Always Represent What We Represent
by Jon Williamson
Gamma-Rho, which began its life in Lambda Chi Alpha with 44 charter members on October 6, 1926, had its origin in the local society of Sigma Phi. At that time Sigma Phi traced its history back 13 years. Today, Lambda Chi Alpha is the most successful fraternity on OU’s campus, as evidenced by their consistent winning of the President’s Trophy, which is awarded to the top fraternity on campus each year.
Fraternity housing at the University of Oklahoma began with houses constructed from 1910 to 1920. The newer fraternities purchased existing houses or rented them. There was a building boom from 1929 to 1930 during which seven of the new fraternities built three-story mansions in a variety of architectural styles.
The Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity house was built when one of the founders, Loyd Harris, purchased some land on the southwest corner of Lindsey and College streets and donated a portion of the land to his fraternity for the construction of their new house.
The land was undeveloped prairie and the building would be the first constructed south of Lindsay Street on the approach to the university from the west. Aerial photos from 1930 show the striking profile of this new structure, jutting up from undeveloped agricultural land with the university seemingly far to the north. The only university buildings south of the north oval at that time were the new Bizzell Memorial Library and Oklahoma Memorial Stadium at the corner of Jenkins and Lindsey streets.
Of the more than 20 original fraternity houses on the campus from the 1920s, over 75 percent have been demolished. The original fraternity row along University Boulevard and north of the campus now consists of parking lots and apartments. One is used by the university to house academic offices, and one is a private residence. Only two remain in use for their original purpose.
Of the remaining two, the Beta Theta Pi house at 800 Chautauqua is listed on the National Register. The other is the Lambda Chi Alpha house at 904 College at the north end of the new Greek housing area, and still the first university-related structure as one approaches the campus from the west on Lindsay Street. Now more than 80 years old, the house has been the only residence for the chapter and has housed all its members. We are the only fraternity on campus that can make such a claim.