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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Houston in Harris County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Ancient Order of Pilgrims

 
 
Ancient Order of Pilgrims Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, December 30, 2012
1. Ancient Order of Pilgrims Marker
Inscription. After the Civil War, African Americans faced difficulties finding insurance or securing loans. In the 1870s, Jamaican immigrant Henry Cohen Hardy came to Houston, where he was an educator. Hardy established the Ancient Order of Pilgrims in 1882 to help solve economic problems faced by Houston's African American population. The fraternal organization provided burial insurance and real estate loans. It soon branched out with chapters called sanctuaries. Members came from all economic levels. Each year delegates met at conclaves to review finances and hold elections.

By 1926, with about 60 sanctuaries, the order chose to build a headquarters and office building in Houston. Officers hired noted architect Alfred C. Finn. Located at Bagby Street and West Dallas Avenue, the four-story, brick Pilgrim Temple Building was triangular in shape and featured elaborate finishes and a rooftop garden. In addition to the order's headquarters, it housed the Houston Negro Chamber of Commerce, O.K. Manning and Roscoe Cavitt, executive secretaries; Madame N.A. Franklin Beauty School, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Jemison, proprietors; the Houston Defender newspaper, C.F. Richardson, publisher; Askew Drug Store; and offices of physicians, attorneys and various businesses. Booker T. Washington High School, as well as sororities, fraternities and other social
Ancient Order of Pilgrims & Sons of the Texas Republic Markers image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, December 30, 2012
2. Ancient Order of Pilgrims & Sons of the Texas Republic Markers
clubs used the ballroom and auditorium for functions. The temple was a focal point for Houston's black community for more than 40 years.

The Ancient Order folded in 1931 but was revived as the Progressive Order of Pilgrims in 1932 by G.A. Kennedy. In the early 1960s, the group sold the building, later razed. Business owners who once occupied it now work to preserve its memory as a historic site.
 
Erected 2005 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13313.)
 
Location. 29° 45.579′ N, 95° 22.306′ W. Marker is in Houston, Texas, in Harris County. Marker is on Lamar Street 0.1 miles west of Bagby Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Houston TX 77002, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sons of the Republic of Texas (here, next to this marker); Sam Houston Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sam Houston Park Monument (about 300 feet away); San Felipe Cottage (about 300 feet away but has been reported missing); Pillot House (about 400 feet away but has been reported missing); Houston City, Republic of Texas
Historic St. John's Church and Staiti House in distance image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, December 30, 2012
3. Historic St. John's Church and Staiti House in distance
The 1891 St. John Church was built by German farmers in northwest Harris County for their Evangelical Lutheran congregation. The church is a vernacular interpretation of the Gothic Revival style of architecture from the 19th century. Elements of the Gothic Revival style are evident in the church’s arched windows and shutters. The structure was moved from its original site on Mangum Road to Sam Houston Park in 1968. The handmade cypress plank pews in the interior attest to the “can do” spirit that built this elegantly simple place of worship.
(about 500 feet away); Julia Ideson Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Houston Public Library (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Houston.
 
Also see . . .  Pilgrim Temple. (Submitted on January 2, 2013, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.)
 
Categories. African AmericansIndustry & Commerce
 
Historic Pillot House image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, December 30, 2012
4. Historic Pillot House
The 1868 Pillot House was built by Eugene Pillot and was originally located at 1803 McKinney. This house is an example of the Eastlake Victorian style. The repetitive balusters and two dimensional cut-out ornamentation seen on the house were made possible by new machinery of the time period. Architectural enhancements such as full-length windows and wrap-around porches illustrate how residences were adapted to the harsh climate of Houston.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. This page has been viewed 367 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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