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Look Up! Furness chapel survives at Mt. Sinai Cemetery

    • The mortuary chapel at Mt. Sinai Cemetery was built by Frank Furness in 1892.
      The mortuary chapel at Mt. Sinai Cemetery was built by Frank Furness in 1892.
    • The entrance to the Mt. Sinai chapel facing Bridge Street.
      The entrance to the Mt. Sinai chapel facing Bridge Street.
    • The southern side of the chapel.
      The southern side of the chapel.
    • The receiving vault in the rear of the chapel.
      The receiving vault in the rear of the chapel.
    • A floral Furness motif in the terra cotta detail of the building.
      A floral Furness motif in the terra cotta detail of the building.
    • Mt. Sinai has been the final resting place for some of the city's most prominent Jewish families since the mid-1800s.
      Mt. Sinai has been the final resting place for some of the city's most prominent Jewish families since the mid-1800s.
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Look Up” is a PlanPhilly feature that encourages appreciation of our architectural and historical environment. The photo essays focus on a different Philadelphia area neighborhood and its distinctive building styles and details, all of which make up the physical fabric of the city and region.

Aside from some of Philadelphia’s most beautiful museums, banks, train stations, and homes, architect Frank Furness designed many building for the city’s religious communities.

Unfortunately, most of the structures consigned by the Jewish community, including the Jewish Hospital, Jewish Orphanage, and the original Rodeph Shalom Synagogue, are gone.

One survivor is the Mt. Sinai Cemetery Chapel, built in 1892 for the burial grounds at Bridge and Cottage Streets in the Frankford section.

The subdued, small-scale stone building features circular Moorish window and door openings, Arts & Craft eaves, and a radiating corrugated stone design around the entrance and receiving vault.

Mt. Sinai was founded in 1854 and is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the city. The mausoleums and gravestones contain the names of some of Philadelphia’s most prominent families, including Snellenburg, Gimbel, Paley, Binswanger, Solis-Cohen and Rosenbach. 


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Contact the writer at ajaffe@planphilly.com.


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About the author

Alan Jaffe, Contributor

Alan Jaffe has been a contributing writer for PlanPhilly since 2008, focusing on overlooked buidlings and historic preservation issues. He was a writer and editor in the newspaper industry for nearly 30 years, including eight at the Philadelphia Inquirer and nine at the South Jersey Courier-Post. He is currently the director of communications for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is also an antiques writer and collector and the author of “J. Chein & Co.: A Collector’s Guide to an American Toymaker.”

ajaffe@planphilly.com



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