50 Pine Road

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

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History of Council #246


A history compiled by Mark Phillips, PGK

Our K of C Council 246 was instituted on the 4th of July in 1897 and eventually occupied a clubroom at 460 Broadway, about where the Subway shop is today.

Soon that space became too small and members raised funds to purchase a three-story building at 27 Woodlawn Avenue.

During World War Two, the building was used largely as a “Servicemen’s Center,” where many soldiers from across the United States, Canada and foreign countries visited and were entertained while stopping over in Saratoga Springs.

The local city Knights and the council building became a center of Catholic and charitable activity. In addition to serving as the Knights “clubhouse”, it provided an area of recreation and brotherhood for the Columbian Squires Circle, the council sponsored Boy Scouts and numerous benevolent assistance.

The council sponsored numerous events and in a city that offered so much during the heydays of being known as a resort town, the area held many conventions and conclaves.

Saratoga Council 246 had the privilege of being the host council for several New York State K of C conventions, in 1907, 1918, 1934 and again in 1941. With so much to offer and members that exemplified Catholicism and true Christian virtues, 246 remained as one of the most successful and thriving councils in the Order. A pinnacle of respect and leadership was evident in 1954 when one of our own members and a Past Grand Knight, Denis A. Mansfield, was elected to serve and lead all councils as the first and only member to serve as State Deputy.

A published account in a book depicting history of the Knights of Columbus in New York State noted that all who attended these state conventions “can attest to the spirit of hospitality which pervades the members of Saratoga Council”.

As time passed, the old home on Woodlawn was sold and a large mansion at 142 Lake Avenue was obtained. As a clubroom, meetings and events were hosted and held here, but on the insistence of the late council Chaplain, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Daniel R. Burns, no bar could be present at the home. So, to keep his directive, liquor bottles were stored out of sight. When it was time for drinks, all were served their beverage of choice and the bottles were returned to the storage area, located in the back of a piano!!!

To close this short story, 27 Woodlawn Avenue was again purchased, a new council building was constructed in the early 1970’s, and we eventually moved here to our current building, 50 Pine Road, Saratoga Springs, at the turn of the new millennium.

Since its Saratoga Springs inception in 1897, K of C Council 246 has been led by 89 elected Grand Knights, the first being John J. Mooney, who succeeded founding and acting Grand Knight William J. Delaney.

As Knights of Columbus worldwide are known for establishing and following four virtues of Charity, Fraternity, Unity, and Patriotism, millions of dollars have been raised and donated through their charitable good works. This council alone has provided major leaders that have emerged, leading the council and corporal works of mercy. Locally, our Saratoga council has also produced many citizens that have been instrumental in leadership qualities. Three former mayors of the city have come from our ranks. Numerous knights from the council have served on the city council, many county and state elected officials, various state Supreme Court justices, attorneys, professionals, notable authors, military veterans, educators, civic leaders, civil servants, business owners, laborers, the disabled and unemployed, company and corporate employees, service industries, the white and blue labor ranks that are the backbone of community and the vast amount and foundation of our Order—the common man, a person that is respected, the family man, the nice guy and most important, the Catholic gentleman.

Literally thousands of our local members have passed thru the doors of our council chambers, our meeting room, and the social halls of our buildings since 1897. And, appropriately, after only 18 years of existence, the council requested from Supreme and was granted the honor to establish Saratoga Assembly 745 Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, in 1915. Members that were chosen to join the patriotic order of knighthood have honorably displayed the highest and most visible expression of love for country and dedication to their citizenship in the Americas. 59 gentlemen have also been elected to serve our Assembly in the office of Faithful Navigator, currently served by our Deacon and two-term faithful navigator, William Gaul. Many of our council and assembly leaders have also assumed duties to lead both the third and fourth degrees and contributed hundreds of hours co-working with their brothers and sir knights.

The leaders of both the council and the assembly have been chosen by their peers to lead by example and to direct activities, with their best effort, for the good of all. This has always included each member, our families, the community, and above all, the Catholic Church.

Our council archives contain many written reports, accountings, minute books, photos, booklets, newspaper articles, letters, and many awards, ribbons, citations and trophies to encompass and preserve our council’s heritage.

In this brief history, it is not important to list various names and the greatness of their terms. What we do for one, we do for all. Many of us should take the time to sit down and review our history to become acquainted with where we came from, because that is what we are made from.

We have learned from our council’s past as members of such a devoted group of men from the Knights of Columbus, to accept membership responsibility in humility and with pride. Our past leaders have demonstrated that all of the brother Knights can join in rank with one common purpose and to cast no barrier among men—to serve as the right hand of our Catholic faith and of our Catholic Church.

Greater is the challenge to uphold our principles in today’s world. But, it is no less a challenge than our deceased local brothers accepted in 1897 to chart the course. Let us only remember what our founder, Father Michael J. McGivney had to confront. Our founders made the first move to establish Saratoga Council 246 and we have benefited from their foresight. We need to continue their legacy and insure that these men we call Knights can also be proud of our history into the next century.

Founding of Council 246

July 4th 1897