Knights of Pythias of New Castle, Indiana


















LODGE #3-5-7






The New Castle Courier

New Castle, Ind., Friday, June 12, 1891.


Tuesday’s Grand Event the Dedication of the New K. of P. Castle.


Imposing Parade – Eloquent Orations – Impressive Ceremonies – Success

During the past thirty years public sentiment has undergone a radical change in its attitude toward secret benevolent organizations. The growth of fraternal feeling has kept equal pace with the marvelous development of the country, and the great benevolent bodies have been abreast of the grand procession marching with ceaseless tread to that enviable goal – a higher and happier civilization. Among these organizations which have sprung up from time to time, one of the greatest growth and widest influence, and one which has found the readiest response to its teachings in the generous chivalry of American hearts, is the Knights of Pythias. This Order found a foothold in Indiana soon after its organization in 1865, and has spread rapidly over the state since that time.

New Castle was one of the communities in Indiana that early sought to have the beautiful legend of Damon and Pythias perpetuated in its midst and on the 18th of May, 1873, Crescens Lodge No. 33 was organized, with twenty-one charter members. It was instituted by Charles P. Carty, Grand Keeper of Records and Seals, assisted by Past Chancellors Wm. P. Stahr and John M. Ray, and the entire membership of Cambridge Lodge No. 9. It required just two days to secure the requisite signers to the petition, and the following became charter members: D. W. Kinsey, A. W. Coffin, R. H. Mellette, Emile Kahn, E. B. Mooney, George N. Rea, W. H. Albright, Leonidas Rodgers, H. L. Mullen, N. T. Nixon, A. M. Grose, C. H. Cunningham, C. R. Scott, Henry Devins, John F. Murphey, W. G. Hillock, Lee Harvey, Henry Herliman, Frank Bowers and Thomas B. Loer. The first officers installed were:

Past Chancellor – A.M. Grose

Chancellor Commander – Thomas B. Loer

Vice Chancellor – A.W. Coffin

Keeper of the Records and Seals – George N Rea

Prelate – H.L. Mullen

Master of Finance – E.B. Mooney

Master of the Exchequer – D.W. Kinsey

Master at Arms – C.R. Scott

Inside Guard – W.G. Hillock

Outside Guard – R.H. Mellette

From its modest beginning, the lodge has grown to be one of numbers and one of the wealthiest in the state. The membership has increased from the original twenty-one to much more than ten times that number and the exchequer from a balance on the wrong side to nearly $25,000. The lodge itself has not only grown, but all branches of the Order have found a footing along with it. In May, 1887, New Castle Division No. 34 of the Uniformed Rank was instituted, and is now in a condition commensurate with the parent organization. A section of the Endowment Rank is also attached to the lodge, and many of the members are preparing for the comforts of the widows, and orphans that are sure to come. Not a little of the fame of this celebrated lodge has been won, and justly, too, by New Castle’s famous Knights of Pythias Band, which, under the skillful direction of Prof. Frank Wilson, has become of the most widely celebrated non-professional bands in the entire country.

The present officers are:

Past Chancellor – George Rogers

Chancellor Commander – A.D. Ogborn

Vice Chancellor – Dan Monroe

Prelate – J.W. Maxim

Keeper of the Records and Seals – George Wilson

Master of Finance – Ed Mahan

Master of the Exchequer – John D. Wright

Master at Arms – Nal Pence

Inner Guard – Perry Canaday

Outer Guard Linn A. Gander

Years ago the castle hall became too small for the meetings of the lodge and the subject of procuring another and larger one was widely agitated. The members were a unit on the proposition that the lodge should meet in its own, and it was finally decided to build a castle which should be an ornament to the city, an honor to the lodge and a lasting monument to the beneficent teachings of friendship, charity and benevolence. The resources were converted into cash, and in 1887 a tract of ground 82 ½ x 165 feet, facing the public square was purchased. This exhausted the exchequer, and then, on account of lack of funds, there came that hardest task of energy and enthusiasm - a long wait. Finally sufficient money was realized from various sources to begin the building. Plans for a magnificent structure were prepared, and in the summer of 1890 the walls began to rise. Since that time six hundred thousand brick, one hundred cars loads of stone, five thousand yards of plastering and other materials in proportion have, by the hands of half a hundred skilled mechanics, converted this structure into a handsome edifice.

