Council History
"A Rich and Charitable History within the Massillon Community"

Brief History of the Knights of Columbus

"On March 29, 1882, the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut granted the charter to the Knights of Columbus "for the purpose of rendering material aid and assistance to its members and their families." For Fr. Michael McGivney, curate of the St. Mary's Church in New Have, it marked the fulfillment of his vision to unite Catholic men in a society through which they might advance the ideals of their faith.

On January 9, 1882, Fr. McGivney assembled a group of men from his parish and described his vision of his fraternal society. ...

History of Massillon Council 554

On January 27, 1901, Massillon Knights of Columbus Council No. 554 was granted its charter from the Supreme Council, with a charter membership of 48 men. The Massillon K of C Council is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the city and one of the oldest councils in Ohio. J.A. Shaidnagle was the Charter Grand Knight of the new council, whose original clubrooms were located on Charles Avenue S.E. in the Sibila Building. Other meeting locations included rooms above the Lincoln Theatre, located on Lincoln Way E., the Arcade Building on Lincoln Way W.; the Schworm Building; the David Brothers Toy Company (formerly The Bear Furniture Co.) on Lincoln Way and the former First Christina Church (the Old Hall") on Third Street SE. Council 554 moved into its present facility on Cherry Road in 1976.

Information on the early years of Council 554 has been difficult to locate. However, the following was discovered in a 1932 Knights of Columbus "50th Anniversary" book on the councils in Ohio. Council 554 Financial Secretary Lester A. Wolf wrote the article on the council in Massillon:


Searching for a home

The "old hall" was purchased in the fall of 1958 from The First Christian Church. Shortly after this, the council did some redecorating and laid a new floor in a portion of the building. A mortgage-burning ceremony was held in June of 1961, and further remodeling plans were initiated. In 1963 new flooring was placed in the remainder of the upstairs, and panelling was added to the downstairs recreation room. The dining room and kitchen facilities were later improved. In the early spring of 1966 the final phase to be completed was the exterior remodeling when all the old stained glass windows were enclosed. The interior of the main hall also was redecorated and paneling was applied to the west wall of the main hall.


Council Growth

Massillon Council 554 and the Bishop Massillon Fourth Degree General Assembly are named for Bishop Jean Baptiste Massillon, who served as chaplain in the Court of King Louis XIV of France. The Bishop Massillon Assembly was formed on January 1, 1930, and encompasses members from the Massillon-Navarre and Canton areas. Prior to this the members belonged to the Canton Assembly. ...

Community Impact Over Ensuing Years

Over the years as the council grew, so did the enthusiasm of its members, who for many years have been active in works of charity and community involvement. Massillon Council's enthusiasm and pride is indicative of the fact that for the past several years it has been one of the top councils in the entire state of Ohio. We have earned numerous State Council and Supreme Council awards for participation in programs designed to help the Church, the community and youth. Council members are also actively involved in the fight against abortion, obscenity and pornography. The also promote projects to help those in need, financial or otherwise. Many of the program directors are in the top ten in the entire state, for their respective programs. ...

So here is a brief history of the Massillon Council and its work for the Church, the youth and the community. Is it any wonder that the Massillon K of C has been an award winning council almost from the time it was founded in 1901?

May the Massillon K. of C. be blessed with many more years as its members endeavor to further the work of Columbianism in the spirit of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.

Original article written by Dennis Fitzgerald, with additional information written by Ken Girt.

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