Far West Campus, the First Photo Tour

31 07 2008

The house of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. As previously covered, the house was this dreadful brutalist monstrosity constructed in 1964 when the fraternity moved from 312 Thurston Avenue [1]. The house was extensively renovated in the second half of the 1990s, gaining a more postmodern appearance that has earned it the nickname “The Gables”. Prior to 312 Thurston (now demolished), Phi Kappa Psi lived in the Watermargin house. It was among the first fraternities chaptered at Cornell, established in 1868.

This house belongs to Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, currently the only sorority on West Campus. The house was built by Sigma Chi in the 19th century, who left it for Greystone Manor in 1923, and Theta Chi fraternity moved in. Bay the 1980s, Theta Chi had moved out of the house for a mansion on Ridgewood Road, and “Theta” moved in. Theta was dispelled from its national in 1965, but returned to campus in 1980 [1], and moved into this house during the 1980s.

Speaking of fraternities founded early in Cornell’s history, Chi Phi and north campus fraternity Zeta Psi were both founded on opening day 10/7/1868. The two flipped a coin to see who would be declared the first fraternity at Cornell. Well, Chi Phi still uses its early start in rush promos, but Zeta Psi is officially the first fraternity (Zeta Psi and Chi Phi have a rivalry to this day). Craigielea, their tudor-esque house, is well over a century old (1890, partiall rebuilt after a 1903 fire), and has continuously been in their posession. The house was designed by W. H. Miller of Uris Libe fame [2].

And this is what’s left of their (pledge?) project, bleachers that they built last April. Shame, really. I wonder if they did it or someone who hates Chi Phi did it.

Delta Kappa Epsilon (DEKE) fraternity house is a Romaneqaue Revival House built in 1893 by W.H. Miller [3]. The house is known as Gray Stone Castle, and sits on the National Register of Historic Places [4]. As amazing as the house is, the chapter hasn’t been doing all too recently; rumor mill says numbers were so low in recent years that actives had two rooms each.

112 Edgemoor Lane, a small campus dorm designed for about 20-25 occupants. As I explained in a previous entry, this house has a lot of significance to me personally. So, the house, built in the Colonial Revival style, was built in 1881. The house was home to Sigma Phi Epsilon up into the 1960s, when Sig Ep moved out and Triangle fraternity moved in. Previously, Triangle called a house at the junction of Campus Road and Stewart Avenue home, but the ca. 1839 farm house was torn down to make room for DTD’s new house [5]. After Triangle was deactivated by its national in 1985, the house was made into part of Cornell’s campus dorms.

Lambda Chi Alpha’s house also sits on Edgemoor Lane. Originally known as ISWZA [5], Lambda Chi was chaptered in 1913, and the house was purchased around 1918 (it was built in 1899). Lambda Chi is known for having a feud with its neighbor Chi Phi. The house also maintains a gazebo on the edge of the gorge, which was built in recent years.

The house of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. The house was occupied by Beta Theta Pi, who occupied the house until they moved in 1906. About a decade later when Pi Kappa Alpha colonized on campus, the chapter moved into this house. My slight personal issue was that they had a steep driveway in the back, and some jackass in a Jetta would try to do 0-60 every time he went down the hill. The whining engine gets quite annoying after a while.

The Jewish Living Center. The house dates from the 1890s[6], with the kosher dining center to its south (not pictured) dating from the late 1980s. The center was known as Young Israel until the late 1990s. Judging from their website, the independent organization has had a contentious past with its relations to the University. The old fraternity house for Seal & Serpent (pre-1926) used to be next door, but it was demolished to make room for their parking lot.

[1]http://www.dos.cornell.edu/dos/greek/chapter_details.cfm?id=3278

[2]http://www.fs.cornell.edu/fs/facinfo/fs_facilInfo.cfm?facil_cd=4716

[3]http://www.fs.cornell.edu/fs/facinfo/fs_facilInfo.cfm?facil_cd=4719

[4]http://www.dke-cornell.org/public1.asp

[5]http://cdsun.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/cornell?a=d&d=CDS19650427.2.101.1#

[6]http://www.iswza.org/heritage

[7]http://www.cornellcjl.com/about/history.aspx


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20 08 2009
Dan Meyer

Prior to commissioning Cornell architect William Henry Miller to build our house which is now the Watermargin, Phi Kappa Psi built and was quartered in the Gargoyle House at 72 Heustis (now Dino’s and the Nines), which burned in 1903. Miller also designed our quarters at 312 Thurston Avenue, when it was the mansion house of Mr. Wyckoff, who developed Cornell Heights.

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