The Niles Knights of Columbus Council celebrated its 100th anniversary April 13 with a dinner at a local restaurant and a gathering at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Vienna Avenue. The council was chartered April 13, 1913.
A proclamation was presented to the council from Mayor Ralph Infante acknowledging the organization.
According to historical accounts, the Knights of Columbus rented various halls around the city prior to purchasing a home on North Main Street in the early 1920s. By 1929, that location was abandoned and the council began meeting in a hall above the local movie theaters in town. In 1959, they purchased the property on Vienna Avenue and began building their current meeting and banquet hall. The hall was formally dedicated on April 24, 1960.
The Niles Knights of Columbus 1681 marked its 100th anniversary last week with a dinner and a gathering at the K of C Hall on Vienna Avenue. Pictured front row, from left, are Bob Raschilla, trustee; Joe Durig, grand knight; Frank Burke, recorder; Angelo Falcione, trustee; and Larry Denno, inside guard. Back row, from left, are Dan Minor, warden; Jim Futey, treasurer; Joseph Zuzolo, financial secretary; Russell Blank, chancellor; Mike Pachuta, knight; Mike Miranda, outside guard; and Andy Dubaj, deputy guard.
The first Grand Knight was Matthew M. McGowan and the Rev. F.M. Scullen was the first Chaplain. Daniel P. O'Connell was the first Deputy Grand Knight of the organization. Duties of the organization in its early years included taking part in the war efforts for World War I and making contributions to the K of C Canteen.
The council was responsible for many civic and patriotic duties including buying war bonds during World War II, taking part in defense work and in the U.S.O. program, contributing to the United War Fund and sending checks and Christmas boxes to members in the Armed Forces.
According to accounts, 37 members served in the Armed Forces during the early years.
During the war years, the council sponsored and contributed to bloodmobile stops in Niles, breaking records by obtaining 237 pints of blood at one of the blood drives they sponsored.
By 1940, the organization was made up of 33 members, but by 1983, membership consisted of 285 associate members and 198 insurance members, totaling 483 active members.