My daughter became a P.E.O. during her senior college of college. She was initiated as a member of my chapter. She’d attend a meeting once a year, usually the holiday auction where her salted caramel sauce is a highly prized item. Earlier this year she accepted an invitation from a Kansas chapter to transfer her membership, then she quickly volunteered to attend the Kansas State Chapter meeting as a Convention guard, along with several other of her chapter sisters.
She sent me this picture after she arrived at the convention site in Wichita. The quote in the typewriter is of my favorites. It was written by Franc Roads Elliott* and it applies to the organization as much today as it did when she first delivered it in the early 1900s, “P.E.O.s should ever keep their eyes forward, to note the possibilities of the future rather than to dwell on the achievements of the past.”
The quote can also apply to all Greek-Letter Organizations. It reminded me, too, that I recently discovered a connection between Elliott, one of the seven P.E.O. founders, and a Sigma Chi who grew up in Carbondale, Illinois.
At the end of her life, Elliott lived in the Hotel Windermere in Chicago. The hotel was built in 1892 in time for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. In 1924, the Rapp and Rapp firm in Chicago designed and led its rebuilding as Windermere East and Windermere West. The two hotels, the one built in 1892 (West) and the one designed by the Rapp brothers together had 482 guest rooms and 200 apartments. The buildings were connected by an underground tunnel. In 1959, Windermere West, was demolished and the space was used to construct a parking lot. Windermere East was converted to an apartment building in 1981. Today, it has undergone a renovation and is known as the Windermere House, a luxury apartment building.
George Leslie Rapp, a member of Sigma Chi’s Kappa Kappa Chapter at the University of Illinois, and his brother Cornelius Ward (“C.W.”) were proficient at all three styles of grand movie theaters (see http://wp.me/p20I1i-iB).
Cornelius Ward Rapp designed Altgeld Hall at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. It opened in 1896. The building was named in honor of Governor John Peter Altgeld.
*Franc, whose given name was Frances, alternated between having an “h” in her maiden name. The Roads spelling is the one on her gravestone.