Old Phi Delta Theta house

These two scans are of the old Phi Delta Theta house. The top image is the older of the two and really show the house as it was when it was a family home. The Goltras lived in this house and sold it to the fraternity in 1903. We can see the iron fence and the Victorian embellishments on the porches. Looking at the left of the picture we can also see a rather handsome home where the Kappa Sigma addition was built several decades later.

In the second picture we see how the home began to morph into the old Phi Delt House of more recent memory. The building is beginning to lose its fussiness and is becoming a simpler structure. The brick patio was added and we can assume that the students are now living here.

It was this house that was used as the College Infirmary in the influenza pandemic of 1918. The Phi Delts rented the house to the college for $624.86. It served many young men very well. In fact, no students died on campus as a result of this killer flu.

The only casualty was a young nurse, Miss Edith Newell. She had been nursing in Terre Haute when she contracted pneumonia. Miss Newell came home to rest and convelesce and was well, or so she thought. She responded to the call for nurses for the influenza students of Wabash. I suppose that today we might say that she had a compromised  immune system. At any rate, Edith Newell caught the flu and died at her parents home here in Crawfordsville.

All of these old houses have a million stories to tell and this is but one small story.The new houses are building their stories and adding them to those of the past. Yet another example of the many ways in which Wabash continues to grow and evolve over time.

Beth Swift

  1. The architecture reminds me of some houses around Notre Dame.

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