Our History

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Tree Dedication at Homecoming 2018

The alumni association planted a flowering dogwood tree on the north side of the building to help mark this milestone.

ΔΚΕ Celebrates the 125th Anniversary of the Grey Stone Castle

The ΔΚΕ time capsule.

Our landmark house was built in 1893. We are marking its 125th anniversary in two ways. First, we are burying a time capsule, to be opened in 2068. Second, we will plant a commemorative tree at Homecoming 2018.

The undergraduates selected many items of current interest that will give brothers 50 years from now the flavor of our current culture. Elaine Engst, University Archivist Emerita, discussed the history of the house and the impact of time capsules as we dedicated the time capsule at the 2018 Reunion.

The alumni association will also plant a flowering tree on the North side of the building to help mark this milestone.

Elaine Engst talks history and the time capsule.

ΔΚΕ Celebrates Centennial of Patriotic Sacrifice on June 12, 2004

Late on this quiet Saturday afternoon, members, alumni, University and Ithaca City officials gathered as a monument was dedicated to honor not only the first Cornellian (and lthaca resident) to give his life for his country, but also the grand gesture of a soon-to-be U.S. President and battle hero to honor his fallen fellow officer and fraternity brother from the Battle of San Juan Hill.

Clifton Beckwith Brown ’00, a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, left the course of his Cornell studies at the outbreak of the Spanish American War to secure our national safety by serving as a reserve officer in Company M of the 71st New York Regiment.

Brown died in combat at the Battle of San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898, becoming the first Cornellian casualty of war. Recognized as Cornell’s first “martyr” by the University and his classmates, Brown’s sacrifice was honored by the creation and consecration of a grand bronze frieze by the celebrated memorial sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt.

On June 20, 1899, then New York State Governor Theodore Roosevelt, a member of ΔΚΕ Fraternity at Harvard, visited the Cornell campus to plant two Norway spruce trees at the Lodge in memory of his fallen comrade, fellow soldier and fraternity brother, Brown. They stand today as a tribute to Brown’s sacrifice and are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Trees.

Proud of its accomplishments and tradition, the ΔΚΕ alumni, joined by its supporters in the Ithaca and Cornell communities, placed a stone monument and plaque to commemorate the centennial of Brown’s sacrifice, Roosevelt’s remembrance and the trees planted in Brown’s memory.

ΔΚΕ alumni chairman and member of the Cornell Council Donald Weadon ’67 noted that “thanks to members of the Cornell community and the citizens of Ithaca, the ΔΚΕ Lodge – the work of Cornell’s first graduate architect (William Henry Miller) and whose elegant library is a monument to Brown’s sacrifice – was recently recognized as an Ithaca historic landmark, having long been listed on the National and New York State register of historic places.” The mighty Norway spruce trees now tower over the historic mansion and have been recognized for their history and listed on the New York State Register of Historic Trees.

Board members examine our collection at the University Archives.

At the dedication ceremony, Weadon observed “Our men and our cadre of alumni have long honored Brown’s example of national service, sacrifice, and adherence to our ΔΚΕ values,” adding that “we have mobilized these values to bring our institution (now in its 134th year as an institution on the Cornell campus and member of the Ithaca community) to a state of performance where our members have been awarded the Cornell Best Chapter award regularly for over five years. In fact, we have won every award for excellence offered by Cornell and our National organization, and have been recognized for this excellence by three living U.S. Presidents whose congratulations adorn the walls of our Lodge.”

Representing the only memorial in Ithaca to commemorate sacrifice in the Spanish American War, the ΔΚΕ house will long be a vibrant part of Ithaca’s history. “Our intensive program to fund the continuing restoration of the Lodge is one that all Cornell Dekes support,” said Weadon, “and we are gratified that so many of our constituents in the community have supported today’s modest effort to recognize this important piece of Ithaca and Cornell history. The values of sacrifice and commitment to our community and nation are under pressure these trying days, and we want this to stand as a reminder that they are alive and well in this corner of the Southern Tier!”

Fogle’s History of Delta Chi

We are pleased to present the chapter’s narrative history from 1870 to 1949 by Brother H. William Fogle Jr. ’70:
The Deke House at Cornell: A Concise History of the Delta Chi Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon, 1870-1949

Ithaca Recognizes ΔΚΕ Lodge as Historic Landmark

As many of our alumni are aware, the Ithaca Common Council unanimously voted in 2003 to designate the Gray Stone Castle, home to our organization, as a historic landmark in the city of Ithaca.

An initiative of Ithaca citizens, this designation was in addition to the registration of the lodge on the New York State and National Registers of historic structures, an initiative of our alumni historian, Bill Fogle ’70.

The historic designation was supported by hundreds of Dekes, Cornellians, and others from across the nation who recognized the historic merit of our home on the Cornell campus, designed by William Henry Miller, Cornell’s first graduate architect.

It is hoped that through this designation the University may be compelled to place its proposed parking structure elsewhere on campus. “The last chapter has not yet been written on this matter,” said former Alumni Chair Don Weadon, “and we intend to continue to oppose its construction for the benefit of Delta Kappa Epsilon and Cornell.”