Marietta Delt milestone: 30 years at 219 Fourth St.

At left, Marietta Delts load up a college-owned truck with furniture from 507 Putnam St. At right, Marietta Delts in front of their "new" house, 219 Fourth St.

At left, Marietta Delts load up a college-owned truck with furniture from 507 Putnam St. At right, Marietta Delts in front of their “new” house, 219 Fourth St., in January of 1984. (Photos courtesy of Dean Didato ’94)

In the January cold of 1984, Marietta’s Delts bade farewell to 507 Putnam St. and said hello to 219 Fourth St.

The collapse of one of Marietta College’s sororities in the fall of 1983 would lead to a new home for the Marietta Delts in January of 1984.

The sorority was Alpha Sigma Tau.

The Alpha Kappa Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau was established at Marietta in 1960, and had moved into the red-brick Williams House at 219 Fourth St. in 1975, after the collapse of another sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.

When Marietta students returned for the fall semester in 1983, the ASTs were down to single digits (six members, one Delt alumnus recalls), and early in the semester, after a visit from an AST field representative, the sorority chapter’s charter was revoked by the AST national office. But the women were allowed to remain in the house for the rest of the semester.

Dean Didato, in 1983.

Dean Didato, in 1983.

Meanwhile, the Delts, who had been lodged at 507 Putnam St. since 1967, had been clamoring for a new residence.

The Delt House “was in pretty bad shape,” Dean Didato ’84 remembers. “The plumbing, heating, most of the systems were original. I don’t think the college had put any money in the house.”

Didato said that 10 Marietta Delts lived in the house at the time, spread among one double room, two singles and three triples.

“We only had one shower. There were two bathrooms. One on the first floor, one on the second,” he said. In addition, the kitchen “looked like it was from the 1920s,” Didato said, explaining that the refrigerator in the kitchen was “more like an ice box.”

At the time, “we were trying to work through House Corp. or the college” to find a new place to live.

And, indeed, there was an aborted attempt in 1983 to purchase (and enlarge) 507 Putnam from the college.

False start

According to Chapter Advisor Robert Ferguson ’71, the college offered to sell 507 Putnam (also known as the Bates House) to the Marietta Delt House Corporation — for $30,000 (approximately $70,500 in 2014 dollars).

507PutnamMove1983_0008

Chapter President Steve Bennett ’84 with the Charter in the foyer of 219 Fourth St.

“It didn’t seem like a whole lot of money. We put all the numbers together to see if it made any sense for us to do it,” he said.

Ferguson explained that he had a friend of his, who was a contractor, come in and asses the house to see what it needed in order to bring it up to code and enlarge it. The result? Another $70,000 to $90,000 would have had to be spent (approximately $164,600) to $211,700 in 2014 dollars).

“If we had had a year or two to build up that money … it was one of those deals that came out of nowhere. The college hadn’t given me a bunch of lead time. And we obviously didn’t have a lot of alumni who had any money,” Ferguson said. “We didn’t have enough lead time to have gotten the money together. In 1983, the interest rates were not like they are today. In the early ’80s, the prime interest rate was as much as 18 percent.” (For comparison, the prime lending rate in early January 2014 was 3.25 percent.)

Time to move

With the option of buying 507 Putnam St. not accepted, and with a collapsed sorority chapter on its hands, the college told the former ASTs that they would have to move out of 219 Fourth St. at the end of the fall semester of 1983. The college also told the Delts that they would have to move out of 507 Putnam and into 219 Fourth St. at the start of the spring semester in 1984.

And so the Delts returned in mid-January of 1984 a few days before the start of the semester to make their move.

“It was a pretty darn cold day, and we had to get out,” Didato said. “We ended up moving in a day or two.”

Tom Zotti '85, in 1983.

Tom Zotti ’85, in 1983.

Didato wasn’t living at 507 Putnam at the time. He had been living in Timblin Hall, but opted to move to the “new” Delt House. He ended up with the upstairs single behind the bathroom at 219 Fourth St.

Tom Zotti ’85 wasn’t living at 507 Putnam, either; he spent the fall of ’83 in Parsons Hall.

“I had packed most of my stuff up for Christmas break. So I loaded up my station wagon and drove across campus” to 219 Fourth, Zotti said. “I had a nine-passenger ’73 Buick station wagon. I made a whole bunch of trips from the old house to the new one” helping ferry other brothers’ possessions and household items.

“The college gave us a truck and some Physical Plant staff to move some of the heavier furniture,” he said.

Zotti picked the upstairs front single as his room, and he says he was the first one to spend the night in the “new” Delt house. “I went back a day early, and ended up being the first one to stay in the house,” he said.

