Gates of Heaven Synagogue
300 E. Gorham St.     Built 1863 by James Jack     Madison Landmark 1974     National Register 1970     German Romanesque Revival     August Kutzback

Facade is sandstone, rear & side walls are cream-colored brick. Two rose windows are different in design.

Designed and built by the first group of Jewish immigrants to arrive in Madison. They used the building for 16 years. Originally known by its Hebrew name, Shaare Shomaim, it is now known by its English equivalent, the Gates of Heaven.

When the building was threatened with demolition, a group of citizens organized to move the building from its original location at 214 W. Washington Avenue to James Madison Park in 1971. The building was refurbished by the city for community use and is now managed by the Parks Department.

The first synagogue in Madison and the fourth oldest extant synagogue in the United States

1863: The synagogue was built by the Gates of Heaven congregation, used by about 20 Jewish families.

1879: to 1886 The initial home (rented) of the Unitarian Society. A young Frank Lloyd Wright attended the church with his family.

1890: It becomes the Madison headquarters of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

1898: The First Church of Christ Scientist.

1908: The English Lutheran Church

1916: to 1930, the building was owned by the Gill (Guild?) family and was used as a funeral home.

Later, it became the Mission Inn, a tea room.

During World War II, the U. S. government stored records and documents there.

1944: The Church of Christ, and later a dental office.

Its last private use was as the headquarters of then-Congressman Robert Kastenmeier.

July 1970: A wrecking permit is issued for the building's demolition.

1970: Gates of Heaven is accepted to the National Register of Historic Places

July 17, 1971: The building is moved to James Madison Park and turned over to the City of Madison.

Also has served as a kindergarten, the Mission Tearoom, a dentist office, Church of Christ.