Robert P. Davis, Architect
revised 19 April 01

Agudas Achim, Superior, WI

Essays on Related Subjects

The Binding of Memory what it's really all about

Introduction to the TX series

Synagogue design and community consciousness before and after WWII.

Settlement: How, where, and when Jews came into the country.

Business: How Jews got into, succeeded, and went out of business.

Identity: Staying Jewish or running for cover.

Leaving home and staying behind


Index of Model Sites

(sites marked (2) require QTVR to get the full effect)

Abilene, Temple Mizpah
Baytown, Knesset Yisrael (2)
Breckenridge, Beth Israel
Brenham, B'nai Avraham
Brownsville, Temple Beth El
Bryan, Temple Freda
Corsicana, Agudas Achim
Corsicana, Beth El
Galveston, B'nai Israel
Jefferson, Sinai Hebrew
Kilgore, Beth Sholem
Laredo, Temple Bnai Israel

Longview, Temple Emanuel
Marshall, Moses Montefiore (2)

Port Arthur, Rodef Shalom

San Angelo, Beth Israel

Schulenberg, Temple Israel
Sherman, Beth Emeth
Texarkana, Temple Sinai (1)

Tyler, Agudas Achim/Beth El
Victoria, B'nai Israel
Wharton, Shearith Israel
Wichita Falls, Beth Jacob/Temple Israel

One hundred years ago Jewish communities fluorished in many small towns throughout the State. Most are gone; a once-diffuse population contracted into the largest cities. What remains are a few flaking commercial signs, the cemeteries, and the synagogues. And those, if not sold for other uses or abandoned to decay, have nearly faded from the conscious memory of those who used them. Despite obvious historical and sometimes sentimental interest there is neither the will nor money to physically restore most of them. This project seeks to demonstrate an alternate means of preserving the memory and experience of these souvenirs of Jewish heritage.

Virtual restoration uses computer-aided design techniques to simulate the aural and visual experience of buildings that would otherwise be lost to decay. It is a three-part process: (1) descriptive documentation of the buildings via historical research, field measurement and photography, (2) construction of a navigable 3D solid model, and (3) animation of the model in an interactive VR format (for which you will need the Quicktime VR viewer).

By themselves the buildings don't say much; but they were once animated by people, some of whom are still around to tell their stories. Using the town itself as the "script" former (or current) residents will during a recorded walking tour guide us through time and place. In final presentation form the 3D navigable model, photographs, and recordings will be combined to tell the stories of these places.

This project has been underwritten by a grant from the
Texas Jewish Historical Society,