Room to grow — and a chance to do so

The Marietta Delt Chapter’s move to a “new” house took place against a backdrop of a period of decline. The composite from 1984 shows 16 initiates and one pledge.

“We were down in the single digits for a while,” Zotti said.

“There weren’t too many brothers at the time. It was a tough time to keep the Chapter alive,” Didato agreed.

In the back room of 219 Fourth St. after the move. From left to right: Tom Zotti, Pete Noll, Chuck Howell, Bill Ludington (with tire iron), Steve Bennett, Steve Pouliot (kneeling left), Bill Buzzell (kneeling right), John Rhein, Drew Kern, Chris Goebel (seated), Jim Martinez (standing far right). Photo courtesy of Dean Didato '84.

In the back room of 219 Fourth St. after the move. From left to right: Tom Zotti, Pete Noll, Chuck Howell, Bill Ludington (with tire iron), Steve Bennett, Steve Pouliot (kneeling left), Bill Buzzell (kneeling right), John Rhein, Drew Kern, Chris Goebel (seated), Jim Martinez (standing far right). (Photo courtesy of Dean Didato ’84.)

“That was the lowest level we were at,” Ferguson said.

At this point, it was barely four years since the suicide of Peter Cartoun in 1979, which had a lingering effect on the chapter for several years afterward.

“We had a little stigma because that happened. Some of our guys got hung up on that, and others stopped being much of a brother,” Ferguson said. “I think the move help. It freed us from that. It gave us a fresh start.”

And the Delts seized the “fresh start.”

“We threw a house-warming party not too terribly long after we moved in,” Zotti said.

Though Zotti said “it probably took most of the semester to actually feel like home” at 219 Fourth St., they were pleased with their new surroundings.

The back room of 219 Fourth St., crammed with items brought over from 507 Putnam. (Photo courtesy Dean Didato '84.)

The back room of 219 Fourth St., crammed with items brought over from 507 Putnam. (Photo courtesy Dean Didato ’84.)

Especially with the kitchen.

“The ASTs had a food service from the kitchen, so we occasionally threw together some Friday night spaghetti bashes,” Zotti said.

“We were so happy to have that kitchen because it was serving the AST sisters. We finally had a kitchen we could use,” Didato said. “There’s heating and plumbing that worked here!”

The house at 219 Fourth St. “was bigger and had more options for us,” Zotti said. “This gave us some room to grow. It also had a washer and dryer. Before, the guys had to hoof it down the street to the laundromat.”

It “was a better location, across from the field, and closer to downtown,” Ferguson said.

And, Zotti said, the brothers were happy to have a grocery store right behind the house. (At the time, the grocery store was called “Uncle Bob’s,” and then later became an IGA. Today, a NAPA Auto Parts store occupies the building.)

The house with the purple steps

The house the Delts moved into 30 years ago looked different than it does today — both on the inside and the outside.

The Delts inherited furniture from the ASTs — mostly pieces dating to the 1930s and ’40s, and mixed in their own 1950s and ’60s-era furniture brought over from 507 Putnam.

The Marietta Delts celebrate the completion of the move, with Delt badge removed from 507 Putnam St. but not yet affixed to the side of 219 Fourth st. (Photo courtesy of Dean Didato '84.)

The Marietta Delts celebrate the completion of the move, with Delt badge removed from 507 Putnam St. but not yet affixed to the side of 219 Fourth st. (Photo courtesy of Dean Didato ’84.)

The front room, which had blue wallpaper, was used as living room. The adjoining room, which had green wallpaper, was used a study room, which housed the large study table acquired by the Delts in 1967 when it was still a Crescent Colony. The back room contained a foosball and ping-pong tables.

Upstairs, the layout was different than today.

The area which now contains the two back doubles was one large room. (That space would later be divided into two bedrooms plus a hallway in 1985.)

And on the outside, the house was painted dark-red. The lead-based paint also had a tendency to stain clothing if you brushed against a wall.

And the front steps were gray — but that didn’t last too long.

In the spring of ’87, the Delts had visit from a Chapter Consultant who “asked if we could paint the steps purple as a way to draw attention to ourselves,” Ferguson said. “That served as an icebreaker.”

(The iconic purple steps were repainted gray when the college repainted the building in 1999.)

Shawn Selby ’92

Other remembrances

Bill Ludington '84, in 1983.

Bill Ludington ’84, in 1983.

“First order of business when we moved in was painting over sorority flowers on wall with purple and gold and building a new bar (not necessarily in that order). We got the bar done before paint was dry,” Bill Ludington ’84 said.

The back wall of the back room was painted with what Ludington described as “AST flowery tree art,” some of which is viewable in the photo of the Delts in the back room after moving in.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Slideshow: 507 Putnam St. through the years

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Take a tour of 507 Putnam St.

