On Sunday night a 3-alarm fire destroyed Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue, a landmark shul—which has been unused and neglected for a decade—on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The fire, which is believed to have begun from the inside, ravaged the interior of the dilapidated temple, and razed to the ground much of the Gothic Revival structure that has been a neighborhood and Jewish landmark since it was built at 60 Norfolk St. in 1850. Nobody was injured, reported The Lo-Down, an LES blog. And because it has been abandoned for a decade, no Torah scrolls were lost either.

The keepers of the 167-year-old shul, which has been empty and more or less rotting away since 2007, when the congregation dwindled to 15 members, have made efforts, alongside local and national preservation groups, to repair and maintain the building’s gorgeous architecture. Demolition has also been considered, in part to make way for a new residential building, many of which are popping up all over that area of the Lower East Side. Reported TLD: “The now charred and gutted synagogue, of course, sits right in the middle of the Essex Crossing development site. As a vacant parcel, it would be worth many millions.”

More images here.

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