Keweenaw County Historical Society

Caretakers of the past, stewards of the future


The Rathbone School / Knights of Pythias Museum

The Rathbine as a one-room schoolLocated 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 other side of the Rathbone School contains regalia and memorabilia commemorating the Knights of Pythias.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.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

Related Links-

ALL KCHS buildings will NOT open in 2020 AND all public events are CANCELED for 2020

Based upon the recommendations of various well-documented public health, government and organizational sources, at the May 21, 2020 Keweenaw County Historical Society Board Meeting it was decided that the Keweenaw County Historical Society not staff any facilities or open any buildings in the summer of 2020 in light of the risk of the spread of the Covid-19 virus. It is further the stance of KCHS that the organization does not want to be in a position where we, as an organization, inadvertently spread this virus to visitors or to our volunteers at KCHS facilities/activities in the U.P.

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