Also known as the Bates House, this building was the home of the Marietta Delts from the Chapter's founding in 1967 as a Crescent Colony of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity until January of 1984. No longer owned by Marietta College, the Bates House is now a private residence. Here is a look at 507 Putnam St. through its Delt years ...

From the Marietta Delt Archive

Nov. 28, 1968: Illuminated on the night the Marietta Crescent Colony of Delta Tau Delta became the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity, the Bates House proudly displays the Delt Badge.

Source: Marietta Delt Archive

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1968: The Brothers pose for a photo on the front porch of 507 Putnam St.

Source: Marietta Delt Archive

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Circa 1970: 507 Putnam St. decorated for Homecoming.

Source: Marietta Delt Archive

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Fall 1974: 507 as seen looking across Putnam Street. The car in front of the house belonged to Jim Neel '77.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

Fall 1974: The rear of the Bates House.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

The 1972 white Buick Skylark with green vinyl roof belonged to Robert Peterson '76.

1975: The entry hall of 507 Putnam St. The wood carving of the Delt Coat of Arms was made by the father of Ken Kavula '69.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: The front "card room" of 507 Putnam St., with doorway to the entrance hall on right. Weekly Chapter meetings were held in this room in the mid-'70s.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: The front formal room, which contained an old piano that was out of tune. To the right, is a view into the back room, which had a study table and contained the Chapter's files.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: A view of the front formal room, which contained an old piano that was out of tune, as seen from the study room. Note the adding machine on the right.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: Standing at the front door, this was the view of the entry hallway and the stairs.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: A view of the front of the leaded-glass front door from the entrance hallway.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: The front porch. On the left is the Sigma Sigma Sigma house, which is now used to house Marietta College's admissions department.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: Robert Peterson's bedroom his sophomore year, which he shared with Curtis Brown.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1975: Robert Peterson's single room his junior and senior year. Raising beds off the floor with a platform was a popular way to gain floor space.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1976: “In April and May of 1976, we decided to strip the walls of the old wallpaper, revealing original colors and wall border stencils. We stripped the woodwork of all paint, back to original wood. New furniture was also purchased,” Robert Peterson ’76 recalled.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1976: Renovation work inside 507 Putnam St.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1976: Renovation work inside 507 Putnam St.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

1976: Renovation work at 507 Putnam St.

Source: Robert Peterson '76

Circa 1977: Marietta Delts, Delt Little Sisters and others during a winter party.

Source: Marietta Delt Archive

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1982: Tom Zotti '85, in one of the front rooms, during the Chapter's Christmas party.

Source: Dean Didato '84

1983: William Cruse '84, left, and Dean Didato '84, in one of the front rooms during the Chapter's Valentine's Day party.

Source: Dean Didato '84

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1983: Dean Didato '84, left, and Lee Boveroux '83 with their guests in the entrance hallway.

Source: Dean Didato '84

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1983: 507 Putnam St. decorated for Homecoming and for the Chapter's 15th anniversary celebration that year. This would be the last Homecoming the Delts lived at the Bates House.

Source: Dean Didato '84

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1983: 507 Putnam St. decorated for Homecoming and for the Chapter's 15th anniversary celebration that year. This would be the last Homecoming the Delts lived at the Bates House.

Source: Dean Didato '84

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January 1984: Moving day has come as Delts load up a college-owned truck for the trip to 219 Fourth St.

Source: Dean Didato '84

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January 1984: Delts remove the Badge from 507 Putnam St. at the conclusion of their move to 219 Fourth St.

Source: Dean Didato '84

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January 1984: Delts take away the Badge from 507 Putnam St. at the conclusion of their move to 219 Fourth St.

Source: Dean Didato '84

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Homecoming 1993: Marietta Delts tour 507 Putnam, at this point a private residence, during the Chapter's 25th anniversary weekend.

Source: Robert Ferguson '71

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Homecoming 1993: Marietta Delts tour 507 Putnam, at this point a private residence, during the Chapter's 25th anniversary weekend.

Source: Robert Ferguson '71

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Homecoming 1993: Marietta Delts tour 507 Putnam, at this point a private residence, during the Chapter's 25th anniversary weekend.

Source: Robert Ferguson '71

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Homecoming 2013: Watercolor of 507 Putnam St. by Kevin Oliphant '90, painted in 1989, and on display in the Shelter at 219 Fourth St.

Photo by Greg Manko '93

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Epsilon Upsilon

Marietta Delt Archive project

If you have more information about any of the photos in this slideshow, or have Delt-related photos you would like to contribute to our effort to preserve the Chapter's history, contact Shawn Selby '92 below.