Leadville personified the classic Western American boomtown from the 1870s through WWI and into the 20th century. Populated by characters now routinely associated with the Old West, it could have served as a prototypical film set. Leadville’s commercial appeal, however, was not limited to rowdy miners, gunslingers, or traditional stereotypes.
Newly arrived Jewish immigrants also journeyed up the mountains to taste opportunities formerly denied under their oppressive countries of origin. These pioneering Jews, who reflected all strata of society in their adopted land — whether as merchants, tradesmen, mine owners, or laborers — made new lives for themselves, their families, and contributed to America’s growing preeminence. The Temple Israel Foundation is dedicated to their memory.
The Temple Israel Foundation is a nonprofit organization that exists to keep alive the cultural history of Leadville’s pioneer Jews from their first arrival in the 1860s through the 20th Century by supporting the Temple Israel Museum and maintaining the Hebrew Cemetery.
The Foundation was incorporated in April of 1987 “to acquire, historically rehabilitate, and maintain” the Temple Israel building and research the history of Leadville’s Jewish community and its individual members.
After purchasing the Temple Israel building in October of 1992, the Foundation was awarded the title to the Hebrew Cemetery by the District Court on June 18, 1993. This action rejoined the ownership of both parcels originally held by the original Congregation Israel and expanded the mandate of the Foundation to include the restoration and maintenance of both properties.
The Temple Israel Foundation completed the major restoration of the synagogue, which had been damaged by a fire, in 2008. Temple Israel, although not an active congregation, hosts Jewish services for local, regional, and national groups upon request.
The Temple Israel Museum showcases historic artifacts, memorabilia, found and donated objects that commemorate the pioneering Jewish experience in Leadville.
The Hebrew Cemetery, which is separate from the temple site, has been restored and continues to be maintained due to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. The reconsecrated cemetery has reopened for burials.
Temple Israel Foundation
208 West 8th Street
Leadville, Colorado 80461
William A. Korn, President
Adrienne C. Yauk, Secretary
*We are available by appointment year round.
The Temple Israel Foundation was incorporated in the state of Colorado in April 1987, and has been accorded Section 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service effective August 19, 1987.
Federal Tax ID: 74-2463752