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Throwback Thursday – 1959: A Pledge for Knights Tower Fulfilled


"The pleasure of the Knights of Columbus in completing, today [6 July 1959], fulfillment of their pledge of $1,000,000 for the erection of the Campanile of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is equaled only by their grateful appreciation of the invitation extended to them by the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops of the United States to have this part in the building of this great church which will stand as a symbol of the devotion of all Catholics in the United States to our Blessed Lady, Mother of God and Patroness of our country.” So reported Columbia when Supreme Knight Luke Hart presented Most Reverend Patrick O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, a check for $500,000.

The tower is three miles from the U.S. Capitol, less than a mile from the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and adjacent to The Catholic University of America campus. The stone and masonry tower, which houses the basilica’s bells, stands 329 feet high. It is estimated that the tower includes 60,000 cubic feet of granite, 10,000,000 bricks, 1,500,000 face bricks and 10,000 cubic yards of concrete.

The Knights of Columbus Board of Directors approved a levy to raise the $1,000,000. The pledge was fulfilled by a per capita assessment on U.S. members at an annual rate of 25 cents for five years. Due to the close relationship of the Knights and the support of the membership, the campanile was named Knights Tower.

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