Knights of Pythias Castle Hall – 315 Main Street

315 Main Street [NR/RTHL/CFO(NR)], Knights of Pythias Castle Hall, 1901; 1981-1982.  Reminiscent of a Flemish or Dutch medieval civic structure, the Knights of Pythias Castle Hall was an appropriate home for this fraternal organization.  The cornerstone identifies Marshall R. Sanguinet of the firm of Sanguinet and Staats as the architect and A.E. Newell and William Bryce (a brick manufacturer, see CBD 157) as the contractors.  This was the second hall on the site. An 1881 building, the first Knights of Pythias Castle Hall ever erected, burned in 1901 and was replaced by this structure.  The 1881 building was the only Knights of Pythias building personally dedicated by the order’s founder, Justis H. Rathbone.

Like many other fraternal organizations, the Knights of Pythias leased space on the first and second floors to help offset expenses and utilized the rest for Pythian activities.  Renfro Drug Co.’s store number one was located here from 1904 until 1939.  Other tenants included R.G. Flowers, a veterinary surgeon as well as several attorneys, real estate agents, and physicians.  Affiliated groups such as the Pythian Joint Relief Board were also headquartered here.  The adjacent Knights of Pythias Club Building (CBD 7), erected in 1920, provided additional space for recreation and dining.  Tenant occupancy waned during the 1960s and, by 1976, the building’s only occupant was Radio Center Records.  In 1978 the Castle Hall was purchased by Bass Brothers Enterprises and redeveloped as part of Sundance Square.  The architectural firm of Thomas E. Woodward & Associates and Thomas S. Byrne, Inc., general contractor, carried out the restoration project.

The red brick Castle Hall is a striking building with its steeply gabled slate roof, corner turret, and truncated side gables.  A niche at the center of the front gable holds an “iron knight” – a seven-foot tall suit of armor complete with helmet and shield.  The current knight is a replica of the one that was brought to Fort Worth in 1882 for the original building.  In 1962 the Knights of Pythias Castle Hall was one of the first buildings in Fort Worth designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and, in 1970, the structure was listed on the National Register.  It is also a contributor to the proposed Central Business District Clubs and Fraternal Organizations National Register Thematic Group.

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