By the turn of the 20th century, enough Jewish people had settled on Minneapolis’ south side to form at least three congregations: Adath Jeshuran, B’nai Abraham, and Agudas Achim, all initially Orthodox. The latter held its first services in 1902 on the 4th floor of a stone building located at Franklin and 17th Ave. S. Two years later, the congregation purchased a four-plex at 1820 17th Ave. S. and used its first floor as a sanctuary, later converting the upstairs into a balcony for women members. The balcony collapsed in 1911, forcing the congregation to remove the building from the lot. The congregation then purchased the former Swedish Bethany Covenant Church, erected in 1889 for $500, and moved it onto the site. Although in existence since 1902, the congregation did not write its Constitution and By-Laws until February 15, 1919. Written in Yiddish, the by-laws state that services were to follow the Sephardic tradition followed by Jews forced to flee Spain due to the Inquisition in 1492 [Jews living in Central and Eastern Europe follow the Ashkenazi, or German tradition]. By the 1930s, as the neighborhood underwent change, the congregation’s membership dwindled. With the support of several of its members [including Isadore Blumenfeld AKA “Kid Cann” and his family] the congregation was able to continue until 1950 when the land was sold to the highway department for a Hiawatha Ave. expansion.
Sources: MN Digital Library, MN Reflections; Special Collections, Hennepin County Library’s Tumblr, Jewish Communities in Minneapolis, 1934.