Ready for history lesson? Maybe not, after spending the last week decaying in Van Pelt and swearing you’d never commit another fact to memory ever again. But this lesson is, cool. Promise. Because it’s about FRATS. A lot of chapter houses didn’t used to be where they are now, and you might be surprised to find out what houses and buildings former generations of Penn bros called their official man caves. Without further ado, let’s begin a photographic tour of some awesome old Penn frat houses!
Alpha Tau Omega (ATO), ca. 1923
Then: Look at this palatial monstrosity! Pretty weird, yet…seems familiar. It is! ATOs used to live at 3912 Spruce St, now occupied by A House Of Our Own bookstore, where nobody has ever gone.
Now: The chapter house is located at 225 S. 39th Street, across from Harnwell and the Dueling Tampons.
Beta Theta Pi (Beta), ca. 1911
Then: Betas used to live in this swanky townhouse at 3529 Locust, right about where the Sweeten Alumni house stands now. They probably hosted classy cocktail parties. Or not.
Now: The chapter house sits squarely at 39th and Spruce, across the street from Harrison.
Then: This old Elmo fortress at 3453 Woodland Avenue was directly across from College Hall. Perfect for snatching a carrel in VP first thing on a Sunday morning, you say? Nope, because the house was demolished to make way for the construction of Van Pelt. Tragic.
Now: The current house sits at 3647 Locust Walk, across from Steiny D.
Delta Psi (St. A’s), ca. 1904
Then: Those A’s boys, always doing it up fancy. West Philly? Hardly. The old Hall used to be downtown at 32 S. 22nd Street. The building is still there if you’d like to take a gander.
Now: Probably can’t complain with their pristine house at 3637 Locust Walk next to the Colonial Penn Center.
Kappa Alpha Society (KA), ca. 1923
Then: Look close and you’ll notice the brothers of KA used to reside in what is now the M&T office at 3537 Locust Walk. Also, THOSE CARS! #vintage
Now: The house lives on across the street from Cav’s on 39th Street.
Kappa Sigma (Kappa Sig), ca. 1920
Then: Kappa Sig has always been at 3704 Locust, but they used to have a different house. Wasn’t it cute? That wrap around veranda. So charming.
Now: Without a porch, bros must plop on leather couches and chairs on the ground ouside their front door.
Phi Delta Theta (Phi Delt), ca. 1905
Then: Phi Delts used to live in what’s now the Jaffe History of Art building. You’ve probably discussed the rise of modernism in ARTH102 recitation in the same spot an old brother used to get freaky in his bedroom.
Now: The have prime real estate at 3700 Locust.
Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi), ca. 1905
Then: Imagine if all these frats were still housed in on-campus buildings—Locust must’ve been the old Spruce! Phi Psi’s formerly occupied 3641 Locust Walk, now repurposed as the Colonial Penn Center.
Now: A slightly less becoming house at 3932-3934 Spruce.
Zeta Psi (Zete), ca. 1905
Then: The original Zete house was this ivy-covered row home at 34th and Walnut.
Now: Same spot, different structure. One that gives off the more fitting vibe of an exclusive clubhouse.
Acacia Fraternity, ca. 1908
Then: Acacia, a social frat based on Masonic traditions, was housed in this quaint little abode at 3805 Locust Street, now the Kelly Writers House.
Now: They’re dunzo.
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