The supreme order of the Knights of Pythias was founded in Washington, D.C. on February 19, 1864 by Justus Rathbone. It has expanded into more than two-thousand subordinate lodges in the United States, Canada, Italy and Greece.
The primary objective of the Knights of Pythias is to promote friendship and to relieve suffering. Its’ distinguishing principles are friendship, charity, and benevolence. It is a non-denominational order. The name Pythias comes from a Greek story of two friends named Damon and Pythias, who lived about four hundred years before the beginning of the Christian era. Damon spoke against the king of Syracuse, who gained the throne by fraudulent means, and was condemned to death. Pythias risked his life to be a hostage for Damon, allowing him to bid his wife and child goodbye. Each was willing to die to save the other’s life. Their loyalty and friendship formed the basis for the principles of this order.
The Grand Lodge of Washington and Oregon constructed our building (originally known as The Pythian Home) in 1923 with the purpose of providing care and comfort for members of the order as they aged. An orphanage was constructed next to it to care for younger, orphaned Pythians’–which operated until the 1960s. Nursing care was also provided as the needs of the Pythians required it.
In 1980, to accommodate the increasing demand for independent retirement home living, The Grand Lodge of Washington and Oregon built a new addition. The new addition included 166 independent living retirement home apartment units. Half of the units are available at a subsidized rate, the other half accommodate private pay residents. The old part of our building is still open for retirement home community meeting space, but nursing care is no longer provided.