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Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee has been home to a total of eight undergraduate Phi Gam chapters. The Fraternity placed her third chapter at the University of Nashville in 1850. Shortly thereafter the institution closed and, with it, the chapter. Phi Gamma Delta came to Union University in nearby Murfreesboro the following year. That school and chapter ceased in 1873. Another area school, Cumberland University in Lebanon, hosted a chapter from 1869 to 1878.

Phi Gamma Delta has also had chapters at Maryville College, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee, Tennessee Tech, and University of the South (Sewanee). Tennessee has also been home to several graduate chapters. And the Fraternity came to Nashville for its 1896 convention and 1980 Ekklesia.

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University of Nashville
State Historical Marker,
from Hills of Tennessee

University of Nashville (site only)

Site of Original Gamma Chapter

The University of Nashville, chartered in 1826, grew out of Cumberland College, which itself sprang from Davidson Academy in 1806.

Phi Gamma Delta's third chapter chartered there in January, 1850. Unfortunately, the trustees closed the undergraduate school later that year, with an aim toward reopening quickly at a new campus. It did not work out that way. Undergraduate studies did not resume until 1853. In the meantime, Gamma Chapter expired. (See related article.)

After the Civil War, the University became Peabody College. Peabody merged with Vanderbilt University in 1979.

The address below denotes the original main building, Cumberland Hall, demolished in 1850 to accommodate the extension of South College, now Third Avenue. A University building erected in 1853 still remains at 724 Second Avenue South. It was used as a Civil War hospital, later the Children's Museum, and now city government offices.

Peabody Street and Third Avenue (formerly S. College)

Tennessee State Capitol Building,
from a postcard

Tennessee State Capitol

1897 Convention

William Strickland began constructing the Tennessee State Capitol building in 1845; it was completed in 1859 after his death.

The sessions of the 1897 convention were held in the Tennessee Statehouse. Phi Gamma Delta convened in the Senate chambers while Sigma Alpha Epsilon held its convention in the House chambers.

600 Charlotte Avenue

Duncan Hotel,
detail of c. 1911 postcard from
Historic Nashville website

Duncan Hotel (site only)

1897 Convention

Site of the 1897 convention banquet. Sigma Alpha Epsilon had its convention headquarters here at the same time.

The Duncan Hotel later became an office building. It was demolished in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Southeast corner of Fourth Avenue, North, and Cedar (now Charlotte) Street

Maxwell House, from Friends of Metropolitan Archives of Nashville and Davidson Couty

Maxwell House Hotel (site only)

1897 Convention

Headquarters of the 1897 convention, meaning this is where the brothers stayed, their "base of operations." The Maxwell House was built in 1859 and burned Christmas Day, 1961. Maxwell House coffee was named after this hotel. 

In 1979 a hotel with the same name was built a few miles away from the original site.

Northeast corner, Church Street and Fourth Avenue (formerly Cherry)

Thomas statue

Centennial Park and John Thomas Statue

Phi Gamma Delta's 1897 convention was held during the Tennessee Centennial Exposition at West Side Park, redeveloped in 1902 as Centennial Park.

The president of the Exposition, and a facilitator of the Fraternity's convention, was John Thomas (Union University 1851). In 1907 Nashville erected a statue of him in Centennial Park. Enid Yandell was the sculptor.

West End Avenue and 25th Avenue North

McGavock Family Crypt

Mount Olivet Cemetery

This old cemetery is the burial site of at least two prominent brothers:

  • Felix Grundy McGavock (Nashville 1850, North Carolina 1851), son of a famous Nashville family and charter member of both his chapters. Read about McGavock.
  • Benjamin Augustine Enloe (Cumberland 1873), US Congressman representing Tennessee, 1887-1895.

1101 Lebanon Pike

Opryland Hotel, c.1980

Opryland Hotel

1980 Ekklesia

Six hundred and ten registered for the 132nd Ekklesia, August 12-16, 1980.

The Opryland Hotel was expanded in a three-year renovation completed in 2000. It now boasts over 2,800 guest rooms and over 600,000 square feet of convention space.

2800 Opryland Drive

Union University, from Central Middle School site

Union University,
from an 1878 map

Union University (site only)

Site of Original Delta Chapter

Union University opened in 1848 in Murfreesboro, southeast of Nashville. Phi Gamma Delta's fourth chapter chartered there February, 1851. (See chapter history.)

Phi Gamma Delta chartered six chapters through 1852. Only three survived that year, and Union was the only one in the South. No additional chapters joined the fold until the spring of 1855, when a burst of expansion ensured the Fraternity's survival. Delta Chapter played a crucial role in this growth. (See article.)

The Civil War closed Union, which reopened under impoverished conditions in 1868. Delta Chapter revived in 1870. Union closed again in 1873. Its denominational resources were transferred to Southwest Baptist University in Jackson, Tennessee, which in 1907 was renamed Union University.

The three-story university building was eventually razed, and the site occupied successively by a women's college, a high school, and now a middle school.

Central Middle School
701 East Main Street, between N. University and N. Bilbro
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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