Pythian Home of Missouri
Pythian Home of Missouri
|Location||1451 E. Pythian Street, Springfield, Missouri|
|Area||2.66 acres (1.08 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||09000812|
|Added to NRHP||October 7, 2009|
It was once believed that German and Italian prisoners-of-war were held there during World War II But later research found that no German nor Italian prisoners were held in the castle itself, although P.O.W's were there they were kept in the army hospital out back of the castle. This bit of information was featured on the Sy Fy channels Haunted Collectors.
The building was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on October 7, 2009. The listing was announced as the featured listing in the National Park Service's weekly list of October 16, 2009.
The main building was designed to give the structure the appearance of a castle which reflected the theme of the Knights of Pythias. Its foundation and exterior is constructed of "Carthage Stone", which is an especially hard variety of limestone commonly quarried in the Ozarks. The interior construction is composed of steel framework with poured concrete floors, ceilings, and stairways. The interior walls consist of layered hollow core "Pyrobar Blocks" (a gypsum-based fireproofing material developed in the early 1900s), with a wire mesh covering that was coated with several layers of plaster. The original main floor features a grand foyer, meeting room, ballroom, dining hall, and sitting parlors. The second floor, which is accessed by dual staircases on either wall, was designed with dormitory style rooms for children and bedrooms for adults. The second floor also features a theater with original ticket booth, seats, upper projection and lighting room as well as changing rooms backstage. The building also features a full basement. The power house was located directly behind the main building and housed the boiler as well as the institution's laundry facilities.
The Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization, originally constructed the castle and detached power plant as an orphanage and retirement home for children and widows of members of the order. It was called The Pythian Home of Missouri. It also served as a meeting hall for the order. It served in this capacity until in 1942 during World War II when the United States Military commandeered the facility for use in conjunction with adjacent O'Reilly General Hospital in entertaining and rehabilitating injured U.S. troops. It was renamed The Enlisted Men's Service Club. The facility featured a movie theater, ballroom, bowling alley, pool hall, library, and arts and crafts area. Some of the most famous movie stars, comedians, and entertainers of the era performed in the theater while the ballroom was host to big bands playing for the dancing pleasure of the troops. After the war the building was retained by the military for use as a reserve center until it was sold as surplus in 1993.
It is now privately owned by Tamara Finocchiaro. Renovations have been completed to the property including a new driveway and parking area. As of August 1, 2010 the castle has been reopened to the public for use as a cultural arts and events facility. It is available for special event rental including weddings, proms and corporate parties and offers public events such as history tours, murder mystery dinners, and holiday events. To add to the castle's many identities, it is also considered by some to be one of the more haunted places in the Ozarks and was investigated by the television show Ghost Lab in early 2011. Ghost tours offered year round.
- "Announcements and actions on properties for the National Register of Historic Places". Weekly Listings. National Park Service. October 16, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
- Tamara Finocchiaro, Chad Jackson, and Roger Maserang, Tamara (August 12, 2009). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Pythian Home of Missouri / Pythian Castle / O'Reilly Service Club / Building #501-U.S. Dept. of Army" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved October 17, 2009. (51 pages, with 5 figures and 14 photos)
- "Weekly List Actions". National Park Service. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
- Pythian Castle official site
- Pythian Home at NPS
- Springfield Historical Sites description by Springfield historian Richard Grosenbaugh