The Deke House

The Lodge at 13 South Avenue

The “Grey Stone Castle” at 13 South Avenue sits just below the Cornell Law School near the College Avenue entrance to Collegetown and the Cascadilla Gorge. Designed by William Henry Miller, Cornell’s first architecture graduate, the Lodge has housed Deke brothers since its completion in 1893. In the last two decades, the Deke House has been added to the New York State and National Registers of historic structures, as well as named an historic landmark by the city of Ithaca. DKE International has highlighted the Cornell DKE House in their tribute to the finest DKE chapter houses across North America.

Life at the DKE House

The Deke House is distinguished by its distinctive tower, rounded arches, and projecting porches. The exterior walls are marble supplied by the St Lawrence Marble Co. The internal courtyard also features a built-in grill, outdoor volleyball court, and numerous parking spaces for the use of residents.

The house has 29 residential rooms for living and studying on the second and third floors of the house. All rooms are serviced by Cornell’s high speed wireless broadband connection, Red Rover. The first floor and basement have large common spaces including a living room and billiard table room where the brothers congregate for meetings and play video games. The library features over a century’s worth of Cornell and Deke historic books and artifacts, arranged around a working fireplace noted for its Deke Crest and bronze plaque for distinguished Deke and American hero Clifton Beckwith Brown, Class of 1901.

A staple of Deke life includes both informal lunches and catered dinners in our formal dining room during the week. The meal plan includes lunch (Monday through Friday) and dinner (Sunday through Thursday) prepared for brothers in a modern, commercial grade kitchen by professional chef, Rick.

Our open main staircase provides an open feel to the center of lodge. It contains three historic stained glass windows that were installed over 100 years ago and pay homage to the literary roots of DKE’s identity and founding values.

Lodge Financing and Upkeep

The Delta Chi chapter built the Deke House in 1893 and is responsible for the upkeep of the house and surrounding property to this day.  In 1961, Deke sold the house to Cornell for $1.  Funds to improve and maintain the house come from a number of sources including undergraduate lodging fees and endowment payouts from funds invested by Cornell courtesy of Brothers Jordan Lamb and Eugene Patterson of the class of 1939.   Engaged alumni also support house improvements through gifts to Cornell’s DKE Group Housing Fund and to the Delta Chi Association.

Generous financial contributions over the past few years enabled the Delta Chi Association and Cornell University to make substantive improvements to the house, including a complete restoration of the front porch and staircase leading to West Avenue, critical improvements to the external wood and stone surfaces around the house, and improvements to gutters, downspouts, and drainage pipes to effectively move water drainage away from the lodge’s foundation.

At nearly 130 years of age, the Lodge at 13 South Avenue is in need of continued repair and maintenance.  The Delta Chi Association, Undergraduate Chapter, and Cornell University work closely to maintain, prioritize, and fund a backlog of future house improvements.  Our next major house project is a complete overhaul of the electrical distribution system that will increase the amount of power available to residents and increase the house’s energy efficiency as we anticipate an aggressive push for a carbon free future in Ithaca in the years to come.