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 where the brothers congregate for meetings and play video games. The library features over a centuries 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.

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 harken back to the founding of the Cornell chapter founders and pay homage to the literary roots of DKE’s identity and founding objects.

Lodge Financing and Upkeep

Originally built with private money in 1893, Cornell University obtained ownership of the DKE House in 1961 and is responsible for the upkeep of the house and surrounding property to this day.  Funds to improve and maintain the house come from a number of sources including undergraduate lodging fees, annual endowment contributions courtesy of Brothers Jordan Lamb and Eugene Patterson of the class of 1939, as well as contributions from engaged alumni through Cornell’s DKE Group Housing Fund and 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 starting the summer of 2019.  This project also included the replacing of gutters, downspouts, landscaping, and exterior lights on the western face of the house.

At over 125 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 are in the process of updating and prioritizing a ten-year plan for additional maintenance projects.  We will share the findings of that plan in the coming months.