Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum

Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum (HMJUI)

Location: Washington, DC 20001
Buy District Of Columbia State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 38° 53.905', W 77° 0.905'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

Civil War to Civil Rights

— Downtown Heritage Trail —

Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
"The neighborhood was our whole life."
Albert Small, born in the neighborhood in 1902.

This is the oldest surviving synagogue building in Washington. Constructed in 1875 by Adas Israel Congregation, and originally located at Sixth and G Streets, it served the German-Jewish immigrant shopkeepers in the neighborhood. Albert Small, a member of the congregation, grew up on Fifth Street and recalled that as a boy, "the neighborhood was our whole life [and] the synagogue was the focal point. We went to school at Seaton [Elementary], and we took our music lessons in St. Mary's across the street from our house. We used to help in the family store two blocks away."

When the congregation outgrew this sanctuary in 1906, a Greek Orthodox church and later a carry-out restaurant occupied the building. Threatened with demolition in 1969, the building was moved to its present location and restored as a museum bearing the name of its benefactors Lillian and Albert Small.

This historic synagogue symbolizes the rich immigrant history of the eastern section of Washington's downtown. Beginning with the Irish and German craftsmen who arrived in the early 19th century to work on the government buildings, the area has been a place for newcomers from around the world to establish an economic foothold in the federal city-Jews, Germans, Greeks, Italians, Russians, Chinese, and others.

The legacy of the neighborhood's immigrant history surrounds you. Holy Rosary Catholic Church (founded about 1913 near its present site at Third and F Streets) served the surrounding Italian community. It still celebrates Mass in Italian. St. Mary's Catholic Church (established in 1846), at Fifth and H Streets, founded by Germans, today holds Mass in Latin and Cantonese. St. Patrick's Catholic Church (founded in 1794), and still located on its original site on Tenth Street between F and G, was established to serve Irish immigrants. And three former synagogues, on or near I Street, are now Baptist or African Methodist Episcopal churches serving African American congregations.

The Civil War (1861 - 1865) transformed Washington, DC from a muddy backwater to a center of national power. Ever since, the city has been at the heart of the continuing struggle to realize fully the ideas for which the war was fought. The 25 signs that mark this trail follow the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglas, and others, famous and humble, who shaped a nation and its capital city while living and working in historic downtown DC.Civil War to Civil Rights Downtown Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour consists of three distinct loops: West, Center, and East. Each one-mile loop offers about an hour of gentle exercise.A free booklet capturing the trail's highlights is available at local businesses and institutions along the way. To download the free Civil War to Civil Rights Audio Tour, and learn about other DC neighborhoods, please visit
Series This marker is part of the Civil War to Civil Rights series
Marker Numbere.8
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 4:59am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 325253 N 4307433
Decimal Degrees38.89841667, -77.01508333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 53.905', W 77° 0.905'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 53' 54.30" N, 77° 0' 54.30" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 305 G St NW, Washington DC 20001, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What historical period does the marker represent?
  2. What historical place does the marker represent?
  3. What type of marker is it?
  4. What class is the marker?
  5. What style is the marker?
  6. What year was the marker erected?
  7. This marker needs at least one picture.
  8. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  9. Is the marker in the median?