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Pythian Castle, Bisbee (access required)

The Knights of Pythias was one of a number of fraternal organizations founded in 19th Century America. (Others were the Grange, the Knights of Columbus, Order of Hibernians, and the Order of Elks. The Freemasons and Odd Fellows, two of the best-known groups, were founded in England in the 18th Century.) The Pythians were founded in Washington D.C. in 1864 by Justice H. Rathbone and five clerks. By 1900, there were almost 1 million members.

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Residents of Bisbee pose for a picture with a wrestling bear in front of Brewery Saloon on the town’s notorious Brewery Gulch in 1897.

Brewery Gulch’s Wrestling Bear

In southeastern Arizona in the 1890s a rancher named James Parker caught a bear cub and took it home to raise as a pet. It didn’t work out too well. Parker’s daughter Elizabeth, later Elizabeth Brown, said that as the bear grew it became too troublesome to keep at the ranch and finally her father took the animal, now half-grown, to Bisbee. He gave it to saloon keeper Joseph Muheim.