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Washington, DC


Washington long held the attention of Phi Gams, starting with the arrival of the first Fiji in Congress in 1856. Several buildings in Washington served as our headquarters between 1921 and 1973. Ekklesiai were held here in 1933, 1960, 1976, and 1992. Washington also contains many memorials to our brothers, starting with President Coolidge. This sampling of monuments and sites only begins to scratch the surface of fraternally significant things to see in the area.

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U.S. Capitol Building (Part 1)

National Statuary Hall

Each state may memorialize two persons with life-size statues in the Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Three Phi Gamma Deltas have been so honored:

  • Lew Wallace (DePauw Initiate) by Indiana.  Wallace served in the Mexican War and became an Indiana state senator. In the Civil War he was a Union major-general. He served on the commission that tried Lincoln's assassins and presided over the trial of Henry Wirz, commandant of Andersonville Prison. Wallace was governor of the New Mexico territory 1878-1881, and US minister to Turkey 1881-1885. His celebrated literary works include Ben-Hur. Wallace served as Phi Gamma Delta's first Archon President in 1898. The statue was presented by Indiana's governor, Thomas R. Marshall (Wabash 1873). A bronze copy stands at his library in Crawfordsville, Indiana. 

  • Zebulon B. Vance (UNC 1854) by North Carolina. A pre-war U.S. congressman, a Confederate officer, then wartime governor of North Carolina, post-war governor, a congressman again, and finally a U.S. senator. Vance was the second Phi Gamma Delta in Congress (the first was A.G. Jenkins, Jefferson 1848). At the statue's dedication on June 22, 1916, Vice President Thomas R. Marshall (Wabash 1873) said, "Some little while after my matriculation [at Wabash], I was solicited to join a Greek-letter Fraternity. Among the inducements held out to me was the fact that Governor Vance of North Carolina would be one of my brothers and that General Lew Wallace of Indiana would be another. I was not overly thoughtful as a boy, nor do I claim to be now that age has come, but I did exercise enough thought to reach the conclusion that I wanted to be a member of a fraternity that embraced in its ranks a War Governor of the South and a Union General of the North. For more that forty years now, I have enjoyed at fraternity banquets the opportunity of referring to 'Bro. Zeb Vance' and 'Bro. Lew Wallace.' While governor of my native state, I had the honor of delivering the oration at the unveiling in this Hall of Fame of Indiana's contribution of the statue of Bro. Lew Wallace. Today, on behalf of the Government of the United States, I have the honor of receiving the statue of Bro. Zeb Vance. Let him who believes that men are tossed by fate without purpose upon the angry seas of life, think on these occurrences." 

  • Jack Swigert (Colorado 1953), command module pilot on the ill-fated Apollo 13 spaceflight. (In the 1995 movie Apollo 13 Kevin Bacon portrayed Swigert.) He later served as a Congressional aide, and had won election to Congress for his district in Colorado when he fell to cancer in 1980. Colorado honored him with this statue in 1996. Swigert was the second Phi Gam in space, the first being Gemini and Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan (Purdue 1956). A copy of this statue is at the Denver Airport.
     

 

US Capitol Building (Part 2)

Vice-Presidential busts

The American vice-president serves as president pro-tem of the Senate, and thus is memorialized with a bust outside the Senate Chamber. Phi Gamma Delta has had three U.S. vice presidents:

  • Charles W. Fairbanks (Ohio Wesleyan 1872) served as vice president from 1905 to 1909 in Teddy Roosevelt's administration. He also was a U.S. senator, 1897-1909, and ran unsuccessfully as the vice-presidential candidate against Thomas Marshall in 1916. Fairbanks served as Phi Gamma Delta's Archon President 1903-1905.

  • Thomas R. Marshall (Wabash 1873) was Woodrow Wilson's vice president from 1913 to 1921. During this time two Phi Gams served in the Cabinet: Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson (Texas 1886), and starting in 1916, Secretary of State Newton D. Baker (Johns Hopkins 1892, Washington and Lee 1894). A noted wit, Marshall is known for saying "What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar." He served as Indiana's governor from 1908 to 1913.

  • Calvin Coolidge (Amherst 1895), vice president 1921-1923 and US president 1923-28. He also served as governor of Massachusetts. By invitation he and his son John (Amherst 1926) became the first signatories of the roll book of Sires and Sons, the organization for Fiji fathers and their Fiji sons.
     

