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Pythian Castle

Updated on July 30, 2015

The Pythian Castle is a historic landmark in Springfield, Missouri with a fascinating history. If you find yourself visiting Springfield, and you have already seen the Bass Pro Shop and zoo, I suggest taking a couple hours to learn about this amazing site.

The Castle's Beginnings

The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization that was founded in Washington, DC in 1864. This group used their money to create "homes" in each state for their members and their members' families.Back in those days the man was the source of the income, so if they passed away their wife would be left with all their kids and no way to support them. This home was a place for the newly widowed wives to bring their children while she got herself back on her feet. This would have obviously been very difficult for the children. They had just lost their father and now their mother was dropping them off at a strange new place.

The home was not just used as an orphanage though. It was also to be used for the older members of the fraternity that could no longer take care of themselves. So the children saw their fair share of funerals at their young age. It was quite difficult for them to get attached to these grandfatherly and grandmotherly figures and have them pass away.

There were many cities in Missouri that did there best to offer the Pythians an appealing deal for their home and Springfield, Missouri was chosen. The Pythian Home of Missouri was built in 1913 and consisted of the main building along with a separate building that was to house the boiler used to heat the main house. The buildings were used as an Orphanage/Retirement home until circumstance altered its fate.

The War

There was a 93 acre plot of land next to the Pythian Castle. This land was bought by the U.S. Military and the O'Reilly General Hospital was constructed. The plan was for this hospital to take care of all military personnel from Missouri and all of Missouri's bordering states. Shortly after the hospital was built though, Pearl Harbor happened. It was quickly realized that the hospital was not large enough to accommodate all of the people it needed to. The Army knew it needed to expand, so the Pythian’s land was was sold to the army, at a discount, and the Pythian’s bought a smaller home to house their children and elderly.

The Army repurposed the Castle by turning it into a USO Club. The building already had plenty of amenities such as a theater, bowling alley, and ballroom area, which made it perfect for entertainment. The house had as many as a couple thousand in it on some nights. Big named celebrities such as Bob Hope and Bing Cosby had performed for the troops over the years.

The Castle was not only used for entertainment though. It was also used to hold POWs. The Army added four cells in the basement of the main house, and the separate boiler building was turned into holding cells as well. The main house was said to have housed the Italian POWs and a Japanese POW. These POWs had a fairly laid back time for being prisoners. They were allowed to watch movies in the theater, play softball, and were even paid by the hour for the work they performed. On the other hand, the German POWs were held in the separate building and didn’t have the same liberties as the Italian and Japanese prisoners.

The basement not only had holding cells, but also a room that was believed to be used for more unpleasant purposes. It was believe that the room was a used for interrogating the German prisoners, and possibly even torturing them. The reasoning behind this belief was that the room had an iron gate that locked from the inside rather than the outside. It is an interesting contrast to have glamorous balls on the main floor and torturing of prisoners in the basement.

Hauntings

The Pythian Castle has had a tortured and heart wrenching history since its very beginning. Sadness has plagued its halls due to the bereaved families and the passing of the elderly living in the home. Beyond this though, there were interrogations and even possible torturing going on in the thick-walled rooms of the basement. With a history like that there is no wonder why many believe the house is haunted. Ghost Lab investigated the house in 2011 and ghost tours are offered all year long.

The Castle Today

The Pythian Castle has had a tortured and heart wrenching history since its very beginning. Sadness has plagued its halls due to the bereaved families and the passing of the elderly living in the home. Beyond this though, there were interrogations and even possible torturing going on in the thick-walled rooms of the basement. With a history like that there is no wonder why many believe the house is haunted. Ghost Lab investigated the house in 2011 and ghost tours are offered all year long.

A marker1451 E. Pythian Street, Springfield, Missouri -
1451 East Pythian Street, Springfield, MO 65802, USA
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