Friday, October 19, 2007

University of Michigan - Alpha Beta Chapter

  • (Above) 1322 Hill Street as it originally looked. This is the original house that Alpha Beta owned and not a later photograph of 1316 Hill as the popular belief is now
    (Quarterly, January 1931)
  • (Below) The chapter house rebuilt after the fire, with a new brick veneer
    (Quarterly, March 1934)

  • Alpha Beta chapter was officially installed on December 2, 1922. …The Alpha Beta Building Association was established in 1923 as a continuation of the House Hunting Committee, and in June of that year they had found and purchased a house at 1322 Hill Street––the Eleazer Calkin house, built in 1894–– which has been the address of Alpha Beta ever since. Parents helped wire money in for the down payment. … lack of space would lead to the 1945 purchase of 1316 Hill next door. … In the mid 1950s, recognized and approved organizations that housed women had to house at lease 65 of them (matching the new quota level for sororities) in a single building, and Alpha Beta was not able to do that. … Much deliberation over the problem occurred in 1957, similar to the meetings after the 1933 fire. Again, the chapter considered whether they wanted to sell the two properties, or try to do something involving the two houses. It was decided to keep the current property as the chapter and alumnae were very satisfied with the location. … When asked if the two houses could be joined, they replied, “Absolutely!” Grand Council and House Association approved the plans shortly thereafter, and in May of 1958 the Schmitz firm was given the go-ahead. The “new” house was completed in 1960.

  • The new house was completed at a cost of $135,621, and could house 74 girls at full capacity. Improvements included a full formal parlor, a new dining room that could seat 100 (formerly 48), nine new bedrooms, the Penthouse (the dormitory remodeled to house 12 girls), new kitchen, three living rooms, two closets just for formal dresses, and a functioning basement with chapter room, bathroom, and workrooms. The Ann Arbor News on May 7, 1960 stated, “Connecting two separate houses with an addition and making a brand new setup out of such an installation doesn’t happen very often but Alpha Gamma Delta sorority did it and nearly doubled the capacity for the sorority members.” Now, every member could live in, and Alpha Beta would be in accordance with University policy. …

  • (Below) The completed combined houses. The right side is the 1316 house (Annex), the left is the original portion bought in 1923.

  • Chapter Installed 12/1/1922

  • 1322 Hill Street

  • Ann Arbor, MI

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