A quick look at the photo on my twitter feed told me that this wasn’t an ordinary fraternity house. It looked like a lodge building. And in fact it was. The Marquette University chapter of Kappa Sigma has just moved into the former Kilbourn Masonic Temple building. A Youtube video mentioned that the back part of the building contained apartments.
And that reminded me of something I read in my husband’s Sigma Phi Epsilon magazine. A few years ago the Sig Ep chapter at the University of Michigan purchased and renovated a former church. When the congregation of the Memorial Christian Church outgrew their building, they sought a buyer for their property at the corner of Tappan Avenue and Hill Street. When the Sig Ep Alumni Board showed interest in purchasing the property, the issue had to be taken up by the city’s Zoning Board. That process took about two years. Offices in an addition built in the 1950s were turned into bedrooms. The former worship area was repurposed as common areas for the fraternity.
This past weekend a most interesting event took place at the Kappa Kappa Gamma Headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. It was part of the Kappa Croquet Soiree: Wickets in Wonderland, a fundraiser for the Topiary Park and the Snowden-Gray House. As part of the soiree’s events, a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party took place at the Snowden-Gray House and Heritage Museum of Kappa Kappa Gamma. It looked like such fun!
Kappa’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, was the home of Governor David Tod during the 1860s. In 1923, the Columbus Women’s Club purchased it to use as a headquarters. During the Depression, the club could no longer afford the upkeep and the building fell into private hands. It was used for offices, a candy making operation, and several other business until it fell into disrepair and was used as a poorly-kept rooming house.
Clara O. Pierce, an Ohio State Kappa, was appointed Kappa’s Executive Secretary in 1929 and served in that position for 40 years. It was her influence that brought the fraternity’s Central Office to a suite of offices in Columbus’ Ohio State Savings Building. In 1951, it was her vision that led the fraternity to purchase a large distressed, yet historic, mansion in what is now the Town-Franklin Historic District.
Three rooms serve as the Heritage Museum. Incorporated in 1981, the Heritage Museum was renovated and redecorated through the late 1990s.
And this from an earlier post. In creating a page about GLO Headquarters (http://www.pinterest.com/glohistory/), I came across this wonderful picture of Triangle Fraternity’s headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana. It was originally built in 1912 as the town’s Carnegie Library (do today’s colleges students even know about Carnegie Libraries?). In 1968, when a new library was constructed, this old library was turned into a private home. In 1991, Triangle purchased the property and turned it into its Headquarters. Libraries are one of my favorite things. I also like touring GLO headquarters. Something tells me touring this would be double the fun!
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/