Pythian Home Week March 1-7. Celebrating 115 years
The Texas Pythian Home opened on March 1, 1909, as a home for widows and orphans of Knights of Pythias members. The Pythians made the decision to build the Home in Weatherford, Texas, due to the amount of land given as well as the support of the community. Three hundred acres were donated to the Pythians to build the castle-like structure.
The main building housed orphaned children on the second floor. The basement was divided into apartments for widows with children. The administrative staff had their offices on the first floor. There were soon so many boys that it became necessary to build a boys only dorm. In 1914 all of the boys were moved into their new dorm and the orphaned girls moved to the basement. A girl’s only dorm was built in 1925. In the early 70’s widows no longer lived at the Pythian Home due to the completion of a retirement home for aged Pythians in Greenville, Texas.
The Pythian Home School was designated an independent school district on August 1, 1910, and continued until 1972. In 1937, the last High School graduating class walked across the Pythian auditorium stage. The decision was made to send grades 6-12 grade to Weatherford Independent School District. The 1st through 5th grades continued to have classes at the Pythian Home until 1972.
The Home had a large dairy operation for many years. Animals were raised to provide meat for the residents. The Home also had a huge garden and orchard. The staff and children living at the Home kept busy maintaining all of the operations. The extra produce that the Home grew was sold and provided substantial regular income. Government regulations changed in 1972 limiting the work of the children, so many of these operations changed. The dairy was closed in 1976 due to more government regulations. We continue to raise a small amount of beef for occasional income and meat for our freezer.
There were hard times through the years. Land was sold to various developers. Interstate 20 was built through the south end of the Pythian Home land. We now have approximately 164 acres.
Staff to child ratios has changed through the years also. At one time, one little matron could be responsible for 30 to 35 children. Our ratio is now eight children to one adult. Children under the age of five have the ratio of four children to one adult. The dormitory is no longer filled with beds lining the walls. There is sixty square feet of bedroom space per child. The “Castle on the Hill” is now a home, not an institution.
The Pythian principles of Friendship, Charity, and Benevolence continue to be the driving force behind the organization that supports the Home. Pythians who see the needs of others and reach out to meet those needs are the reason the Home is here.