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Our Story

History of The Army Distaff Foundation and Knollwood

The evolution of The Army Distaff Foundation is the product of a unique philanthropic partnership. The Foundation's straightforward mission is to support Knollwood, a full-service residential and healthcare community for retired officers and family members.

Founded in 1959 by Mrs. Lydia Taylor, wife of the then Chief of Staff of the Army, and Mrs. Rosamond Davis, Army Distaff Hall was opened in 1962. Notably, it immediately provided much-needed, first-of-its-kind retirement housing and healthcare for Army officers' widows, who, at the time, received only minimal government benefits.

It wasn’t until 1989 when eligibility was first modified since the community’s inception. Army Distaff Hall expanded to the officers themselves, male or female, spouses, and family members of all of the U.S. Uniformed Services. During this time, the community adopted the name of Knollwood. Knollwood has served as a military retirement community exclusively for retired officers, their spouses and widows, and  relatives for over 50 years.

In May 2013, the Army Distaff Foundation and Knollwood’s Board of Directors adopted and approved a new eligibility and admissions criteria proposal allowing the Knollwood community to be opened for male family members as well. Moreover, with the support of a concerned and generous donor base, The Foundation expanded Knollwood’s breadth of high-quality care, paving the way for the exemplary service-driven continuing care retirement community it is today.