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The State of Ohio

Phi Gamma Delta has long had a presence in Ohio, making it part of the "Purple Valley" comprised of Midwestern states.

The first Ohio chapter chartered at Marietta College in 1856. Thirteen chapters have graced the state, including Ohio Wesleyan University, Case Western Reserve University, Wittenberg University, Denison University, College of Wooster, Miami University, Kent State, Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University, University of Akron, University of Toledo, and Ohio State University.

Starting in 1856, fourteen conventions and Ekklesiai have convened in six different Ohio cities. Eleven summer Fiji Academies met here between 1977 and 2001.

Also see our specific page on Cleveland, Ohio.

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Burnet House c.1850,
from The Illustrated London News

Cincinnati, Ohio

Burnet House (site only)

1856 Convention

Completed in 1850 as a veritable palace and to wide acclaim, the Burnet House hotel was designed by noted architect Isaiah Rogers. It featured a forty-two foot wide central dome and 342 rooms. The hotel stood until 1926.

Four chapters met in convention on August 16-17, 1856.

Northwest corner, Third Street and Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio

McDowell grave

Delaware, Ohio

Oak Grove Cemetery

Resting place of at least two Phi Gam luminaries:

  • William F. McDowell (Ohio Wesleyan 1879), the first editor of The Phi Gamma Delta magazine, later a Methodist bishop and Chancellor of Denver University.
  • Cecil J. "Scoo" Wilkinson (Ohio Wesleyan 1917), editor from 1920 to 1959 and Phi Gamma Delta's Executive Secretary 1922 to 1959.

334 S. Sandusky St. 
Delaware, OH 43015
(740) 363-2971

American House

Delaware, Ohio

American House, Good Templar Hall, and Williams Opera House

1870 Convention

American House was the site of the 1870 convention's banquet and presumably the lodgings. It was also the site of the installation of Sigma Chi's Gamma chapter, its second. It was built in 1845 as the "Hinton House" and later renamed.

Convention meetings were held in Good Templar Hall and the public meeting in the Williams Opera House.

One delegate recalled, "The convention was held in a beautiful little hall in Delaware . . . . Cyrus Clark of Pittsburgh was the presiding officer . . . . The second night we assembled in the city hall and heard Bro. [William] McLaren's poem and Bro. [David] Hall's oration. The large hall was well filled with a brilliant audience . . . . The Delaware band discoursed the finest strains of music."

Sandusky and Winter Streets
Delaware, Ohio

Neil House, from a postcard

Columbus, Ohio

Neil House (site only)

1882, 1888, 1894 Convention

The Neil House was located directly across from the Ohio Statehouse. The original burned in the mid-1800s and was replaced in 1862. That structure was itself demolished in 1922, and in turn its replacement was demolished in 1983.

Brothers met here in 1882 and returned for lodging and banquets in 1888 and 1894, when they convened in the nearby rented halls of Omicron Deuteron Chapter. Today the Huntington Center occupies the site.

41 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio

The Pioneer Block c.1885, from Columbus Metropolitan Library

Columbus, Ohio

Omicron Deuteron's Hall (site only)

1888 and 1894 Conventions

Omicron Deuteron Chapter at Ohio State rented rooms in the Pioneer Block. The building was located directly north of the Neil House hotel, and across from the Ohio Statehouse.

Fraternity conventions met here in 1888 and 1894. Lodging and banquets occurred at the Neil House next door (see above).

The Pioneer Block was built in 1877 and demolished in April 1901. It was replaced by the twelve-story Harrison Building, Columbus's first skyscraper.

25 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University,
from The Phi Gamma Delta magazine

Harley's Rock 

Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University

Fiji Academies, Omicron Deuteron Chapter, and Chic Harley

Ohio State hosted seven Fiji Academies, including 1977, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, and 1991. Brothers of the time recall long walks between Academy events (the campus is huge), and outings to venues on High Street.

Omicron Deuteron Chapter began here in 1878 as Ohio State's first fraternity. Buildings include Ross Residence Hall, named for Mylin H. Ross (Ohio State 1931), dean of men 1952-1967, and the Orton Memorial Library of Geology, named for Edward Orton, Jr. (Ohio State 1884).

A rock at 18th and High Street has a plaque that commemorates Chic Harley (Ohio State 1920), one of football's greatest college players. It reads: 

Site of Ohio Field (1903-21), where Charles W. "Chic" Harley, All-American halfback in 1916-17-19, performed those feats that made him an Ohio State football legend and sparked the public enthusiasm which led to the construction of Ohio Stadium.

