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.

And so begins our next chapter, as we embark on both interior and exterior projects in 2023 and 2024. We invite you to peruse the photos and descriptions below outlining the extensive work to be tackled, keeping in mind that these project, estimated to cost over $1,000,000 combined, is fully funded through the Plum Street Temple Historic Preservation Fund. As you read more about these and past renovation projects at Plum Street, we encourage you to check back on this page in the coming weeks and months as we post photos of the progress. 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 will be undertaking an exciting project on the lower level of Plum Street Temple.  We are removing all carpet and ceiling tiles on the lower level, and pulling up floorboards to get down to the foundation. We have 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 perhaps remediate some of the odor.

After completing these tasks, we will replace 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 will also be working in the sanctuary to remediate moisture issues near one of the windows and to repaint where the moisture has damaged the surrounding arch.

This project is estimated to cost just over $400,000.


This summer’s work on Plum Street Temple focused on needed exterior sandstone cleaning, cornice and carpentry repairs, and painting of external sheet metal, wood windows, doors and railings. As the graphics and images highlight, locations of these repairs vary extensively with regard to ease of access and height off the ground. As a result, costs associated with the requisite work include permits, scaffolding, lifts, cranes, and engineering tools needed to ensure safety of the structure during the project. The project cost approximately $650,000 to complete.

Below are in-progress photos of the 2023 restoration project. 

Ppt overview


7/26/2023: Before and after of the roof hatches that were painted while our painters had access to these areas

7/26/2023: The fresh paint significantly brightens the exterior of the building!

7/26/2023: Painting of Plum Street is 90% complete! Scaffolding on the north side is starting to come down.

7/26/2023: The south side of the building has required extensive scaffolding to access the many areas needing paint.

7/26/2023: Close up of the sheet metal, now painted and fresh, with new wire to keep birds from resting on the sills (above and below)

7/26/2023: As part of the outdoor work, these steps on the south side of the building are being repaired and caulked as they have crumbled over time.

7/12/2023: Scaffolding is erected in this very small courtyard between Plum Street and the parking garage. This courtyard is only accessible through a small hole in a closet in the Bride’s room. This means that each piece of the Scaffolding (as well as each worker) came through that tiny space and was erected. Taking it down may be even more challenging than putting it up!

7/12/2023: In order to erect the first level of scaffolding, the ceiling must be shored up inside. This means additional scaffolding in our storeroom so that no damage or injuries takes place.

7/11/2023: Scaffolding has been erected in this very small space in between the parking garage and Plum Street. Crews have now begun work on every side of our building!

7/11/2023: Scaffolding on the north side of the building (left in this picture) is coming down as this side is now complete! Scaffolding on the upper south side has been approved and crews are now working hard on the upper metalwork. Shoring inside the building has been approved by our engineer, and scaffolding is now being erected in order to paint sheet metal on the lower part of the south side

6/29/2023: The North (Eighth Street) side of the building is complete! As work continues on the front of the building, the scaffolding on the South side has been green-tagged and prep work has begun.

6/27/2023: Crews are cleaning and painting windows and door frames on the West (Plum Street) side of the building. Cleaning the windows on the North (Eighth Street) side of the building

6/22/2023: Encountering a deteriorated area of sheet metal was not unexpected. Our team replaced the rotted metal with a new piece of sheet metal which was cut and formed to fit, then riveted to the existing pieces and smoothed out. This will help protect both the minaret, and the sanctuary below, from water intrusion.

6/21/2023: Before and after pictures of cleaning the sandstone.

6/20/2023: Before and after pictures of the first minaret being scraped and primed. It’s ready for a finish coat!

6/19/2023: The crane has arrived to help us reach the minarets to begin work on painting the sheet metal at the very top of our building.

6/16/2023: As week one of our project draws to a close we can see some progress on our beautiful building.

6/15/2023: Scaffolding and a boom lift are used to access some high areas. Scaffolding will is now on the north side of the building. A crane will arrive in June 19 to access the minarets.

6/13/2023: Primer is applied to the windows and doors to seal them and get them ready for a new coat of paint.

6/12/2023: Scaffolding Installation

6/12/2023: Project begins