Thomas Burh Home | The Knights of Columbus | 690 East Main Street, Little Falls, New York.

On May 2, 1897, a council of the Knights of Columbus was organized in the old Gymnasium Hall in the McCauley Building in Little Falls.

“The society has grown greatly in favor among the Catholic people of the area and has a very large membership. 61 candidates were initiated the Major Degree of the Order by Judge John J. Delaney of New York City.”
May 2, 1897, Cooney Archives, Little Falls Historical Society


On the 6th of September in 1896, the assistant pastor of St Mary’s Church, Reverend P.J. Donnelly, joined the Knight of Columbus Council No. 189 In Utica, NY. On the following day, the 7th of September, Donnelly shared with his good friend Dr. John C. Sullivan, an Irish dentist, the exciting news of a council of the Knights of Columbus forming in Utica and stated that Little Falls would soon have a council, which was the catalyst for Council No. 220.

The Little Falls Knights of Columbus Council No. 220, then known as the “Erina Lyceum,” was instituted on the evening of the 2nd of May in 1897 in the Gymnasium Hall of the McCauley Block on Main Street. The present-day location would be in the vicinity of Price Chopper. In 1897, the “Major Degree,” being the supreme knight that oversees and guides all councils within the state of New York, was in the hands of Judge John J. Delaney. Delaney and his staff from New York City initiated sixty-one Little Falls candidates that evening into Council No. 220, with a formal structured initiation ceremony. Dr. John C. Sullivan was voted as the fraternity’s first Grand Knight for Council No. 220.


Council No. 220 held their meetings in various rented rooms along East Main Street until 1916. On the 16th of April in 1916, one of the largest attended meetings was held by the council to discuss the prospects of securing the home of a former local physician, Dr. Garlock, as a permanent home for the council. Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Burwell and Loomis Burwell assisted in transferring the property on September 1, 1916, to the society. A grand gala opening was held at their new headquarters on the 9th of October in 1916, Columbus Day.

According to the Cooney Archives: THIS DAY IN HISTORY …” On September 1, 1916, Little Falls Council 220, Knights of Columbus took possession of their new home on East Main Street with D. H. Burrell, Mrs. D. H. Burrell, and Loomis Burrell assisting in the title transfer. The home was erected in 1834 by Thomas Burch. The home was also owned by Lorenzo Carryl, Watts Loomis, and Dr. William Garlock.”

The Knights of Columbus Council No. 220 headquarters was located on the corner of East Main and Salisbury Streets, 690 East Main Street. The location is presently the Rock City Centre.

According to the Cooney Archives: THIS DAY IN HISTORY …” On May 13, 1947, at the 25th anniversary banquet for the Knights of Columbus # 220 in Little Falls, It was pointed out there were 620 local members in 1910, dropping to 160 after the Great Depression. The 1947 membership was 230.”

According to the Cooney Archives: THIS DAY ON HISTORY …” On October 28, 1952, ELECTION EVE :” LIGHTS ON – VOTES OUT” PARADE | The “40 & 8” Steam Engine and Box Car …Shooting off a small cannon …The Knights of Columbus had a float also!…VFW -Decarlo Staffo Post -American Legion -Masons -Elks – Moose – all in decorated cars. Then along came the new autos carrying the Motor Corps and City Officials!”

During the 1960s, a women’s branch was active in Little Falls and was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Auxiliary, known as the Knight Belles, Chapter 30.

According to the Cooney Archives: THIS DAY IN HISTORY …” On April 11, 1961, the University of Notre Dame concert band appeared at the Rialto Theatre sponsored by the Knights of Columbus No. 220.”

The society held many community functions, such as dances, bingo, fairs, breakfasts, and dinners at this location until February of 1974. The building was then sold to Scialdo Realty of Herkimer, New York. The building was razed, and a new structure was built to house the New York State Employment Office.

According to the Cooney Archives: THIS DAY IN HISTORY …” On February 16, 1974, Grand Knight G. Gerald Fiesinger announced the sale of the Knights of Columbus Home which will be razed for a new office building. The K of C has secured new quarters over Walach’s Men & Boy’s store, on Main Street.”

For local Catholic men interested in joining the fraternal brotherhood of Knights of Columbus, please contact the Holy Family Parish Church.


The society members of the Knights of Columbus bind their unity in the Catholic brotherhood by the ideal of Christopher Columbus as their patron, for he brought Christianity to America. On the 6th of February in 1882, Father Michael McGivney of St Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut, received a charter to establish the first council of the Knights of Columbus in the United States. The Catholic fraternal benefit society is meant to strengthen the religious faith of its Catholic brotherhood through their commitments to the church, to their families, to their work, and to their communities. The society provides financial assistance for its members’ families during illness and death, with the society being a successful American insurance enterprise, that provides life insurance, annuities, and long-term care products for its members.

The fraternal Catholic society has 4 degrees of membership, with the main core principle being “Charity” which is the 1st Degree, “Unity” which is the 2nd Degree, “Fraternity” being the 3rd Degree, and “Patriotism” being the 4th Degree. The 4 degrees of the society are earned through commitment, learning, and experience, with achieving “Knighthood” during the 3rd Degree.


690 East Main Street was built as the family home of Thomas Burch in 1834, with Burch purchasing the lot from Arphaxed Loomis for the sum of $800. on the 1st of April in 1833. Burch dealt in real estate and was a merchant of dry goods, along with his brother Horace Burch. He was also a brother-in-law to Arphaxed Loomis, as he had married Elizabeth Todd, the sister of Arpaxed’s wife Ann Todd, both being daughters of Doctor Stephen Todd.

On the 5 th of August in 1867, the Burch Mansion was sold to Lorenzo Carryl of Salisbury, New York, for the sum of $12,000. Caryl entered the mercantile business in 1839 and invested his profits in real estate. In 1842, Carryl married Lucy Burrell of Salisbury, the granddaughter of Johnathan Burrell (Johnathan was influential in making Little Falls the Cheese Capital of the United States) and cousin to David H. Burrell. Carryl served as the sheriff for Herkimer County in 1852. He was engaged as a cheese broker, buying and selling cheese for 30 years at Little Falls.

The property was conveyed to Watts T. Loomis, son of Arphaxed Loomis, who sold the mansion to Doctor William Garlock on the 23rd of January in 1891.

*From The Cooney Archive’s: This Day In History by Louis W. Baum JR, Digitizing of historical photos by Gail & Mike Potter, Article written by Darlene Smith with all members of the Little Falls Historical Society.

The Little Falls Historical Society’s Old Bank Building Museum will be OPEN for the season on the 20th of May. Until then, the museum is only open by appointment. For a FREE tour of the museum, please contact either Louis Baum @ 315-823-3527, Mary Ann Terzi @ 315-823-1502, or Jeffery Gressler @ 315-823-2799 to schedule an appointment.