The Pythian Home of Missouri, which was constructed in 1913, is located in Springfield, Missouri. Also referred to as the Pythian Castle, it was built by the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization and secret society that dates back to 1864. Later on, the U.S. military took control of the Pythian Home of Missouri, using it during World War II for medical treatment for prisoners of war. Taking up 2.66 acres, the 105 year old building is a historic monument having been added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
History of Pythian Home of Missouri
The Pythian Home of Missouri was originally constructed by the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization that was founded in Washington, D.C. the Knights of Pythias were founded by Justus H. Rathbone, who would later go on to become a music composer and actor, who was inspired by John Banim’s play about the story of Damon and Pythias. Today, the Knights of Pythias have over 2,000 lodges both in the United States and around the world.
Rathbone and the fraternity decided to construct the Pythian Home of Missouri as a place for members of the order to retire to, along with their widows and children. Seven different cities wanted the Pythian Home of Missouri but, selling 53 acres of land to the fraternity for the price of only $1, Springfield was deemed to be the location of the castle. Upon construction, the Pythian Home of Missouri served as a meeting space for the Knights of Pythias until for about 30 years.
The first floor of the Pythian Home of Missouri was built to include a grand foyer, meeting room, ballroom, dining hall, and sitting parlors. The second floor, on the other hand, was built to house adults and children with many dormitories, as well as a theatre, lighting room and changing rooms backstage for entertainment events.
In 1942, however, the Pythian Home of Missouri received a new aim: aiding in World War II. At that time, the United States Military began to use the Pythian Home of Missouri as an extension of the O’Reilly General Hospital, which aimed at rehabilitating those injured in the war. The Pythian Home of Missouri, which the U.S. Military soon renamed the Enlisted Men’s Service Club, was also used as a place to entertain these troops. To do so, a movie theatre was included, as well as a ballroom, bowling alley, pool hall, library, and arts and crafts area. Once the war was over, the U.S. Military continued to hold control of the Pythian Home of Missouri before selling it 1993.
Today, the Pythian Home of Missouri is owned and operated by Tamara Finocchiaro. After purchasing the property, the Pythian Home of Missouri did undergo some renovations before reopening to the public in August of 2010. It is now used as a place for cultural arts and special event, available upon appointment. There have been rumors of paranormal activity in the Pythian Home of Missouri and in 2011, it was featured on the television series “Ghost Lab.” It was also featured on the television series “Ghost Adventures” in 2017. Link to map.