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African-American Knights of Pythias Group Erects New Building, 1928

-from The Afro-American (Baltimore), March 17, 1928, p. 2

W. Va. K. P.'s BORROW $55,000 HERE

Frozen Out in Wheeling Knights Appealed To National Benefit Co.

WASHINGTON. — Announcement has just been made by Mr. R. H. Rutherford, President of The National Benefit Life Insurance Company, that his organization had completed arrangements to loan $55,000.00 to the Wheeling Pythian Association, on the erection of a modern office building by that association, on the site known as premises 1025-27 Chapline street, Wheeling, W. Va.

The Pythians have held title to this property for some time, having purchased it for a moderate figure when Chapline was a closed street; but recently this street has been cut through connecting with the main boulevard leading out of Wheeling, and this property, is now in the heart of the business center of the city. Real estate barons, after being frustrated in their endeavors to buy out the Pythians retaliated by making it impossible for them to be financed. It was reported that these institutions kept the Pythians in suspense from time to time, and eventually turned them down, or quoted such onerous terms that they were unthinkable.

The Pythians conferred with The National Benefit Life Insurance Company, and made known their project of creating a modern office building, including stores, a theatre and auditorium, and the loan was made. The plans have been approved by the Department of Building Inspection of Wheeling authorizing Samuel Plato, race contractor, of Louisville, Kentucky, to erect the building and the razing of the present dwellings has already started.

The Pythian Building continued in operation into the fifties. The Pythian Theatre, later called the Fedo Theatre, operated served the African American community into the mid-1950s. In addition to facilities for the Pythian organization, the building contained a restaurant, initially called the Pythian Restaurant, but from 1938 on called The Palm Garden. The Pythian (sometimes Fraternity) Barbershop and the Friendship Billiard Parlor were other tenants.

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-Information on this page compiled by lhoracek
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