The castle faces south on Broad Street. It is of brick, trimmed with stone, 82 ½ feet front, 55 feet high, three stories and is 82 feet deep. Its architecture is a style of its own – being a combination of all the modern styles blended into an edifice beautiful to behold. The front and west sides are set in red mortar, and at first glance one would suppose that pressed brick had been used. It is supplied with water and gas – the latter for both lighting and heating. Inside it is furnished entirely with quartered oak, with hard maple floors. The basement is divided into compartments, with strong heavy walls and modern improvements. This is used by the three merchants who occupy the three store rooms on the first floor. The front is of iron, with French plate-glass windows, 68 x 144, rooms 30, 22 and 26 feet respectively, in the clear. The entrance to the second floor is at the southeast corner, up a five foot oak stairway. At the end of a little hall running south from the top of the stairs is the wicket that opens into the ante room 25 x 26, with a cloak room 12 x 14.

The castle hall proper is 50 x 52 ½, with twenty-six foot ceiling. It is lighted from the south and west by eleven windows, each fourteen feet high with a stained glass, hinged transom. There are registers and ventilators, and by means of a large shaft, the air in the room is changed every five minutes. The ceiling is paneled and molded in a very artistic manner. In one corner is the property room, twenty-five feet square and at the north end shut off by sliding doors sixteen feet wide and eleven feet high, is another 24 x 26 foot assembly chamber. The officers room is 15 x 26.

To the east of the castle hall, and through a hall fourteen feet wide, is the waiting room for candidates, which is also used for a reading and smoking room. The room is 18 x 26. By means of a wide hall, the third story can be reached without touching either the waiting or lodge rooms. A hall fourteen feet wide separates the third story into three different apartments. Near the head of the stairs is the kitchen, 18 x 26, and opposite it is the banquet hall, 26 x 60 with a ceiling 17 feet high. Here can be seated 200 people. Across the hall from the banqueting room is the Armory for the Uniformed Rank which is 26 x 14. The building is exceeding well plumbed, and fitted up with closets and wash rooms, and particular attention has been paid to sanitary matters and acoustics.

To dedicate this modern castle – the home of the newer and nobler chivalry; the chivalry of forbearance and fraternal love ; of kindness and true manhood – the members of Crescens Lodge set apart last Tuesday. Carrying into the preparation for this momentous event in the history of their lodge and city that ceaseless energy which has marked their course thus far, they arranged to make the occasion one long to be remembered, not only by themselves and the citizens of the city, but by Knights of Pythias all over the country.

Notwithstanding the threat of bad weather for two days before and even up to 9 or 10 o’clock in the morning of the eventful day, the trains arriving Monday night and Tuesday morning brought large delegations, the arrival of which filled the hearts of the anxious and doubting with renewed hope and courage. The labor of decorating with arches, flags, bunting and evergreen commenced Monday afternoon and was prosecuted with diligence and to good effect. By 10 o’clock Tuesday morning New Castle was array in holiday attire. The town was never before so elaborately decorated. Everybody seemed to enter into the spirit of the occasion. Neighbor vied with neighbor to produce the most striking and attractive effect. Everywhere the colors of the organization, blue, yellow and red, were prominently displayed, banners and shields with K. of P. devices and emblems hung from every window, and there was literally no end to the exhibition of National flags. The iron arches across Main and Broad Streets were turned to good use, and were made things of beauty by the touch of artistic hands. The scene was magnificent.

At an early hour Tuesday morning the whole city was astir, and the measured tramp of feet betoken the coming host. Every arriving from north, south, east or west brought its quota of Uniformed Rank and other Knights. Soon the air resounded with strains of music, and divisions marched hither and thither, in preparation of the grand parade, followed wherever they went by crowds of people anxious to admire their attractive uniforms and witness their maneuvers. The attendance of citizens from Henry and adjoining counties was very large, the streets being in a perfect jam from morning until far into the night.

