Temple Beth David
Niagara County has been home to many people of faith in its 200 year time span. While most religious groups belong to the various denominations of the Christian faith, Lockport was the home for a Jewish congregation for over forty years.
In the early 20th century, a small group of Jewish men and women gathered for weekly prayer in a loft above a store on West Main Street in Lockport. Following a year or two in these cramped quarters, a move was made to 115 Genesee Street and the Temple Beth David was formed in 1937. A full fledged fund raising campaign was begun to remodel and update the building which became the temple of worship and center for all social activities of members of the Jewish faith in the region.
On Sunday, May 12, 1940, a very colorful and memorable service was held to officially dedicate the new temple to the spiritual uses of the community. A highlight of the service was the presentation of the Holy Torah Scroll to the congregation. Another milestone came in 1944 when the congregation celebrated the burning of its mortgage. In the fall of 1954, a Religious School was inaugurated with a first class of ten boys who met with Jewish leaders to study a well-rounded curriculum of the Hebrew language and Jewish history and culture. Temple Beth David ended its history in Lockport after suffering a disastrous fire on January 12, 1984. The building was completely destroyed in an icy general-alarm blaze that saw many fire fighters take temporary respite in nearby Grace Episcopal Church to ward off the effects of frostbite.
Douglas Farley, Director
Ann Marie Linnabery
Erie Canal Discover Center
24 Church St.
Lockport NY 14094