Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, 1924
Boundaries: Generally bounded by University Avenue Southeast, 10th Avenue Southeast, Sixth Street Southeast, and 12th Avenue Southeast. It also extends along University Avenue Southeast from 15th Avenue Southeast to 19th Avenue Southeast.
Neighborhoods Marcy Holmes, University
Date of Local Designation: 2003
Date of National Designation: N/A
Historic Profile: The rise and decline of Greek chapter membership revealed changing economic atmospheres, as well as students’ evolving political and social ideas. Recognized as well for their highly symbolic, architecturally distinctive 20th-century designs, the Fraternity and Sorority Row houses defined the northern edge of the campus. The core of the district extends east along University Avenue from 15th Avenue Southeast to 19th Avenue Southeast in an area commonly known as "Fraternity Row." The area known as "Sorority Row," or "Off-the-Row," a 14-square-block area from University Avenue Southeast at the south, west to 10th Avenue Southeast, north to Sixth Street Southeast and west to 12th Avenue Southeast is also included in the district.
With an enrollment of 212 in 1870, the student body of the University of Minnesota grew to over 17,500 by 1930. The first Greek letter chapter, the Alpha Nu chapter of Chi Psi, was founded in 1874 and was soon followed by others such as Phi Delta Theta (1881) and Delta Tau Delta (1883). By the turn of the 20th century, a high demand for new houses was triggered by the flourishing number of Greek societies. Beaux Arts, Classical and Period Revival designs were chosen for the Greek chapter houses, many of them designed by prominent local architects such as William Kenyon (Phi Kappa Psi) and the firm of Kees and Colburn (Psi Upsilon).
During the period of significance, from 1907 to 1930, a total of 22 chapter houses on Fraternity Row and 11 chapter houses on Sorority Row which were built still retain a fair level of historic integrity. Their presence along with their impressive facades and interiors are symbolic of permanence and influence of the Greek letter system in the University of Minnesota.
1928, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
1924, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
Landscape Research, "University of Minnesota Greek Letter Chapter House Designation Study," November 2003.
Updated April 2011