When the brothers of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity returned to campus this year, it was not the same home they had known for the past decade.
Eleven years after first settling in the house on 195 East Manning St., the Delts moved to 50 Park St.
The 19th-century house had been the Delt’s home since 2010. The brothers said it was an active place where friends came to hang out, share meals together, and establish community.
“Every time I came back to the house I would always find people hanging out in the common area,” said Benjamin Garfinkle, senior and vice president of Delta Tau Delta. “It was a strange house, but I had nothing but positive experiences there.”
Junior Mason Mohon said his best memory of the house was living with his fellow brothers.
“The house was weirdly suited for fraternity living,” Mohon said. “It had all sorts of bizarre connections between the rooms which inclined us to be social with one another.”
The house was built in the 1860s and was one of the few houses on East Manning street to be designed in Etruscan-Italian architecture, according to junior Carson Brown. The advanced age of the building led many Delts over the years to wonder about one thing in particular: paranormal activity.
After moving into the house in 2010, the brothers began to wonder whether the property was previously a sanatorium or a morgue to explain the strange activity experienced by its residents. Several residents said when they were alone, they saw figures rush through the halls, objects like doors slam shut mysteriously, or they heard inexplicable noises.
Brown said he experienced paranormal activity when he returned to campus after the summer of 2020.
“I was one of the first to be moving back in. As I unpacked my bags in my room, I saw a figure walk across the hall outside my door,” Brown said. “I rushed out to see where it went, yet nothing was there. Later that night, I was awoken by the sound of children laughing. By that point I bolted out of the house and stayed with a friend of mine living off-campus.”
Mohon said he and his girlfriend were in the house over fall break when something slammed a door shut and knocked over objects on a shelf.
“We were cooking in the kitchen when the door to the basement, which is a heavily bolted door, just slams shut suddenly,” Mohon said. “Later that night, some of the brothers came back and we hear a bunch of thudding upstairs like running. We run upstairs to see what happened, and all we see is a foam football that used to be on a shelf knocked off-half-way across the room.”
Despite the house’s mysterious past, the Delts capitalized on its character during their brief stewardship of the house.
Garfinkle said the fraternity once used the small holes that littered the floor as a mini-golf course which spoke for how the fraternity treated the house.
“As a fraternity, you can choose to treat the house poorly like it’s run-down and smelly, or you can make something out of it,” Garfinkle said. “Our mentality was focusing on the character of the situation we were given.”
Dean of men Aaron Petersen said the old house was a temporary shelter gifted by the college after Daniel York, a biology professor, sold the property in 2010.
“The house was one of those things that we reviewed with the leadership of Delt on a case-by-case basis,” Petersen said. “Last year, the college received interest in the property, and we decided it was time to re-locate.”
The property is now being rented out to private residents until the college sells it.
Despite moving to a new house, several of the Delts said the new house presents an opportunity to mold something new.
“It’s bittersweet to leave the old house, but we understand that it was a temporary residence,” Brown said. “It’s a symbol of our growth as a brotherhood.”
Senior and Delta Tau Delta President Jake Studebaker said the house did not define the brotherhood. Instead, they have to continue optimistically looking towards the future.
“A physical house is nothing more than that,” Studebaker said. “It was a place to meet, but it wasn’t the brotherhood itself. We are excited as the class that gets to define what the new house means to us.”
After 11 years, it is time for the Delts to say goodbye while still carrying on the memories of 195 E. Manning St.
“I miss the old house,” Mohon said. “I’m thankful that I was one of the last few Delts who got the chance to live there. Everyday on my walk to classes I pass by it and I just find myself staring at it.”