We were driving in I-70 to Dayton, Ohio, from the airport in St. Louis, where my husband picked me up. As we were almost through Illinois, I was looking out the window and I spotted a sign that noted we were a mile away from Marshall, Illinois. It took me a minute to register why I knew of Marshall and then I quickly implored my husband to pull off and exit the highway. He’s a good sport and followed along. We headed for Marshall not really knowing where we were going. I promised him that if we did not locate the former National-Dixie Hotel in ten minutes time, I would abandon the quest for another day. I assured him I’d know the building when I saw it.
In 1933, Beatrice Stephenson, an alumna of the University of Illinois chapter of Pi Beta Phi was named Director of Pi Phi’s Central Office, which was then located in Bloomington, Illinois. Another move of Central Office was made after Beatrice married Carson Mayer Purdunn, a Clark County State Attorney, and member of Alpha Delta Phi, on October 21, 1933. This time, it moved to three rooms in the National-Dixie Building in Marshall, Illinois.
Carson Purdunn died of a heart attack in February 1943 while he was a partner in the law firm of Scofield and Purdunn. He was 36 years old. In September of 1943, Pi Phi’s Central Office was relocated to Decatur, Illinois. Beatrice Purdunn retired as Director when she married John Felmley in 1947.
Another former fraternity headquarters is in the news. A friend in the Chicago area sent me this link http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/evanston/news/ct-evr-plans-for-harley-clarke-property-tl-0627-20170627-story.html
The Harley Clarke mansion at 2603 Sheridan Road in Evanston, Illinois, was purchased by Sigma Chi Fraternity on May 31, 1950 for use as its headquarters. A decade later, the city of Evanston, in the quest to expand the lakefront park, began discussions with the fraternity to acquire the beach which was located on the property. Knowing that the city might ultimately acquire the property by condemnation, if necessary, the fraternity chose to sell the entire property.