The initial effort to organize a Knights of Columbus council in Nashville,
Tennessee, met with, what seems to us today, an amazing situation. On July 4,
1899, a group of Catholic gentlemen from Nashville consisting of Messrs. F. E.
Kuhn, H. J. Grimes, W. J. Varley , William Smith, M. M. McCormack went to
Louisville, Kentucky, intending to make the necessary arrangements for an
initiation in Nashville. There they were astounded to learn that the Order was
not intended to be extended to Tennessee, Kentucky and the deep South. Faced
with this situation they joined with the Louisville Catholic men to persuade the
Supreme Council and the Board of Directors to extend the territory from the
northern and northeastern states to the South.
After lengthy negotiations Nashville Council was created December 30, 1900, the first Council in the South. For this momentous occasion representative knights came from New Haven, Cincinnati, Toledo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Chicago. Louisville alone sent over one hundred knights to witness the launching of this great American Layman's Order south of the Mason and Dixon Line. The ceremonies were conducted at Watkins Hall then on the southwest corner of Church and High Streets.
In its 103 years of existence, the council has had a variety of meeting sites. Scant records and tradition indicate that the first of these was on the west side of Cherry Street (now Fourth Avenue) in an upstairs location. The old Catholic Club opposite Assumption Church next served as council chambers, until the
knights purchased, in 1916, the old Ransom home at 1800 West End Avenue. They acquired the Garrett property at 1802 West End Avenue in 1925, which was used in conjuction with the Ransom home.
Financial difficulties arose and the West End location had tobe abandoned. The members then used temporarily the facilities of Brother James F. Walsh's plumbing shop for meetings. It was at this time that the small group of knights who remained faithful determined to make a "comeback". They acquired rooms
above a parcel of Mr. Henry Neuhoff's property on Union Street, later moving to old St. Joseph's Church on Fourteenth Avenue near Church Street where the Nashville Electric Building now stands.
Here the knights enjoyed financial and fraternal success, and were able to purchase, in 1945, the old Drouillard home at 810 Demonbruen Street, which serves as the club house in 1962
Nashville Council has one of the most extensive charity programs of any Council in the entire Order. From the proceeds of its annual Carnival, over $200,000 has been disbursed to such worthy institutions as Little Sisters of The Poor, St. Mary's Orphanage, and Father Ryan High School.
The Council, which operates under the Six Point Program, schedules activities of practically every description. These activities include: a monthly Eucharistic Guard, in which various members stand guard throughout the night at St. Mary's Church; sponsorship of a Sunday night bowling league for Council mem-
bers; sponsorship of a local chapter of the Toastmasters International, composed entirely of knights; and the financing of a Boy Scout Troop for St. Mary's Orphanage. Well under way at this time is a magnificent new club house and recreational center in the Harding Road area at the end of Bosley Springs Road. The swimming pool, one of the finest of its kind, was opened in June, 1961, and full summer of swimming
and picnicing was enjoyed by families of the members. The new football field adjacent to the pool was completed in September 1961, and was used for all games in the parochial football league.
With a roster of 600 members on its active rolls, [in 1962] Council 544 stands on the threshold of greatness with its ensuing move to spacious new quarters. Filled with a spirit of true Christian charity and a resolute determination for future success, the knights anticipate the Golden Era of Columbianism in Nashville.