The Lodge That Was

Alpha Zeta Delta of Chi Psi occupied the Lodge at 912 South Second Street in Champaign for 72 years, from 1921 to 1993.

A fundraising campaign in 1915, only three years after the Alpha's founding, resulted in enough funds to commence construction of the Lodge in 1917. The outbreak of the first World War delayed construction until 1920, and the Brothers moved into their new home in 1921. The building cost almost twice the estimated price before the war, but the final product became a model fraternity house. With an average capacity of forty-two men, it was one of the most spacious buildings of its kind on campus. The building, with a large porch facing Washington park in Champaign, was in a prime location on campus.

In the early 1990s, the financial strains of low membership were compounded with the increasing cost of maintaining the seventy year old Lodge. Higher insurance costs, rapid deterioration of the Lodge building, and looming renovation costs due to a more rigorous interpretation of old fire codes by the city of Champaign quickly depleted the Alpha's resources. In the spring of 1993 the insurance carrier for the Lodge issued an ultimatum to the Alumni Corporation to either make an exhaustive set of specific physical changes to the building or face cancellation of coverage. Unable to afford these changes without a time-consuming fundraising campaign, the Alumni Corporation board had no choice but to evict the brothers from the uninsurable property.

While the Alpha continued to operate at Illinois, the Lodge had sadly become a financial burden. So, in January of 1994, the Lodge which had been home to generations of Chi Psis at Illinois was sold to a local developer and torn down to make room for a luxury apartment complex. The sale of the Lodge which had held such significance in the lives of so many Chi Psis fittingly enabled the establishment of a new legacy that will hold a different significance in the lives of many future Chi Psis. The proceeds of the sale of the Lodge were given to the Alpha Zeta Delta of Chi Psi Educational Foundation to be applied towards promoting scholarship among the Brothers at Illinois. This endowment, at well over half a million dollars in value and growing, is one of the largest such endowments of any single chapter of any fraternity. The Foundation has since given tens of thousands of dollars every year in scholarships, fellowships, and grants for books and computers to the Brothers of Alpha Zeta Delta.

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