Sunday, May 16, 2021

Knight's of St. John Storm the City of Buffalo


10,000 Visitors From All Parts of the Country Expected Here This Week For Their Convention



The Knight's of St. John Arch at Main & Clinton Sts.  Buffalo, N.Y. 1906

JUNE 25, 1906
  Thousands of Knights of St. John from various sections of the United States are here. They came in a steady stream of glittering uniforms all yesterday, last night and this morning to Buffalo to attend the first biennial and 27th annual convention of this popular Catholic fraternal organization. Their convention opens at the Teck Theatre with a large attendance of delegates from many states of the union. Supreme Secretary M.J. Kane, estimated last night that fully 5,000 men, carefully drilled and uniformed, would pass under the handsome welcome arch at Main and Clinton streets in the parade, and as this army will be greatly swelled by the delegates and ladies, the number of strangers to arrive today will be close to 10,000.

 The Knight's Arch photo is from the collection of Joseph
Schneggenburger, Buffalo,(1872-1960),German sculptor & 
artistic plaster worker. He may have been the creator of the arch
  Buffalo was ready for the Knights. A large majority of the business places along Main St. and other business streets were early decorated handsomely with flags, bunting and Knights of St. John Insignia. Headquarters had been opened at the Lafayette Hotel and there the delegates and their ladies registered, received their handsome badges, and soon were ready for the day's events. The local Knights had the 74th Regiment Band on duty all yesterday and last night, and again this morning, meeting each incoming delegation that came in by train or boat and escorting them to their headquarters.
  The hotels have nearly all expressed an outward welcome in one form or another. A hotel on West Huron St. has all its balconies outlined in colored lights and draped with yellow and white bunting and the Lafayette Hotel is well adorned with red, white and blue bunting. The large department stores also have draped their fronts lavishly. The Hens & Kelly Company has elaborate decorations of yellow and white bunting, flags and shields and long strings of tiny flags stretched vertically down the rows of windows. The Hengerer building is very attractive with its spread of yellow and white and red, and its big white bow stuck with small flags, over the middle lower windows.  The majority of the buildings along the street have at least a flag in recognition of their guests. 

 The big public feature of the convention, the parade, is scheduled to take place this afternoon, starting at 3 o'clock. The parade will move through Genesee and Franklin streets to the Terrace, thence to Main, to Genesee, to Michigan, to Broadway, To Emslie, and then countermarching to Ellicott Square, where it will be dismissed.
   The big arch at Main St. and Court is, however, the most striking object on the line of march. The 5,000 colored electric lamps which outline the structure and the words upon it will be lighted for the first time tonight.  Beneath the bow of the arch, the word “Welcome” is spelled in electric lights and surmounting the whole is the large Maltese Cross of the order, in red, white and yellow and illuminated by a thousand lamps.

Who Are the Knights of St. John?

   Following the end of the Civil War, there existed a real need for physical and spiritual healing. The Knights of St. John was formed in 1873 in Buffalo, New York, USA with the formation of two Local Commanderies under the 2nd Regiment of Buffalo, New York. In 1879, these many organizations, including the Knights of St. George, the Knights of St. Paul, the Knights of St. Louis, and the Knights of St. John met to form a greater society of Knights. They met in Baltimore, Maryland and formed themselves into the Roman Catholic Union of the Knights of St. John, later shortened to the Knights of St. John. 

  The Order was officially incorporated in the State of New York on May 6, 1886 and took as its mission: “a filial devotion and respect for the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, a sense of honor, love of truth, courage, respect for womanhood and a indiscriminating charity motivated by love of GOD.” They sought to care for spiritual, social and physical needs of their members and neighbors. In the pattern of the Knights of the Crusade, they cared for the victims of the war by forming a Widows and Orphan Fund.  In 1992, the name of the Order was officially changed to the Knights of St. John International to reflect the global structure of the Order.

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