior work on Plum Street Temple focused on needed sandstone cleaning, cornice and carpentry repairs, and painting of external sheet metal, wood windows, doors and railings. As the graphics and images below highlight, locations of these repairs varied extensively with regard to ease of access and height off the ground. As a result, costs associated with the requisite work included permits, scaffolding, lifts, cranes, and engineering tools needed to ensure safety of the structure during the project.

The project cost approximately $596,000.

Ppt overview


Please click here to view the photo archive of the Summer 2023 project.