National Portrait Gallery

Calvin Collidge Portrait

The portrait of Calvin Coolidge (Amherst 1895) on display at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is a copy of the original by Ercole Cartotto.Cartotto's original was dedicated on February 20, 1929 in the library of the Phi Gamma Delta Club in New York. The Xi Graduate Chapter donated the painting. Joseph Burgess (Syracuse 1914) later made his copy for display at the Fraternity's Washington D.C. Headquarters.The New York Club was closed in the early 1960s. The Fraternity subsequently donated the Burgess copy to the Smithsonian in September, 1965. Where is the original? Phi Gamma Delta International Headquarters, Lexington, Kentucky.
 
North side of F Street, about six blocks east of the White House.
 


American National Bank Building
as it appears today
 

American National Bank Building

Central Fraternity Offices, 1922-1926

When the 1921 Ekklesia elected George F. Snyder as Archon Secretary, the Fraternity's central office moved from New York City to Washington, D.C. They leased an office next to Snyder's law office.Phi Gamma Delta magazine editor Cecil J. "Scoop" Wilkinson (Ohio Wesleyan 1917) moved from East Palestine, Ohio, where he had been editing a newspaper, and became a full-time employee of the Fraternity. The November, 1926 magazine revealed that ". . . An unsuspecting transfer company was persuaded by the wily Phillip E. Lyon, then Field Secretary, to move the office from New York to Washington for $75, a monumental economy achievement in the history of the fraternity." This renovated office building was built in 1887 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1317 F Street, NW, Room 405; Later room 701.  On the north side of F St. between 12th St. and 13th St.; a couple of blocks from the White House.  Map from Mapquest

  
 

The Otis Building (site only)

Central Fraternity Offices, 1926-1934

The Phi Gamma Delta of November 1926 noted, "Rooms 700 and 701 in the building have been leased by [Archon Secretary George Snyder] for his law offices and immediately adjoining, in Rooms 702 and 703, are the fraternity offices. The new arrangement will be more advantageous to the fraternity in many respects." The 78th Ekklesia in 1926 made Washington the permanent headquarters location, ending the practice of the office moving to the home of each archon secretary.

810 18th Street, NW, on the west side of the street between H Street and I Street. Map from Mapquest
 


Building c.1934, from
The Phi Gamma Delta.
 

Rust Building (site only)

Central Fraternity Offices, 1934-1956

Stated The Phi Gamma Delta of December, 1934: "Suite 40 is new, and a vast improvement over the rather dingy and unimpressive rooms we formerly had in the Otis Building." The five rooms on the fourth floor were on the south end of the building. These rooms would house the Fraternity's growing administrative apparatus for the next twenty years.

Click here to see picture of the inside 

Site only: 1001 15th Street, NW, Suite 40; three blocks north of the White House. Map from MapQuest
 


From The History of Phi Gamma Delta, Tomos Gamma
 

Fraternity and Educational Foundation Headquarters,

1956-1973

The Educational Foundation purchased a town house for use as a headquarters for the Fraternity and the Foundation, both of whom moved in during the spring of 1956. The five-story facility featured a back patio and housing for the field secretaries. See the main lobby, and the Coolidge portrait in the headquarters pageWhen the Fraternity moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1972, the Educational Foundation sold the building and rented space elsewhere in Washington. Today this building serves as private office space. Incidentally, across the street are the offices of Phi Delta Phi, the legal fraternity founded by a Phi Gam in 1869.

1757 N Street NW; north side of N St. between 17th and 18th Streets.  Five blocks north of the White House; just east of Scott Circle.  Map from MapQuest
 

 
Corbett's proposal for
the Headquarters "temple,"
from
The Phi Gamma Delta.

"The Headquarters that Never Was" (site only)

Property was purchased in the spring of 1928 for an ambitious headquarters plan. Noted architect Harvey Wiley Corbett (California at Berkeley 1895) designed a small three-story building specifically for the triangular lot of 2,995 square feet. However, the Depression stalled fundraising and the 1936 Ekklesia suspended the project. The neighborhood went downhill, and the lot was sold in the 1940s. Today the top of the lot is landscaped with an apartment building on the rest. Harvey Wiley Corbett also designed the imposing George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington.

Click here for more information on the headquarters.

