Historic Resources Commission - July 18, 2013
A local historic marker commemorating Pythian Hall will be unveiled at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 21, 2013, at the corner of Chestnut and Seventh streets. Built in 1902, Pythian Hall housed two important African-American fraternal organizations, the Knights of Pythias and the Prince Hall Masons, that helped newcomers find housing and jobs. The building also housed the Fraternal Funeral Home, which was started in 1928 by the Prince Hall Masons and was later acquired by Clark S. Brown, a prominent African-American business leader. Speakers at the unveiling will include Mayor Allen Joines, Council members Vivian H. Burke and Derwin L. Montgomery, Chairman Mark Maxwell of the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission, and John Presswood, a past master of the Prince Hall Masons 30th District.
Pythian Hall was constructed at this site in 1902 in a prominent African-American community. The three-story brick building housed the Prince Hall Masons and the Knights of Pythias on the second and third floors. These fraternal organizations helped incoming African-Americans find jobs and housing. Among commercial enterprises on the first floor were a newspaper press and the Fraternal Funeral Home, established in 1928 by the Prince Hall Masons, and later acquired by local business leader Clark S. Brown. Brown was instrumental in the success of the Prince Hall Masons, serving as the African-American order’s Most Worshipful Grand Master of North Carolina from 1959 to 1974, giving credence to the Masonic slogan, “From Whence We Came.” Pythian Hall was destroyed by fire in 1994.
Photos taken at the event are on the city flickr page