2701 Heyward Street
Second Site of Tree of Life Congregation
This one-story structure, designed by architects Lyles, Bissett Carlisle and Wolff and built by M. B. Kahn Construction Company, was dedicated on April 4, 1952. The temple's first service, led by Rabbi David Gruber, was held the same day. Referred to as a 'departure from traditional church architecture,' this 'modern, reverent, functional edifice' located in Shandon purportedly cost more than $100,000. In addition to the sanctuary, the 7,000-square foot building included an assembly room with stage, seven classrooms, a kitchen, library, choir room and rabbi's study. The exterior originally featured solid wooden doors with handles styled as ram horns.
The congregation grew from 60 families in 1952 to 250 families in 1986, necessitating the construction of a larger building. That year, the Tree of Life Congregation's current temple opened at 6719 North Trenholm Road in Forest Acres. Seventy-five members of the congregation participated in the seven-mile procession that escorted the Torahs from the Shandon temple to the one in Forest Acres. Today, the Heyward Street building is in use by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. A South Carolina Historic Marker commemorating the Tree of Life Congregration was dedicated at the site on December 11, 2016.