The Rathbone School / Knights of Pythias Museum
Located in Eagle Harbor, two blocks west of the harbor’s swimming beach, this extensively restored one-room school served the community from 1853 to 1872. The photo above shows the current building as the way the building appeared ca. 1900 with a tour of guests from the fraternal lodge, The Knights of Pythias. It was in this building that Justus H. Rathbone, who began teaching here in 1860, conceived the idea for the ritual of the Knights of Pythias, a secret fraternal society which he founded. This interdenominational organization, which had a peak membership of a quarter-million, continues to conduct its charitable work today across North America.
(Photo: One side of the Rathbone School is set up as an original one-room schoolhouse.)
The school has long been an object of pilgrimage by society members. In 1931, a thousand members gathered to pay homage to their society’s founder and to witness the unveiling of the nearby granite monument in honor of Justus Rathbone.
(Photo: The other side of the Rathbone School contains regalia and memorabilia commemorating the Knights of Pythias.)
Visiting The Rathbone School Museum
Hours & Admission- The Rathbone School and museum is open mid-June to early October. The 2022 closing date is October 9th. Hours 10 AM - 5 PM daily. There is no admission charge for this museum, however a donation is appreciated.
Location- The Rathbone School is located at the intersection of 3rd and Center streets in the town of Eagle Harbor, Michigan. GPS: N 47 27.441 W 88 09.761,Decimal Degrees: 47.45735, -88.16268
The Gift Shop in the Maritime Museum of the Eagle Harbor Light Station Complex will be closing on September 18th. The KCHS museum sites will be closing on the second weekend of October. Please see the site and rental webpages for specific dates and operation information.
The Keweenaw County Historical Society’s Board of Directors will follow the COVID-19 Epidemic Orders issued by the State of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services. These public health orders are updated as needed, so KCHS may need to change access to buildings and events.