CTK Retreat Center HistoryOur History

The Retreat House was built in 1934 for $100,000 as a private residence for Mr. and Mrs. Parker Stacy. Mrs. Stacy, the former Marjorie Lipe, was the daughter of one of the partners of the Brown-Lipe-Chapin Company. Mr. Stacey was the Lipe family chauffeur. At the time it was the largest private house in Syracuse, resting on 400 acres. Many fancy balls were held by the Stacy’s and famous people like Governor Dewey and Wendell Wilkie were guests in the home.

In 1929 Mrs. Stacy’s brother Charles Lipe and his wife were killed in a boating accident on the St. Lawrence River. At that time, Mrs. Stacy took custody of their three children. The Stacy’s also had three children of their own. The children all lived in the house until they were in 9th grade, and then they went away to school.

On May 13, 1944, Rev. Robert Grewen purchased the house on behalf of the Jesuits from the Marjorie-Lipe-Stacey estate for $45,000. About the same time, he was also instrumental in purchasing the Gifford Estate as a future site of LeMoyne College. He became director of Christ the King from 1944 to 1951. He was President of LeMoyne College from 1954 until 1961.

The Jesuits opened Christ the King Retreat House on November 10, 1944 for 34 men. During the first year of operation, there were 48 retreats and the total number of retreatants (all men) reached 1,000.

In 1955, the bedroom wing was added along with the Sacristy and the Downstairs Conference Room. The chapel was enlarged. The dining room and kitchen were moved from the first floor to the new area downstairs. The cook’s corner was converted to the offices. The swimming pool was also added.

In 1994, the Diocese of Syracuse assumed responsibility of the Retreat House from the Jesuits. They completely renovated the building and the grounds. They opened the Retreat House to both men and women, to groups of all ages, to groups of all religious denominations and to business and corporate groups.

We welcome all!