The inscription engraved into the stone of the stately three story brick building standing on the corner of Main and Seminary Streets reads: “K of P Castle.”
The letters stand for Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization formed during the Civil War to promote brotherhood .
In 1863, a U.S. Treasury clerk in Washington D.C. founded the Knights of Pythias, hoping the nation torn apart by division could begin to heal once renewed by the spirit of brotherhood.
In 1902 the Knights of Pythias built an imposing brick building on the lot in Owenton once occupied by the Exchange Hotel, which burned to the ground in 1893.
Over the years this building has become a traditional landmark of Owen county.
Around 1910 Ike Wolfe opened a restaurant in this building and it remained there until 1960.
Ike’s daughter, Bertha, bought the building in 1934, and until it was purchased by Randy and Kasey Towels in 1995, it was known as the Wolfe Building.
Other businesses located here were Neat Feet and the Western Auto Store, which stocked everything from hardware to automobile parts to toys. In fact, many Owen countians purchased their kids’ Christmas toys at Western Auto.
On May 5, the Owen County Historical Society and the Owen County Public Library joined together to present a Historic Walking Tour which began at the 120 year old Wolfe Building.
The weather was nice, the crowd was good, and the stories shared by several of the participants added an entertaining flavor to the tour.
Larry Dale Perry and Bobby Gibson recalled the pool room, a favorite hangout, which was located in the basement of the Wolfe Building; and Ann Bush reminisced about the times she and her mother were offered the use of one of the sewing machines provided for countians by the Red Cross which also was located in this building.
The next stop on the tour was the location of the Owenton Elementary and High Schools; and despite the fact the schools were gone, folks provided ample entertainment as they shared delightful school day stories of playing tag and softball at recess, or pulling pranks on others, which often ended with swift retribution of no nonsense teachers.
It was these same teachers, however, who bandaged scrapes and cuts, and who, without the benefit of modern technology, quite capably taught generations of successful and responsible countians.
At the First Christian Church, long-time member, Sandy Bush , presented a history of the church, its founders, its beliefs and several fascinating stories of interesting facts about the church.
The First Christian Church, also known as Disciples of Christ Church, came from a movement in the middle 1800’s when several preachers felt the need to bring more unity among Christians and declared that there should be no creeds but Christ.
The Owenton First Christian Church built its first sanctuary between 1866-1870, and though the church burned in 1914, a second sanctuary had been built by 1915.
The magnificent organ, its towering pipes reaching up to the ceiling, was funded by the Carnegie Foundation; and the lovely stained-glass windows, whose magical beauty is reflected in glinting streams of sunlight, were made in Cincinnati, transported by train to Sparta, then brought to Owenton on flatbed wagons.
Our final stop was the former home of the Owen County Public Library (now the Owen County Senior Center).
In 1945, a group of 19 Owen county women met in the home of Elizabeth Holbrook Thomas to organize a Woman’s Club and discuss its first project of organizing a library in the county.
Owen County Library’s first home was one room upstairs in the old Peoples Bank, with volunteers working to collect and check out books.
In 1952, the library moved into four rooms over Farmers Bank, and Mrs. Frances Beverly was hired as a full time librarian.
It was during this year that the first Storytime was offered on Saturday afternoons.
In 1954 Owen county received its first bookmobile, and Owen county communities were delighted to be given the opportunity to share the magic of reading a book.
The library moved into two rooms upstairs in City Hall in 1958; and in 1973 a library was built on Main Street where it remained for 39 years.
The current Owen County Public Library opened in 2012; and today it continues to create an enduring legacy for Owen county and for the people who call Owen “home.”
I want to thank Jacob Lilly and Sandy Bush who presented the historical information at several of our stops; and a special thanks to all who attended our tour and to those whose stories added a personal touch to our history.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance to honor those who have sacrificed their lives in their service to America.
Join us on Thursday, May 25, for a special Memorial Day presentation; and please ask someone you know who has served or is currently serving our country to join us. We have a special gift for them.
Food and fellowship begins at 5:30 and the program is at 6:00.
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