Restored window returns to Weiser's Pythian Castle after 10 years

An employee with Weiser-based MTE Communications used a truck with a bucket to take off the boards covering the restored stained glass window on Monday, much to the delight of the members of the Weiser Architectural Preservation Committee who were on hand to see the unveiling. Right below, the window from the inside glows. Photo by Steve Lyon
Steve Lyon
 Members of the Weiser Architectural Preservation Committee on Monday unveiled the original, one-of-a-kind stained glass window that has been restored and replaced at the Pythian Castle.
 The WAPC, which owns the Pythian Castle and the old train depot downtown, invited members to see the restored window back in its orignal location in the castle, one of Weiser’s most iconic and photographed buildings.
 Local telecommunications company MTE loaned the committee a truck with a bucket to unveil the window. The public will get to view the window from the inside in all its splendor at a later date.
 WAPC member Dorothy Evans said a lot of people in the community helped with the window restoration. 
 “I think it’s exciting that it’s finally happening,” she said.
 It has taken more than a decade to restore the window and return it to the second floor of the castle. It was removed several years ago after it began to fall apart due primarily to age. 
 Some of the colored glass pieces actually fell on to the sidewalk below when Idaho Street in front of the Pythian Castle was repaved and heavy equipment shook the building. 
 It was placed in storage upstairs in the castle for a decade and the window in the front of the castle was boarded up. The nonprofit WAPC secured a $10,000 grant in 2016 through the Idaho Department of Transportation to restore the window.
 Portland-based stained glass artist David Schlicker was hired to do the restoration. The 6-foot by 8-foot window and its loose pieces were trucked in crates to the craftsman’s studio for eight months of restoration work. 
 Every piece of glass was soaked and scrubbed until they were their true and original color for matching and replacement. In all, the artist replaced 50 pieces of glass out of the 400 or so pieces in the window. The window was completely and painstakingly restored and shipped back to Weiser.
 The window design is considered traditional American Victorian-era glass that dates to around the turn of the 20th century, or slightly earlier. The Pythian Castle was completed in 1904, a notation that is etched prominently on the front of the building. The opalescent glass in the window includes amber, rose, blue and green.
 After the unveiling on Monday, which elicted a cheer, members of the committee went inside and upstairs in the castle to see the stained glass window up close. 
 They also toured the renovation of the ground floor of the castle in progress. Eventually, the nonprofit Bee Tree folk school will have offices and classrooms in the castle, along with much more.
 The WAPC also presented museum volunteer Dottie Emert with a couple of special gifts for her assistance in documenting, photographing and cataloging all of the artifacts that came out of the Pythian Castle.
 The items once belonged to the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization that was active in Weiser until about the 1960s.
 Emert not only put some of the items on display at the museum, while putting the rest in safe storage, she also paid to dry clean some of the clothing that belonged to the Knights. In total, there were about 25 boxes of items to go through and preserve. She finished the project last summer.
 “It was just a tremendous amount of research and work,” WAPC member Dave Bean said, as he presented Emert with a gift card for chocolates and a lifetime membership in the WAPC.
 In the process, Emert has become the local expert on the Knights of Pythias and offered some details on the organization and what she said were the group’s elaborate ceremonies.
 If you became a Knight, she said, they presented you with a sword to go with the sashes they wore on their uniforms. There was a king seated on the dias during initiations and guards posted at the door.
 She sorted through 15 or so swords that once belonged to Knights. Some were large and some were short. The Knights also had crowns and wigs and robes that she found in boxes.
 “I thank you for the opportunity to do this. I had so much fun,” Emert said.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

Connect with Us