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Phi Gamma Delta Headquarters

International Headquarters Building, 1986-Today

The first headquarters built for the Fraternity houses the museum, library, archives, Fraternity administrative offices, and the offices of the Phi Gamma Delta Educational Foundations. It sits on a 2.78 acre site.

 In 1979 The Archons approved plans to acquire property, and in May 19, 1984 ground was broken. Truett H. Coston (Texas 1936) was the architect; the contractor was J. T. Perry, Jr. (Washington and Lee 1941). Both specified they were not to be compensated for their professional services. Hundreds of brothers and many chapters donated to the building fund.

The May 18, 1985 dedication ceremony placed a plaque over a time capsule. The Fraternity will open it in 2048 during the 200th anniversary. Contents include badges of Archons, issues of The Phi Gamma Delta, a Fiji dollar, and a dedication ceremony program, guest book, and videotape.

1201 Red Mile Road. Museum and offices open weekdays 9 to 5, and at other times by appointment.

Former Headquarters Building, 1973-86

When the Fraternity decided to move from Washington in the early 1970s, it looked for a central and accessible location.  Lexington, Kentucky fit the bill. The Educational Foundation, who had owned the headquarters in Washington, was reluctant to purchase property at that time. Instead, the Fraternity leased space in this building; offices were located on the second floor with storage on the third. Field secretaries roomed in an apartment across the street.

343 Waller Avenue, #301

Picture from the History of Phi Gamma Delta, Tomos Gamma

Fraternity and Educational Foundation Headquarters, 1956-73

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.

When 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.

      Main Lobby                         Coolidge Portrait
From The History of Phi Gamma Delta, Tomos Gamma

Rust Building c.1934; Central Fraternity Offices, 1934-56

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; see a photograph of the interior from the 1934 article. These rooms would house the Fraternity's growing administrative apparatus for the next twenty years.

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

Rust Building c.1934,             Interior of Rust Building
from the Phi Gamma Delta

The Otis Building (site only)
Central Fraternity Offices, 1926-34 

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.

American National Bank Building
Central Fraternity Offices, 1922-26 

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.

American National Bank Building as it appears today.

Law Office of Harace Brightman;
Fraternity Central Office, 1917-22

After the election of Horace I. Brightman (Columbia 1892) as Archon Secretary at the 1917 Ekklesia, the central office was moved from Pittsburgh to New York City. It remained here until George F. Snyder's election as Secretary in 1921, when the office was moved to Washington, DC.

Brightman served as Archon President from 1923 to 1934, the longest term ever.

Built in 1900 as an office building, it is now the upscale Library Hotel.

299 Madison Avenue, at 41st Street

Union Bank Building
Central Fraternity Office 1916-17

On May 24, 1916, the central office moved next door to the Union Bank Building, room 1404. This was adjacent to the business office of Harry Wassell (Bucknell 1900), the archon secretary, in room 1406.

The office remained in Pittsburgh until the 1917 Ekklesia elected Horace Brightman as Archon Secretary. As it was customary for the office to locate where the secretary lived, it moved to New York City.

The Union Bank Building was built in 1906.

1404 Union National Bank Building, 306 Fourth Avenue

Picture from postcard

Central Fraternity Office, 1914-16

From 1898 to 1913, the central office held records and a part-time clerk employed by the Archon Secretary. However, the Pittsburgh office was the first with a full-time salaried staff member. Cal Chambers (Wisconsin '12) recalled, "The 1912 Ekklesia at Indianapolis authorized the Archons to employ a Field Secretary and establish a central office. I started on the job on March 5, 1913. I traveled in the East until June and then set up an office in a room of Tom L. Pouge's law office in Cincinnati. In September I moved to the New York Club.  When Harry B. Wassell of Pittsburgh was elected Secretary of the Fraternity at the Atlantic City Ekklesia in December, 1913, plans were made for the central office at Pittsburgh. That was really our first central office. It was established in January, 1914, with a full-time stenographer. Then we started to accumulate records . . . . A membership file was set up and we began collecting dues and fees for the Treasurer, handling all official correspondence, etc." 

The office was in room 1411. Phi Gamma Delta magazine editor E. B. Hulley was located in room 2003.

The Commonwealth Building was designed by architect Frederick Osterling and built in 1906.

1411 Commonwealth Building, 316 Fourth Avenue at corner with Wood Street
21 Park Row (Library of Congress)

Second Central Office, 1899-___

"Immediately after the Dayton Convention [October, 1899] new quarters were secured in the splendid new thirty-story Park Row Building. The office room is conveniently located, is fresh and prettily furnished and best of all is absolutely fireproof."

So reported The Phi Gamma Delta magazine in December, 1899. Archon Secretary William E. Gard (Yale 1877, Maryland 1879) moved the central office a short distance to Room No. 1231, Park Row Building.  He reported the structure as "the largest office building in the world. The office is very centrally located, being directly opposite the post office building." The first brother paid to manage the office at this location was G. Foster Smith (Minnesota 1898).

Completed in 1899, the Park Row building was designated a historic landmark in 1999. It still houses offices today.

15 Park Row (originally 21 Park Row)
photo: 229 Madison c. 1920

First Central Office, 1898-1899

By December, 1898, the Fraternity's first official central office was opened by the Archon Secretary at Park Place, for the cost of $150 a year.  Archon Secretary William E. Gard (Yale 1877, Maryland 1879) told the 1899 Ekklesia,

"It is well adapted for its purpose, being in the very heart of the downtown business center, and within one block of the post-office. It is on the sixth floor, reached by an elevator, and is supplied with all the conveniences, as running water, steam heat, gas and electric light, and janitor service. In this room were placed all the working essentials of a business office: a typewriting machine, desk and mimeograph . . . letter boxes and shelving belonging to the archives . . . . The office has been kept open in the mornings for an entire year."

Gard hired Joe Walker McSpadden (Tennessee 1897) to manage the office. Later, The Phi Gamma Delta magazine said "The office was entirely inadequate for the needs of the fraternity, beside being in an old building with no pretentions [sic] of being fireproof."

Corner of Church and Park Place (originally 30 Park Place)

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

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.

Site only: Southwest corner, intersection of Sixteenth Street, U Street, and New Hampshire Avenue.           Twelve blocks north of the White House.
photo: from The Phi Gamma Delta

Location of the "Headquarters
that Never Was" in Washington, DC

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