Sometimes it’s impossible to actually find the text of the landmarks plaques throughout NYC. Since the Pythian Temple Condo is such a unique building, we thought it might be fun to copy down the full text that one finds by the entrance – and so it goes:
The Pythian Temple was built in 1926 to serve as a lodge for the order of Knights of Pythias a benevolent fraternal organization founded during the civil war. Thomas W. Lamb, who was renowned for his opulent movie palaces, designed the Art Deco structure using a combination of Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian motifs.
About 150 feet tall, it was constructed mostly in buff brick and terra cotta. The ground floor colonnade, with Assyrian-type heads, is centered on a brilliantly glazed blue terra cotta entry pavilion. The middle section steps back at about 100 feet up, with four seated Pharaonic figures similar to those of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. Two more setbacks rise to a highly colored Egyptian-style colonnade, and two giant urns carried by teams of yellow, red and green oxen.
The interior contained a double height lobby decorated with black marble in the Egyptian style. On the second floor was the 1,600 seat columnless auditorium with a stage and balcony. A series of fifteen lodge rooms, dining facilities, billiards, bolwing alleys and gymnasium were among other accomodations provided inside.
In 1982 the Pythian Temple was transformed into condominiums, winning The Residential Deisgn Award from the American Institute of Architects for the conversion and restoration.