To this day, Ohio Stadium is called "The House that Harley Built."

Columbus, Ohio

1886 Convention Photo

Springfield, Ohio

K. of P. Hall and Arcade Hotel (site only)

1886 Convention

The 22nd Convention met on October 28-30, 1886 with eighteen chapters attending. Meetings were held in the Knights of Pythias Hall. The Arcade Hotel hosted the banquet. Built in 1883, it was torn down in 1988. A Marriott now occupies the site.

Thomas J. Kirkpatrick (Ohio Wesleyan 1879) presided at the convention and the banquet. He was editor of Farm and Fireside, the first publication of what later became the Crowell-Collier publishing firm. The convention photograph was taken in front of their offices.

Springfield is home to Wittenberg University and our Sigma Chapter. Sigma was chartered in 1884 and installed at the Arcade Hotel.

Knights of Pythias Hall, 42 1/2 S. Market Street.
Arcade Hotel, 100 S. Fountain Ave.
Farm and Fireside offices, Northwest corner High and Factory.
Springfield, Ohio

1899 group photo

Beckel House c.1875 

Dayton, Ohio

Women's Christian Association Hall and Beckel House

1899 Ekklesia

138 brothers convened at the Women's Christian Association Hall, meeting place of the Mozart Club, on October 19-21, 1899. Charters were granted to form chapters at Maine and Missouri.

The convention headquarters was at the Beckel House hotel. Beckel House was completed in 1866, with a west wing added in the mid-1880s.

Beckel House
Third and Jefferson Street
Dayton, Ohio

1902 Ekklesia
group photograph

Put-In-Bay, Ohio

Hotel Victory

1902, 1903, 1904 Ekklesiai

Niagara Falls inaugurated the resort Ekklesia. Put-In-Bay made it an institution, at least for a while, with three Ekklesiai in as many years. Around one hundred and fifty brothers attended each gathering.

Hotel Victory opened in 1892 with over six hundred rooms. Its claim to fame is the first swimming pool allowing both men and women together. The pool remains; the hotel burned in 1919. Today the site is in South Bass Island State Park.

South Bass Island State Park
Put-In-Bay, Ohio

S.S. Chamberlin Lodge
in 1927, from The Phi Gamma Delta magazine

Granville, Ohio

Robbins-Hunter Museum/Avery-Downer House

Lambda Deuteron Chapter House, 1902-1930

Built in 1842 by one of Granville's founders, this Greek Revival house was a private home until its purchase by the Lambda Deuteron Chapter. The S.S. Chamberlin Lodge housed the brothers for 28 years. In 1930 they relocated to a new on-campus house. Kappa Sigma then occupied the house until 1956. Open since 1981, the museum displays fourteen of the twenty-seven rooms with 18th and 19th century decor and furnishings. Read more about Lambda Deuteron and its house.

Denison University hosted the first Fiji Academy in 1949. Lambda Deuteron Chapter was founded at Denison in 1885.

221 E. Broadway
Granville, Ohio

Miami University as it appeared in the 1840s

Oxford, Ohio

Miami University

Fiji Academies and Mu Upsilon Chapter

Miami University has a long history and is known among fraternities as the founding place of the Miami Triad: Beta Theta Pi (1838), Phi Delta Theta (1848), and Sigma Chi (1855). Phi Kappa Tau was founded here in 1906. Monuments to each are found on the campus, and several have headquarters in town.

One of our Founders, John Templeton McCarty (Jefferson 1848) [biography] attended Miami in 1845 prior to transferring to Jefferson College. It is believed that the rivalries between the Betas and the Alpha Delta Phis in part inspired him to found Phi Gamma Delta.

Our Mu Upsilon Chapter was chartered at Miami of Ohio in 1957. Its chapter house features a mantelpiece from the childhood home of McCarty. Other mantels are found at Hanover College and our International Headquarters.

Miami University was also the site of Fiji Academies in 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001. On campus, Minnich Residence Hall and Withrow Court are named after Harvey C. Minnich (Miami Faculty) and John W. Withrow (Ohio Wesleyan 1877).

Oxford, Ohio

Statue at Jack Nicklaus Museum

Other Ohio Sites of Interest

Other Ohio Sites of Interest

- Marietta College, site of Eta Chapter 1855-1857 and 1879-1897. 
- College of Wooster, 
site of Rho Deuteron Chapter 1882-1913.  

Kent State University, site of Kappa Upsilon Chapter 1960-1980.  
Jack Nicklaus Museum, dedicated to the Ohio State brother and famed professional golfer. 

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