Knights of Columbus, Rock Creek Council

Knights of Columbus, Rock Creek Council

Rock Creek Council, No. 2797
5417 West Cedar Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814

Our History

Father Michael J. McGivney

Our History is a rich one. The order of The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut.

Fifty-six years later, Rock Creek Council was born on June 12, 1938, in the town of Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland, as the 2797th of our order. Its birthday was preceded by a serious period of gestation, sound pre-natal care by its founders, and a firm resolve that it would be nurtured faithfully through life to become a starry jewel in the grand firmament of Columbianism.

Our birth day was celebrated by a gala major First Degree for forty-five charter members at Old Saint Mary's Parish Hall, in Gaithersburg. The Degree was followed by a sumptuous banquet.

With our baptism concluded, life began for us as we elected our Council Officers, under the leadership of Joseph A. Cantrel, our First Grand Knight. Our first meetings were held in the loft of an old barn on the premises of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bethesda. We plotted our course, acquired robes and regalia, and contemplated our council publication, which at first was only a typewritten newsletter issued periodically. Our first printed publication, the "Knight Chatter," was issued on the 12th of September, 1940, and has continued, with few exceptions, throughout the years as a monthly (except August) publication.

In a few years we had established a sound financial status, our membership began to increase, growing pains set in, and our sights were set in acquiring a home for our council. We though we were there in early 1941 when a charter member arranged for a gift of a parcel of land next to Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Our dreams of a club house site were not to be, as the pastor of the parish, our chaplain, needed the land to expand his school. We yielded to his request, and donated the property to the parish.

Soon after, we lost our meeting place as the old barn was torn down to make way for church and school buildings.

For a number of years we met at different places, such as: Forest Glen Council (now Father Rosensteel Council), Kenwood Club, the Women's Club of Bethesda, and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase American Legion home. But we never lost sight of our desire for a council home.

When we purchased some property on Old Georgetown Road next to the Women's Club of Bethesda, we thought that our dream would finally come true. We even had plans for a new clubhouse prepared by an architect. But soon we scrapped that idea because good fortune brought us a more suitable site: our present location. It consisted of 2.5 acres of property with a stone and brick house located thereon. On May 22, 1952 we signed the contract for the purchase of this site. We then organized our holding company, the Rock Creek Kay-Cee Club, Inc. Our now sizable membership turned out enmasse to remodel the house, and in January 1954 we had the property zoned for club purposes.

We were now 'housed' in our own home, and it met all our needs. The internal facilities continued improving, landscape and parking was added, and we were dubbed the "Country Club Council." But we soon discovered that because of our ever-increasing membership, our home had been outgrown. Expansion was urgently needed. By the summer of 1961 work was concluded on the expansion. A success such as this called for a gala dedication banquet on August 16, 1961. We had come a long way in a quarter century, and we could now enjoy the fruits of our labors.

In 1999, and after careful consideration, we realized our physical plant had suffered a bit of neglect. The Kay-Cee Club started a campaign of improvements, which included the acquiring the exclusive services of an excellent catering company: Uptown Caterers, owned by one of our members. Today our Council Home includes Cantrel Ballroom and the Knight Lounge in the main floor; a members' lounge with a pool and billiard area downstairs; office space for council officers, and the Past Grand Knight Lounge upstairs, spacious lawns for family picnics, and comfortable and ample parking area. Rock Creek Council sits proudly on a hill overlooking its surroundings and is in constant demand by members and guests for banquets, dances, meetings, wedding receptions, etc.

Our membership embraces every walk of life: prelates and priests, judges and lawyers, doctors and dentists, artists and architects, plumbers and electricians, carpenters and bankers, sailors and soldiers, businessmen and executives, retirees and students.

Today, Rock Creek is but one of about 13,000 Councils worldwide, its 700 members just a sample of the over a million and a half dues paying members, and the cause for sainthood of Fr. McGivney is on its way in Rome.

Ours is a rich history, indeed.

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