Abandoned Knights of Pythias Lodge part of 2019 Urban Loft Tour
Story & photos submitted to Urbana Daily Citizen
On October 14, 1894, Urbana’s Knights of Pythias Lodge turned off their gaslights and locked the door of their former Castle (Lodge) room on the third floor of 112 North Main St. The room was never used again for 125 years and is a true time warp. The gaslight is still there, the ornate wallpaper is hanging, the high Victorian woodwork, and the fraternal murals remain in place. And now you can see this lost world on the 2019 Urban Loft Tour to be held on Saturday, November 2 in downtown Urbana.
The Champaign County Preservation Alliance (CCPA) is hosting its fifth annual Urban Loft Tour on November 2 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The tour will have seven stops and features the upper floors of many downtown buildings in Urbana. The Urban Loft Tour illustrates the possibilities and potential for restoring downtown lofts and the benefits of urban living in Urbana.
In addition to the former Knights of Pythias Hall, this year’s tour will feature three finished loft spaces that are now the home to downtown dwellers. It will also feature one large building that is about to undergo restoration into a full two story family home on the second and third floors that once housed the Urbana Masonic Lodge from 1883 until 1916. Plus visitors will be able to see the continued progress on the Gloria Theater and the NX-23 Rail Car.
“We are excited to continue to show the potential of our loft spaces here in Urbana,” said CCPA Trustee Sandy Gonzalez. “Our loft tours have convinced at least six building owners to renovate their upstairs spaces and make the downtown more vibrant.” At the moment there are about 14 new loft spaces being created in Urbana.
The 2019 Urban Loft Tour will require climbing many stairs and is not handicap accessible. Tour goers are asked to bring flashlights and wear warm clothing.
Presale tickets are available for $12 and will be redeemed for tour booklets only at the Gloria Theater on the day of the tour. Tickets are available at most Urbana Bank locations, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, and on-line at www.ccpapreserveohio. org.
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