WW II Era Pictures from the O'Reilly General Hospital Complex
Building 503 "Guard House" Prisoner Quarters in the Guard House
POW Wards POW's Cleaning Pythian Windows
Service Club Reception Area Dancing in the Ballroom
Basement Game Room Sitting/Reading Lounge
|THE HAUNTED PYTHIAN CASTLE - HISTORY
PARANORMAL TASK FORCE has been to this enchanted haunted location many times to conduct
ghost hunting workshops, interactive investigations and even to participate in filming of a segment of
the movie "Children of the Grave". Through our multiple visits, overnight stays and exploration
within every nook, cranny and tunnel; we have had many experiences and can truly say this is one, if
not the most haunted location, in the state of Missouri and possibly the Midwest.
With it's eloquent charm, mystic atmosphere, mysterious past, lovely hosts and an abundance of
occurring unexplainable events; this is one place that you want to add to your "places to visit before
you pass on" list. When you indulge yourself within this building once, you will find yourself with an
addiction to return multiple times as we have to experience more of what it has to offer.
This historic building was originally built 1911-1913 by a fraternal organization called the Knights of
Pythias as a home for the widows and orphans of its members. It was called the Pythian Castle. The 3-
story, 27,000 square-foot limestone building which now stands at 1451 East Pythian in Springfield, MO
is an example of Late Gothic Revival architecture and built to resembled a stone castle .
The at one time neighboring Army's O'Reilly General Hospital Complex was erected around 1940 and
sat on over 160 acres and contained over 200 buildings. This complex was used for the treatment of
service men during World War II. In 1941/42 the complex expanded to include the Paytian Castle and
Springfield's Smith Park. The army bought the Pythian Castle in 1942 for $29,500 and made it the
O'Reilly Service Club for enlisted men. During this time period the Castle was known as Building 501
with the Old Laundry Building behind it becoming the Guard House and Building 503. What is little
known by most is that this complex also contained a Prisoner of War facility which housed three plus
wards of prisoners during the war with many being used for labor related duties throughout the
massive complex. The guard house also contained prisoner cells as well.
The O'Reilly Service Club was boasted as being the best in the country and contained what was called
Theatre 1 for the showing of the latest movies, pool rooms and a bowling alley in the basement, music
listening rooms, library, sitting lounges, ballroom and much more. Many famous entertainers, military
icons and more have walked the floors of this magnificent building.
In 1947 it became part a Veterans' Administration 500 Bed Tubercular Hospital. The VA vacated the
complex in early 1952 where the property once again went up on the market. In the interim the
Department of Defense permitted the Southwestern Power Administration, a federal agency, to
temporarily utilize several buildings for storage. Further, under agreement with the VA in 1949, the
Army Reserves continued to occupy the old stone-constructed Pythian Home in the western portion
of the what was known as the O’Reilly tract.
In 1955 it was finally decided on how the tract was divided and sold with the National Guard obtaining
the property around the Castle, the General Council of the Assemblies of God obtained much of the
remaining property for erection of the Evangel College of the Arts and Sciences and other smaller
divisions to other entities. In 1980 the Ozarks Area Community Action Corps (OACAC) leased the
building and remained there until 1994. The building was sold at auction in January 1994 to Gene and
Rhonda Taylor who kept the castle until 2000 when Linda and Frank Gray became its new owners and
planned to use the building for work with the disabled. The current sweet and lovely owner Tamara
Finocchiaro purchased this magnificent building in 2003. Currently the Castle is closed to the public
for renovations & restoration and will be open soon.
More information concerning the history can also be found on the Official Pythian Castle website at
The Pythian Castle also was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 2009 and the
application for such with further history and pictures can be found at:
|History and Profile
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