What better place to hold a vintage fashion show than a vintage building?
And not just any old building. Saturday’s Valentine Vintage Fashion Show will be held in Castle Hall of Tacoma’s Pythian Temple — arguably the grandest room in all of the South Sound.
The Pythians, a fraternal service club, have owned the building across from the Pantages Theater for 107 years. The chance to tour the century-old building is as much of a draw as the hour-long couture parade. The building is virtually unchanged since its construction.
The fashion show starts at 2 p.m. and features models wearing authentic dresses and matching accessories from 1885-1970. The event benefits the Pythians and Goodwill.
The clothing will come from The Closet at Goodwill and the models are members of the Golden Oldies Guild. A pianist playing a baby grand piano will accompany the show.
The temple building belongs to The Knights of Pythias (35 male members) and the Sisters of Pythias (32 female members.) Both groups meet for monthly social events and business matters. Members support a rotating group of charities that currently include My Sister’s Pantry, Tone School and Cascade Regional Blood Services.
But most members are drawn in by the architecture, said Phillip Blackledge, the group’s financial secretary and historian.
“I joined for the building. So did most of our members,” Blackledge said. “We are a membership of preservationists.
Temple manager Barbara Herman said, “We don’t want some corporate organization coming in and using it for a grocery store.”
The approximately 65-feet-by-40-feet Castle Hall is the main meeting room for the lodge.
It holds two stories of carved woodwork. Pillars, skylights, molded plaster, a pipe organ and murals rise even higher. Grand wooden thrones anchor either end.
The jaw-dropping room is a hidden treasure in the nondescript buildings of downtown Tacoma.
“(Castle Hall is) a tangible connection to the Edwardian period. It’s been unchanged since 1907. It’s a real treasure,” member Michael Shaudis said.
Other rooms in the temple are chock full of ephemera: paintings, swords, robes, documents and more. Fashion show spectators will be able to tour the temple building after the program.
Blackledge said no other Pythian temple in the West compares to Tacoma’s. The group wants to keep the building functional and open for a variety of civic events.
Pythian Sisters Valentine Vintage Fashion Show
When: 1-5 p.m. Saturday (fashion show is 2 p.m.)
Where: Pythian Temple, 9261/2 Court C, 924 Broadway, Tacoma
Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door
Information: 253-566-6567Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541 craig.sailor@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/getout