The 1928 Movie Fraternities and Club
by Beth Swift
January 10, 2013
This is a link to several YouTube videos. They are all parts of a movie shot by Woods Caperton in 1928. Fraternities and Clubs
1st fraternity shown is the Lambda Chi fraternity and its house on Green Street just south of Chestnut. This is the last house before the purchase of the Crawford home on Jennison where they are still.
At :36 on the video is the Beta Kappa fraternity house. The Beta Kappa fraternity was a new fraternity in this year. The BK’s did not make it through the Depression. This house is on the north side of the Pike and Grant Street intersection.
The third house shown, at :57, is the home of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity on East Pike Street between Green and Water Streets. The Delts are filmed doing a sort of a “clown car stunt” where it appears that loads of students are popping out of a car. What is interesting about this shot is the old First Presbyterian Church is still standing in the background. This spot is now home to the City Building.
The next fraternity shown, at 1:37, is the TKE house – known perhaps to some alums as the Eric Dean house, now home to Chemistry prof. Lon Porter.
The four square frame house up next, at 2:04, was home to the Commons Club – only three years old at Wabash. The Commons Club was a group that came together to bring down the cost of room and board. This house was torn down a few years ago, but sat at the corner of East Main and Vernon Court, near the post office.
The big old rambling house that we see at 2:54 is the home of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. As the brothers parade by the camera at 3:19 we see Byron Trippet. Among the men in this fraternity was Woods Caperton, the creator of this moving picture time capsule.
At 3:35 we see the building known as Kane House, but it was at this time and for many years more, home to the Sigma Chi fraternity.
At 4:28 the shiny new Phi Gamma Delta house is shown as is a rousing game of horseshoes. The Phi Gamma Delta house had the largest membership of any fraternity on campus. At 40+ men, it was more than double most of the other houses.
At 5:14 the Phi Delta Theta house appears. This is the old house as purchased from the Goltras and before a major remodeling project that turned it into the house most alums remember. It was here that the Infirmary was established during the influenza pandemic of the late 19 teens. And, of course, there is a St. Bernard!
At 5:57 we see the Kappa Sigma house. I love these shots. All of the guys are standing as for a photograph, then some horsing around begins and carries on, then the shot ends. High spirits!
What a great snapshot of student life! I should add that these YouTube videos are made possible by Adam Bowen and his guys in the Media Center. The original format was 16mm film which was projected onto a wall and digitally filmed so that it could be seen again. Thanks!!!