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Old Sigma Nu house being razed

Saturday, July 16, 2011

With Joe Spiker at the controls, a Skytrak lift knocks part of the distinctive porch off the old Sigma Nu house at the corner of Anderson and Bloomington streets Friday afternoon. The old fraternity is being razed as part of a project to redevelop the intersection as a gateway to the DePauw University campus.
Friday marked the final frontier for the old DePauw University fraternity house locals have often referred to as the Starship Enterprise.

The former Sigma Nu house at 500 Anderson St. (the southeast corner of Anderson and Bloomington streets) is in the midst of being razed by Joe Spiker Excavating, Greencastle.

By 2 p.m. Friday, the building's trademark front porch -- responsible for the "Starship Enterprise" analogy with its circular roof and long square columns -- was history.

The old frat house has been vacant since Sigma Nu moved to 309 E. Seminary St. last fall. It is being razed as part of the university's redevelopment of the Anderson-Bloomington street intersection as a new gateway to campus.

"The main goal of the university was to recycle as much of the materials as possible," Spiker said between turns in the seat of the Skytrak lift used to tear down the porch.

"The university was really conscious about recycling and being green," Spiker said. "I said, 'We can do that.'"

He had eight men on site Friday, separating pieces of metal, including numerous window frames, and piling up the 25-foot aluminum columns and 2-x-12 wooden supports for reuse.

Spiker and his crew spent the previous two weeks inside the building, removing the window glass and salvaging as much of the interior as possible.

On Friday a mini-excavator was on the third floor, getting ready to knock down the interior walls that once formed the hallways of the frat house.

Before the porch was added, Sigma Nu began life as the Delta Delta Delta house.
"We couldn't touch those with a sledgehammer," Spiker said, noting that rather than drywall, those walls were constructed of wire mesh covered in a stucco finish so the fraternity boys couldn't punch holes in the wall.

"Going through all three floors, gutting them by hand was a bear," Spiker said, "but in the end it saves a lot of stuff from going to the landfill."

The structure was originally occupied by Delta Delta Delta sorority before DePauw's Sigma Nu chapter was re-colonized in 1986 and moved into the remodeled house that featured the distinctive new front porch.

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Hmm...I'm thinking maybe a new gas station...

-- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 6:59 AM

The 'Old' Sigma Nu house is on the northeast corner of College and Seminary. The fraternity lost their charter for a while, then returned. This is only the 'latest' Sigma Nu house.

-- Posted by chazm_vet on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 8:16 AM

How about spraying water on the building during your demo,could be asbestos fibers in the air?

-- Posted by Engineer1 on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 8:48 AM

wow...times have changed in the last 40+ years...Sigma Nu was at the corner of College and Seminary steet ,,"the Nerds" supposedly guarded the DePauw bell from being rung by "the townies" from the North College tower

-- Posted by TNVOLTUT on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 11:13 AM

The old Sigma Nus were never the "nerds" but rather the football "Animal House". That persona got them kicked off campus in the early 80s. Butt-heads, yes, Nerds no!

As far as the Anderson St. location, that will always be "Tri Delt" :) The SNUs recolonized first in the old Locust Manor dorm then relocated to Anderson St. They never thrived there and took on the "nerd" tag during their reign on Anderson.

-- Posted by Seagullslim on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 12:48 PM

This isn't as much the "old" Sigma Nu house as it is the "old" Delta Delta Delta house. Delta Delta Delta occupied it for many decades until 1991.

-- Posted by ohickey4 on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 1:08 PM

Engineer1, you should check your facts before you say something you don't know anything about. The asbestos was removed a few weeks ago by a company that removes asbestos.

-- Posted by theduke2 on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 3:21 PM

The fact-checking on this story leaves a lot to be desired. Sigma Nu did not move into this building until 1992, and the interior construction was hardly "constructed of wire mesh covered in a stucco finish so the fraternity boys couldn't punch holes in the wall." This structure was built to house Delta Delta Delta SORORITY, which meant that men were not allowed on the upper floors.

The "spaceship" front porch dates back to the mid-to-late 1980s, and again had nothing to do with Sigma Nu. It was in place well prior to the fraternity's occupation of this building.

-- Posted by AmyHughes on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 8:28 PM

... can I helpya, helpya, helpya?

-- Posted by Balding Eagle on Sun, Jul 17, 2011, at 7:47 PM

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