The arrangements for the parade involved the reception of the Knights arriving on the morning Panhandle and L., E. & W. trains from the north, east and south thence across town to receive the divisions and delegations expected on the “Big 4” from Indianapolis and other points, thence back to the Panhandle in time to meet the Hamilton contingent, which were down on the program as escort to Governor Campbell of Ohio. Belated trains interfered with arrangements to some, but not a serious degree. It was 12 o’clock noon when the column started from Broadway, east of the railroad, and moved in imposing splendor on the line of march in the following order:

(unreadable) O. Barnard, Marshal, and staff;

New Castle K. of P. Band;

Brig. Gen. James R. Ross and staff;

First Regiment Band;

First Regiment, Indiana Brigade, Uniform Rank;

Logansport Uniform Rank Band;

Detached Divisions, Uniformed Rank;

Third Regiment, Indiana Brigade, Uniform Rank;

Judge George K. Nash, Gen. James R. Carnahan and;

Other Distinguished members with escort, in carriages;

Hagerstown Band;

Subordinate Lodges

And marched west to Main Street, north to Mooney, west to Elliott, south to Broad, east to Court, south to Indiana avenue, east to Main, south on Main, countermarch and north on Main to Broad when the line broke ranks. The display exceeded the most sanguine expectations of the most enthusiastic planners of the demonstration.

At the conclusion of the parade a vast assemblage collected about the speaker’s stand erected in the court house yard, where the program as further arranged was proceeded with. Hon. L.P. Mitchell, in eloquent and fitting words extended a cordial welcome to the city’s guests. Hon. Henry U. Johnson of Richmond, responded in a happy vein, after which an adjournment was taken until 1:30 pm.

In anticipation of an enormous demand upon the culinary resources of the town, the lady members of several of the churches had made arrangements to feed the hungry for a small consideration. The Presbyterians established themselves in Gough’s room, corner Broad and Court streets, the Lutherans in the room recently vacated by Williams, Gilbert & Runyan, the Christians in the room of W.F.Boor, on east Broad, the Methodists in the Powell room opposite the Courier office, and the Episcopalians under canvass adjoining the K. of P. castle. All of these places were quickly transformed into the appearance of first-class restaurants. All were crowded at the meal hours on Tuesday with hungry patrons, who were mostly satisfactorily fed at moderate cost. It was a day of toil for the ladies and their male assistants, but the financial results were good.

At 1:30 o’clock p.m. the crowd again assembled in the courthouse yard, where, after music by the K. of P. band, Judge George K. Nash, of the Ohio Supreme Court, delivered a scholarly and interesting oration. Governor Campbell, of Ohio, had agreed to come and full arrangements had been made with his home lodge at Hamilton to escort him, but at a late hour the serious illness of the Governor’s wife prevented him from keeping the engagement, and he sent Judge Nash as his substitute. Naturally there was disappointment with many in there not being able to hear Governor Campbell, but he surely could not have delivered a more entertaining address than that of Judge Nash.

At 3:30 o’clock the Castle Hall became the center of attraction on account of the dedicatory exercises set for that hour. The second and third floors of the great structure were quickly packed with a mass of living but orderly humanity. Hon. C. S. Hernley, for and on behalf of Crescens Lodge, in an eloquent recital of the history of the efforts of New Castle Pythians, resulting in the grand edifice now owned and occupied by the lodge, presented the castle to the Grand Lodge for dedicatory purposes. Past Grand Chancellor Chas. E. Shively, assisted by a coterie of Grand Lodge officers, performed the beautiful and impressive ceremonies consecrating the castle to the purposes designed by its projectors. With this occasion was concluded the official exercises of the day, and after it the knights were free to enjoy themselves as best they could until the hour of departure for their several homes rolled around.

The grand ball in the evening, for which several hundred invitations had been issued, kept many. This proved one of the most brilliant affairs ever recorded in the city. Over two hundred couples were present, and although the room is a very large one, the floor was at times so crowded as to be uncomfortable. But everybody was happy and seemed to think that if they could not dance they could talk and laugh. Montani Bros. full orchestra furnished the music, and the ball was a decided success in every particular.

This is the accounting of the dedication of the Castle Hall dedication that is still used by Crescens Lodge No. 33 today! We hope you have enjoyed reading this part of our history!