Knights of Columbus Hall & The Auditorium Building

This building fronting on Ouellette at the end of Tuscarora Street, was known as the Auditorium Building as was designed by local Architect J.C. Pennington in 1916.

In November of 1922, ground was broken on the new Knights of Columbus hall on the backside of the Auditorium Building. The building was opened to the public, January 3, 1923. The hall was designed by the firm of Pennington & Boyde.

In this map from 1937, you can see the connection between the old and new buildings. The Knights sold the building in 1928 after only 6 years to developers.

Today the building is 86 years old, and despite being a Knights of Columbus hall for only the first six years of its existence, it’s amazing that the crests have survived.

Above is a rendering of the building as prepared by Pennington & Boyde. When it opened, it had a gymnasium, dining room, bowling alley and swimming pool.

In 1928 Fred Martin, the man behind the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and Martin’s Marketerium outbid two other bidders paying $145,000 for the Auditorium Building & K of C hall (about $1.8 million in 2009 dollars). Eaton’s had recently announced that they were going to build a store downtown at the n.e. corner of Tuscarora & Ouellette. With the prospect of Eaton’s moving in across the street this site became extremely desirable for retail use.

The terms of the sale (Feb. 2, 1928) were as follows:

A cheque for $1000 with the offer; $24,000 more to be paid on March 10, 1928, when Mr. Martin takes possession. The balance is to be paid in half yearly installments of $5,000 until August 1, 1932, when the balance comes due and payable.

I wonder how much money the Knights actually received? I’m going to hazard a guess that the Depression and crash of October 1929 may have affected this deal.

Oh and despite the hype, the Eaton’s store was never built.

As a side note the 1937 Fire Map shows the Knights as occupying the space on the second floor in the building that is today home to Dr. Disc, a few doors north of the Auditorium Building.