Site only: Southwest corner, intersection of Sixteenth Street, U Street, and New Hampshire AvenueTwelve blocks north of the White House. Map from The Phi Gamma Delta magazine; Map from MapQuest
 


Picture from AACWMM site

African-American Civil War Memorial and Museum

Dedicated in 1996, this monument honors the over 200,000 "US Colored Troops" and their 7,000 white officers. The panels list several Phi Gams:

  • Orion Bartholomew (DePauw 1859), 15th and 109th Infantry

  • James Clark Stockton (Washington 1853), 36th Infantry

  • Charles W. Smith (DePauw 1867), 109th Infantry

  • Thomas Norwood Sickles (Jefferson 1860), 10th Artillery

A museum there details the USCT story; visit the web page

1000 U St. NW; south side of U St. between Vermont Ave. and 10th. Six blocks east of the unused headquarters lot.
 

History - Frank Keck
Keck in the Philippines

Frank Keck Headstone
Keck headstone, from 
Arlington Cemetery website

Arlington Cemetery

Grave of Frank Keck and Others

Major Frank Keck (CCNY 1872, Columbia 1875) was born January 28, 1853. To him we largely owe the creation of both our Fraternity and chapter heraldry. He also edited three editions of the Fraternity catalogue. Keck served on the Grand Chapter in New York City from 1873 to 1898, was treasurer from 1881 to 1897, and its last president in 1898. The story of his love for Phi Gamma Delta and his passing on June 25, 1925 is poignantly told in Chamberlin's The History of Phi Gamma Delta, Tomos Beta. An attorney by profession, Keck served as a Major in the 71st New York Volunteers during the Spanish American War, most notably commanding the Third Battalion in the charge up San Juan Hill. He also served as a Captain in the 42nd U.S. Infantry in the Philippines. Buried Section 3, Grave 1628.

Other Phi Gam notables at Arlington: 
Allen D. Albert (Gettysburg 1867) Thrice-wounded Civil War vet. Section 17, Grave 18250.
Wilber Marion Brucker (Michigan 1916) Michigan attorney general and governor; Secretary of the Army; Section 15. 
Clovis Ethelbert Byers (Ohio State 1921) US Army lieutenant-general in WWII; Section 2, Site 4737.
Tedford Harris Cann (New York) Medal of Honor, champion swimmer, 1924 Olympian; Section 7, Grave 10118-SS.
George Henry Decker (Lafayette 1924) US Army General and Chief of Staff (1960-62), Section 7, Grave 8197-A-RH. 
Robert L. Eichelberger (Ohio State 1907) US Army general in WWII; Section 2, Grave 4737.
Mark Hersey (Maine Faculty) US Army Major-General, commanded 155th Infantry, then Fourth Division, WWI; Section 3, Site 1618.
Jacob Kline (Gettysburg 1860) US Army 1861-1904; retired as Brigadier General; Section 2, Site 918.
James Harvey McLeary (Soule; Washington and Lee 1869) Texas state legislator and attorney general; Major, Spanish American War; Porto Rico chief supreme court justice. Section 3, Grave 2259-WS.
Daniel D. Pullen (Washington 1907) Captain, Tank Corps, WWI. Section 3, Grave 1364-A.
George Augustus Sheridan (Wabash initiate) Congressman. Section 1, Grave 656.
William Berchmann Wall (CCNY 1905) US Army Captain, WWI. Section 3, Grave 4480.
Also buried at Arlington is a founder of Sigma Chi, Benjamin P. Runkle (see his monument at the Arlington web site). Many other Phi Gams are buried in area cemeteries.
 


Wardman Park Hotel c.1976, from
The Phi Gamma Delta

Wardman Park Hotel/Sheraton Park Hotel

1933 and 1976 Ekklesiai

Host to two Ekklesiai, the Wardman Park opened in 1918. An annex, known as the Wardman Tower, was added ten years later. The 85th Ekklesia convened here, December 29, 1933 to January 1, 1934. The Wardman Park Theater served as convention hall. 385 registered. After the hotel's sale in 1953 it became the Sheraton Park Hotel. Many expansions, including the 1964 Park Tower, helped make it the largest hotel in Washington: 1200 rooms on 16 acres. It hosted the 128th Ekklesia in August, 1976, with a registration higher than any previous since 1954. In 1980, it was renamed Sheraton Washington Hotel and in 1998, the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. 

2660 Woodley Road, NW, adjacent to Connecticut Avenue. Northwest of the "Headquarters that Never Was."
 


Shoreham Hotel c.1959,
from
The Phi Gamma Delta

 

Shoreham Hotel

1960 Ekklesia

This neighbor to the Wardman Park Hotel opened in 1930 on eleven park-like acres. It is now the Omni Shoreham. The 112th "Wilkinson" Ekklesia occurred here in August, 1960; it celebrated the long career and retirement of Cecil J. "Scoop" Wilkinson (Ohio Wesleyan 1917), Executive Director and Editor for nearly 38 years. Registration stood at 605.

2500 Calvert Street, NW, at Connecticut Avenue
 


Crystal Gateway (hotel website)
 

Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel

1992 Ekklesia

This eighteen-story hotel was location of the 144th Ekklesia in August, 1992. 693 registered.

1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA. Adjacent to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
 


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