There’s a castle in Texas? Pythian Home - Weatherford, Texas
Looks can be deceiving, castles still need funding.
Texas not known for large castles but there’s one, the Pythian Home in Weatherford. I recently had the opportunity to visit and spend time with the children that live there. I was amazed by everything I saw, experienced, and was very impressed with the children and staff members.
Justice Henry Rathbone was a musician, writer, and actor that performed in many plays such as the story of Damon and Pythias. Damon and Pythias, in the story, were members of a brotherhood established by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, supposedly had strict morals, were always truthful, honorable and possessed impeccable integrity. These were the traits that formed the historic basis of the Order Knights of Pythias. The foundation based on friendship, charity, good deeds and happiness of others, was demonstrated through the mission and building of the ‘Castle on the Hill.’ (These days the children are not required to have any connection to the Pythian organization for placement, they help who they can).
The castle was built in 1897 and opened in 1909, and was originally designed to house 250 people. The staff had offices and quarters on the first floor. The second floor was for orphaned children, matrons, teachers, classrooms, and an auditorium. The basement was sectioned into apartments for widows and their children. It was designed with the intent to add more quarters if necessary, but by 1914 there were so many orphaned boys that they had to build a wing just for them, and in 1925 a girl’s dormitory was built. The last remaining widow died in 1970 and there wasn’t a need for widows to live there anymore, BUT, there was still a need for the children, as there is today.
The home at one time was self sustaining, complete with its own hospital, though small, raising their own beef, they even had their own dairy, garden and canned their own goods. By 1972 the FDA changed the regulations and most of those facilities including the hospital and dairy were shut down. They were no longer allowed to participate in the canning of their own produce and fruit, and by 1976 they were not as self sufficient anymore.
The Home has suffered over the years, but children remain on site and are supported daily. The facility isn’t State funded, operated mostly via donations and volunteers. The Pythian organization supports and organizes fundraises etc. for the children and home. Renovations are usually via volunteers, funds donated through fundraising events, and of course through the generosity of the community and others. The children always come first, and are very happy and well taken care of. They seemed so loved and I felt as if I loved them immediately, you just couldn’t help it. They were full of smiles and energy, even questions.
I had the privilege of spending time with the children that live in the Home; they are beautiful in their individual ways. When I arrived they were getting ready to eat their dinner and I was invited to join them. After dinner we visited and talked about creating and writing, the love of characters, drawing and illustrating. They listened, no kidding to every word I said, even the littlest guy there. We made fairy wings, ‘magical’ of course, and donated books. They loved them. I wish you could see what I see when the children hold ‘magical’ fairy wings in their hands, it’s such a beautiful sight. The children attend public school and come home to a beautiful castle each day. But I couldn’t help wondering what runs through their minds when they step off the bus each day; surely they still want to go home. Do they even understand why they are there? I don’t know. But I do know this, because of the castle on the hill the children have a place to call home and that counts!
by Amanda M. Thrasher
Texas Pythian Home in Weatherford, Texas, protects and takes care of the children whose families can’t, regardless of the reason. You may tour the facility and see Texas history and good works for yourself. Contact Public Relations Director, Cinde Watson (817) 594-4465 and make an appointment.
If you would like, you may also donate the following items and I can assure you they will not go to waste.
Mattress protectors, waterproof-twin size, washable
Vacuum cleaners with attachments-they go through a lot
Laundry detergent, cleaning supplies & soap
Paper towels, toilet paper
Brooms, windex, pledge, dust mops
Bathroom stalls for dorms
2x4 lay in lights T8 3 bulb fixtures
Clear shower curtain liners
Latex and Cloth gloves
Gift cards for the children to Walmart, Target, Fast food chains,
Movie gift cards
Renovations funding –pool on site, that must be brought to code. It was built years ago.
Gasoline powered concrete saw
Professional led paint removal
DVD players-the children go through a lot of these
Collage type picture frames
Causes Amanda Thrasher Supports
I spend time with lots of children my self; hospitals, orphanages, schools and private institutions. I really admire the 'Make a wish foundation,' and...