2012-04-13 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Far Rockaway Knights of Columbus … Founded in 1898
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

The history of the Knights of Columbus of the Rockaways goes back to its founding in November of 1898, at a meeting held in the Mullen & Buckley Hall on Beach 21 Street, in Far Rockaway. William J. McKenna was the Grand Knight, and other members noted were John F. Cronin, W.A. Duncan, F. Connerty, P.J. McGinnis, B.H. Fee, Frank McNeil, and John N. Conolly.

Later meetings were held at St. Mary’s R.C. Church on Central Avenue, and in 1922 a new brick K of C building was opened and dedicated at Beach 19 Street and Cornaga Avenue, in Far Rockaway.

The Wave stated that one thousand celebrants attended, and the building was rather crowded for the special opening dance held. Begg’s Orchesta played into the wee hours of the morning, from the special feature of the new club house … a new balcony! Decorations of flags and flowers were donated by the Dalsimer Florist and Mullen & Buckley furnishings in the village.

The dance committee was chaired by Louis F. Magnolia of Rockaway Beach, and consisted of J.Allan, J. Curley, J. Golman, J. Hanlon, L.A. Kazuba, F. Lenihan, E. Mulry, H. McGloat and Stephen Renehan.

Title to the building was held by a holding committee composed of John N. Conolly, president; Raymond Atkin, treasurer; John J. McCarthy, secretary; William J. Morris Jr., legal advisor; and John Mulbach, builder.

Bond issues, bazaars, entertainments and affairs by the knights raised the necessary funds for the construction, aided by the new ladies auxiliary.

In 1928 the Rockaway Beach K of C received its charter, and members were from Edgemere to Neponsit, including Broad Channel. The new group met in the St. Camillus R.C. Church, until their new clubhouse was built on Beach 90 Street in 1957. The Far Rockaway K of C still meets at St. Mary’s Church in Far Rockaway, and the members are from Edgemere, Far Rockaway, and Inwood in the five towns. The old clubhouse is now occupied by the New York City Parks Department.

Today’s historical view is a postcard rendition from the early 1920s showing the new K of C Hall, which has been touched up and colored in by an artist. Cornaga Avenue is at the bottom, and Beach 19 Street, between Cornaga and Mott Avenues, is at the lower right corner. The sign is on the front of the Harrison Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1931.

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