As we approach our centennial anniversary, we will share more about upcoming activities, along with bits of history about the chapter. For example, did you know that Alpha Phi had the first dedicated chapter house on the UT campus?
The Omega Chapter was chartered in 1920 but it wasn’t until 1932 that a chapter house became a reality. Mary Eliza Brown sold the 80 ft x 125 ft piece of land at 2005 University Ave to Alpha Phi for $5,000. The chapter then borrowed about $22,000 and commissioned Bartlett Cocke, AIA of San Antonio, whose wife Mildred was an early Alpha Phi initiate, to design a two-story “ranch style” house of approximately 6,000 square feet, housing 22 women.
In 1949, the firm of Page Southerland Page Architects of Austin designed a two-story addition to the east side (stadium side) of the original building, taking in what were original vestibules and porch to the east of the parlor. This created the game room or downstairs TV room.
In 1952, Bartlett Cocke renovated the house to include the addition of a complete third floor over the entire original building as well as the addition of a two story wing along the north side, next to the church. These additions provided additional bedrooms and baths, a new kitchen and dining room, a chapter room, fire escapes and carport. During that renovation, the wrought iron we all know and love replaced the original balcony on the west facade, giving the house its present New Orleans style.
In 1971, the interior courtyard was enclosed, creating an open space with skylights that many of us call the “Big Room”. The chapter house now slept 44 women. Finally, in 1978, the second floor above the kitchen/dining room was redesigned with the addition of a space above the carport. This enlarged the Chapter Room and created the sewing or copy room, now the guest bedroom, and the small bathroom.
While there have been no structural additions to the House since 1978, we have had lots of interior updates over the years. Today, the Omega Chapter House is a three-story brick structure of approximately 14,000 square feet that houses 48 women and one House Director!
To keep our beloved Omega House healthy and strong for decades to come, the House Corporation Board (HCB) will establish a Building Fund that will create an ongoing bank of funds to be used for renovations and decorating