Our succesful phase-one renovations are near complete. Use the links below to read about or view the products of our hard work.

Our recently refurbished living room.

Work Weekend Recaps

Alumni and undergradute brothers enjoyed six successful work weekends in 2007 and 2008. Read about their efforts.

The House Today, February 2015.

Previous Renovation History

William La Londe '51, September 2008

To Brother Beta Thetas:

I thought that it might be interesting to include a little history of a previous renovation. The first was after the tragic fire more than 100 years ago. The next remodeling and the one in which I was involved took place during the spring and summer of 1954 with a few finishing touches in the fall. We rebuilt the bathrooms, installed the fire escape, rebuilt and remodeled the kitchen and overflow dining room, installed a new furnace (replacing a coal burning one with gas), and finally fixed the stairwells. All of that work was done by a contracting firm. We had new dining tables built by a local contractor. New desks and beds were purchased for most of the rooms with the assistance of a brother who ran a family furniture business in Rochester. The furnace was the contribution of another brother in the furnace business in Buffalo area. And yes, we had great alumni support.

The brothers did not sit idly by. They painted a number of rooms, rebuilt the fireplace in the card room, and built the parking lot on the west side of the house. The strip of land is owned by the university and we obtained, I believe, a 50-year lease for, I think, a dollar. If the university does not say anything, neither should we, just stick with a good deal... On the other hand we may be taxed for the land use. The interesting part of this transaction is that the brothers built the retaining wall with railroad ties that we picked up from the Lehigh Valley RR when it closed down it's freight yard in Ithaca. Then we got the contractor who was building Kimball Hall to truck the dirt they were removing during the excavation on campus to us for no charge. It was a less expensive trip for them and a good deal for us. Finally, they finished the job by bringing a grader and leveling off the lot. We did not have the funds to pave it at the time, but it turned out to be a very inexpensive improvement for the house.

The current bar room, originally a game room, was also rebuilt by the brothers. We helped a farmer tear down a barn in exchange for some of the wood, which was finished off with a floor sander and erected around the old game room. For the studding behind the new wall boards, the contractor building the U-halls across the street agreed to give us some of the 2x4s used for concrete work. Yes, we did ask permission. The concrete floor was also installed by the brothers. People often felt that they had too much to drink (sometimes they did) as their feet felt unsure. It was only the finish on the floor as we did not have a long enough board to get a more uniform floor service. There was only so much we could do with a foot-long trowel. The last piece of creative work by the brothers was digging by hand a trench for a new gas service line to feed the boiler. Normally we would not have done this, but on a Friday afternoon before classes started, we would have been without hot water and gas for cooking if the line was not installed before NYSEG left for the weekend. They agreed, if we dug the trench. A dozen or so brothers pitched in, the ditch was dug, the gas line was installed and they turned on the meter. They allowed us to connect all the indoor plumbing, and we were set until Monday.

Lastly, during the spring of 1954 we closed our kitchen and ate all meals out. We arranged for group dining at Willard Straight and had a couple of dinners each evening with the fellows at Beta Theta Pi. It was a most interesting experience and I would advocate that continuing exchange dinners regularly over the school year would be a plus for all involved.

As WM during that transition year, I was most pleased with the fantastic cooperation from all the brothers, their willingness to put up with a lot of inconveniences and their wholehearted participation in all of our activities. Changes like we made do not last forever, they just become part of the fabric that holds us all together. You are all to be congratulated on your efforts and I hope that those who come along over the next 50 years will enjoy the fruits of your activity and that all the present and alumni brothers who worked to make this possible will bask in the spirit of brotherhood they so richly earned and enlarged.

Good luck, best wishes and THANK YOU.

Bill La Londe
BCE'55, MBA'56, ATO '51