Historic Homes, Travel

Miracle’s Christmas Tour of Homes: A Day when the Historic Sorority Homes at the University of Georgia Open their Doors to the Public

Alpha Gamma Delta

The house was built in 1896 and bought as a wedding present for Miss. Sussie Carithers. It is often referred to as “The Wedding Cake House”. Sadly, the bride was jilted at the alter and then hung herself in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Legend has it that the girl who lives in that room will be engaged before the years end. The house was then used as a boarding house until the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority purchased it in the 1930’s. It is generally thought of as one of the most beautiful sorority houses on Milledge Ave. The beautiful detailing, including stained glass windows, and it even has Tiffany Glass front doors. These doors are often referred to as the million dollar doors.

Above information from: http://www.alphagammadeltahouses.com/2007/10/gamma-alpha-chapter-university-of.html

Delta Phi Epsilon

The Delta Phi Epsilon house was built in 1890 in the Queen Anne style. It was then expanded in 1925. The house has many curved rooms, arches, circles, high ceilings, and decorative wood work thought out. It was a single family home and then a boarding house before Delta Phi Epsilon moved in. Most of the original wood work is still in tacked in the foyer. The house was designed by W.W. Thomas who also designed the Alpha Gamma Delta house.

Because of its large tower in front, it is lovingly referred to by the sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon as the “Strat Castle”. This house is definitely my favorite, because I am a sister of that sorority. I have so many great memories that this house was the setting of.

Kappa Alpha Theta

The Kappa Alpha Theta house is a classic Greek revival style home—built in Athens between 1856 and 1857—was purchased for the chapter. This purchase and subsequent renovations rescued the mansion from ruin and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic American Building Survey.

Heralded as one of the finest examples of Greek Revival retexture in the United State, the Albin P. Dearing House was documented in the Historic American buildings survey (GA-1133), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (May 8, 1979) and is a locally designated Historic Landmark (January 8, 1991).

When Milledge Avenue became available for residential construction in 1857, A.P. Dearing purchased property from the University of Georgia trustees and built his impressive Greek Revival house the following year. During the War Between the States, the younger Dearing, as an officer at The Bank of Athens, was appointed during a town hall meeting on February 6, 1864 to receive stock subscriptions in an effort to form a local company that would secure provision at cost plus expenses to combat inflation and food shortages in Athens.

The house remained in the Dearing family until property taxes and maintenance costs forced Dearing’s granddaughter Katherine Dearing Godwin to sell. The University of Georgia chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta has owned the house since purchasing the property in 1938 from Mrs. Godwin.

The Heroic Greek Doric colonnade of the Albin P. Dearing House wraps three sides of the two-story facade constructed of locally made brick. It presents one of the most imposing images of its architectural style in Athens, a city punctuated with Greek Revival buildings.

The colossal stuccoed brick columns are fluted and truncated. Unlike traditional equidistant Greek Revival columnar placement, the Dearing House columns are coupled. 

Jack arches frame recessed full-lengthy parlor floor windows which open to the porch. The signature Greek Revival single door entry with rectangular multi-pane sidelights and transom is framed by pilasters supporting low relief Greek fretwork panels supporting simple molded capitals, a plain entablature and box cornice.

The house is a four-over-four, central hall plan with a dominant parlor floor and second floor seeping rooms. Its exterior walls are 16″ thick, providing superior insulation. 

Above information from: http://georgia.kappaalphatheta.org/chapter-history

Chi Omega

Although the Chi Omega house appears small from the front, members refer to it as “the mullet” as the dormitory area can accommodate 69 girls. It is built with a main house in the front and then three wings with a courtyard in the middle. The courtyard is adjacent to the living quarters and the chapter room.

While the house appears old, it was actually built in the 1960’s. But it was made with pre-civil war bricks in a colonial style.

Above Information from : https://www.ugachiomega.com/about

Delta Gamma

The Detla Gamma house was opened to sisters on October 19, 1969, but it got remolded this year! It was originally designed to look like a ship, their emblem is an anchor. Now it is designed to look like a stately southern mansion. They are planning on doing more renovation to the house in the coming years.

Phi Mu

This Greek Revival home was built in 1858 for Thomas Napier Hamilton, who is said to have been Georgia’s first millionaire. The house was designated as a historic landmark in 1991. It was sold in 1964 to UGA’s first sorority – Phi Mu. Additions were made to the house, including new wings as well as the curved double set of entrance stairs.

Above info from: http://www.jillleitestudio.com/gallery/phi-mu

The chandelier that hangs in the front hall is from New Orleans, and the house is decorated in the “New Orleans” style. My favorite feature of this home is the beautiful spiral staircase.

Alpha Delta Pi

The Alpha Delta Pi house was finished in 1861. It was the home of
Dr. James S. Hamilton House.

Dr. James Hamilton was successful textile manufacturer and bought this lot from the University of Georgia. He began building the house in 1857. It was designed by the renowned Ross Crane (who had moved to Athens from New Jersey in 1830) and completed shortly before the Civil War broke out in 1861.

The ornamental iron work was made in the Wood-Perot Foundry in Pennsylvania and shipped into the port of Savannah shortly before it was sealed off by the Union blockade. A two-story stuccoed brick house with a roof and porch roof of red metal and a one-story wrap-around porch of slender cast iron columns and railing, the house combines Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate styles.

In the years after the war, the house was famous for its lavish parties, the main attraction of which were the four Hamilton sisters– Southern Belles who were extremely popular with local bachelors.

The house is now owned by the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

Above Info from: https://www.facebook.com/pg/adpiuga/about/?ref=page_internal

Sigma Kappa

The Sigma Kappa House was built in the Georgian Style and was originally the Mayor of Athens Home. It was purchased by Phi Mu in 1939. When Simga Kappa came to the University of Georiga in 1964, Phi Mu very graciously sold their house to Simga Kappa. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I was not able to make it to all of the lovely sorority and fraternity houses that were open for tours that day. There are just so many! But I really enjoyed touring all of the ones that I did get to see. I would highly recommend going if you are able. The event if put on by UGA® Miracle, which is a student-run philanthropic organization that benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the local Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

1 thought on “Miracle’s Christmas Tour of Homes: A Day when the Historic Sorority Homes at the University of Georgia Open their Doors to the Public”

  1. Savannah, GA is a City that I would not mind going to visit. It has so much History in it, that it would be hard to see everything it has to offer. I have often thought about going here, but just never make it. Those outstanding looking Mansions are just simply awesome to see. Savannah must have many of them. Since I enjoy “snooping around” in Historical places with my camera, I would probably fall over trying to see everything.

    Here in Reading, PA there is much History around my area. It’s full of it. Much of it is up in the Coal Region Area where much of the Coal was mined to produce energy for a growing Nation. Valley Forge is not far away, along with Independence Park In Philadelphia. I’m told that Savannah is a bit on the Haunted Side. Ghosts and Spirits from Savannah’s past are there. I am following. Be Well, down there.
    Les

    Liked by 1 person

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