Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Downtown Tour

Knights of Columbus’ First Office and Cornelius Driscoll

157 Church Street

(demolished)

157 Church Street, c. 1875. Photograph by Joseph K. Bundy, courtesy Colin M. Caplan.

Official portrait of Mayor Driscoll, c. 1900.

Cornelius Driscoll was a lawyer, civic leader and New Haven’s first immigrant Mayor. He was born in 1845 in County Cork, Ireland at the beginning of the devastating period in Irish history known as The Great Hunger (a.k.a. the Irish Famine 1845–1852). Driscoll and his family came to America c. 1850 and settled on a farm in Norwich Connecticut. Valedictorian of his class at Norwich Free Academy (Norwich, CT), Driscoll entered Yale in 1865, was admitted to practice law in Connecticut in 1870 and opened a law practice in New Haven. He was a founding member of the Knights of Columbus and the Order’s first offices were housed in Driscoll’s law office located directly to the right of City Hall at 157 Church Street. Driscoll served as a New Haven Alderman, Representative to the Connecticut General Assembly, New Haven Corporation Counsel and was New Haven’s first immigrant Mayor (1899–1901). Driscoll’s portrait is on display at New Haven City Hall.

  • Text source courtesy The Shanachie Vol. XXV No. 1, 2013, Connecticut Irish American Historical Society Newsletter.

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