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The State of Texas

Phi Gamma Delta has a long history in Texas, dating to 1856. We have the distinction of second fraternity in the state -- Phi Delta Theta preceded us with a short-lived chapter at Austin College, Huntsville, in 1853. For two years following the founding of Kappa Chapter at Baylor University in 1856, Phi Gamma Delta was the only fraternity in Texas.

In all, Texas has hosted eleven Phi Gam chapters and three Ekklesiai.

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Independence, Texas

Baylor University (original site)

Site of Kappa Chapter, 1856-1862, 1881-1886 

Kappa Chapter chartered at Baylor University in 1856 as the University's first fraternity and Phi Gamma Delta's first in Texas. Professor Gilbert L. Morgan (Union University 1855) was the legate. The chapter posted a brilliant record. In 1861, a schism in the administration led Baylor's president and faculty - including Oscar H. Leland (Baylor 1856) - to relocate to Waco University. In September, Baylor's seven seniors, including four Phi Gams, took degrees from Waco rather than from Baylor.

Kappa Chapter appears to have ceased during the Civil War. It revived in 1881. Five years later, Baylor relocated to Waco, absorbing Waco University. The chapter ceased due to a faculty ban on fraternities.

The original site of Baylor is an historic site; the pillars of the female college building stand as a monument.

Old Baylor Park
FM 390 (La Bahia Road),
one-half mile west of Independence, Texas

Soule University,
sketch by unknown artist. Courtesy Mr. Nath Winfield

Soule University, c.1890s. Courtesy Mr. Nath Winfield 

 Chappell Hill, Texas

Soule University (site only) and Chappell Hill Museum

Site of the "Lost Chapter" c.1861

Soule University was founded in 1856. Its home of Chappell Hill was just eighteen miles west of our Baylor chapter at Independence. In February, 1861, during the heated throes of secession, a chapter began at Soule. Apparently the charter came from Union University as described in a related article.

The chapter may have continued into the Civil War, and evidence suggests it operated in 1865 or 1866. It is not certain when it ceased operations, or even the names of most members.

Much of Soule's denominational support departed in 1873 when the Methodists founded Southwestern University. Despite this, Soule operated until 1887. The university building became a public school and was razed in the early

The Chappell Hill Museum
9220 Poplar Street
Chappell Hill, Texas

Waco University,
from an 1892 map
at the Library of Congress

Waco, Texas

Waco University (site only)

Site of the aborted Chi Chapter, c. 1866

Waco Classical School formed in early 1860. The next year, Baylor's president and faculty left that school and came to the renamed Waco University (see above).

After returning from Confederate military service, Waco University Professor Oscar H. Leland (Baylor 1856) wrote the Grand Chapter at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania about starting a chapter. Subsequently, the Grand Chapter sent a charter for Chi Chapter at Waco in 1866.

However, this chapter was never installed. The faculty had enacted a ban on fraternities, and Leland had left his professorship to become a government revenue collector. The Grand Chapter never received any notice of a chapter installation, or any other activity. Thus in 1869 they declared Chi Chapter extinct. At the 1870 convention, they reported that they had finally contacted Leland, who confirmed the chapter was not installed.

Waco merged with Baylor University in 1886. The combined schools relocated to a new campus (see below). According to an old panoramic map, the old buildings became a cotton factory.

Historic Marker
5th and Clay Streets
Waco, Texas

Baylor University,
from an 1892 map
at the Library of Congress

Waco, Texas

Baylor University

Site of Kappa Chapter, 1978 to Present

Baylor University relocated to Waco in 1886, absorbing Waco University and moving to a new campus. A faculty ban on fraternities forced Kappa Chapter to return its charter. Kappa Chapter returned to Baylor in 1978, shortly after the ban on national fraternities was revoked.

The remaining original buildings of Baylor's Waco campus are centered around Burleson Quadrangle and The Sesquicentennial Walkway. Look for walkway bricks commemorating Phi Gamma Delta on Row 59, and Mark A. Kelton (Baylor 1861) on Row 218.

Old Main, Baylor University
South 5th Street between Speight and Dutton
Waco, Texas

Buen Retiro

Austin, Texas

University of Texas and Buen Retiro

The University of Texas opened in September 1883. Tau Deuteron Chapter received its charter that December. Professor Leslie Waggener (Union 1856, Bethel 1860) acted as legate (installing officer). He later became University president. Another UT president was William L. Prather (Washington and Lee 1871) - see related article. He originated the phrase, "the eyes of Texas are upon you," from which comes the University song. On campus, Prather Hall (1937) is named after them. A third brother, William S. Livingston (Ohio State 1942) served as Acting President in 1992-93.

Tau Deuteron ceased in 1887, and revived in 1901. The chapter moved from one rented house to another for several years. Then the mother of H.J. Lutcher Stark (Texas 1910) bought the Goldbeck mansion, built in 1902. The house corporation purchased it from her in May 1908. Known today as Buen Retiro ("Good Rest"), the chapter house has experienced many remodelings and renovations. A Texas Historical Commission marker is affixed by the front door.

300 W. 27th Street
Austin, Texas

The Gunter Hotel,
from its website

San Antonio, Texas

The Gunter Hotel

1930-31 Ekklesia

The 1930-31 Ekklesia was one of a number of winter conventions held in the early twentieth century. 314 registered for the December 30-January 2 meeting.

On November 13, 1993 the Gunter hosted the installation ceremonies and banquet for the Sigma Alpha Chapter, University of Texas at San Antonio.

Built in 1909, the Gunter is still in operation.

205 East Houston Street
San Antonio, Texas

Dallas Adams Mark, from their website

Dallas, Texas

Sheraton Dallas Hotel

1962 Ekklesia

Built in 1958, the Sheraton Dallas stood thirty-eight stories tall. It connected to its forty-two story sister tower, the Southland Life building, through a common base. 544 registered for the 114th Ekklesia here on August 21-25, 1962.

In 1998, the hotel joined the Adams Mark chain and the Southland Life and a third tower (added in 1980) were converted into hotel space, creating the largest hotel in Texas.

Adams Mark Hotel
400 North Olive Street
Dallas, Texas

Exterior view of hotel
and Riverwalk,
from hotel website.

San Antonio, Texas

Hyatt Riverwalk

2000 Ekklesia

The historic Riverwalk area hosted hundreds of Phi Gams at the 152nd Ekklesia, San Antonio's second. The hotel is directly across from the Alamo and features a sixteen-story atrium overlooking the Riverwalk.

123 Losoya Street
San Antonio, Texas

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