Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter House
Backstory and Context
Records documenting the neighborhoods surrounding the University of North Dakota campus prior to 1920 leaves a lot to be desired. However, we do know that the original structure of what became the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house was roughly half its current size. It was moved several blocks closer to campus. This house originally stood at what is now the Marathon/Valley Dairy gas station at the intersection of North Washington Street and University Avenue. The house was moved in 1924. In that same year the rearmost addition was tacked on to what you see today. During the addition the house was rebuilt stronger and modernized with more amenities. This move was likely performed to get the building closer to the growing UND campus and Greek row.
These walls over the years have housed multiple groups. Grand Forks City and UND Special Collections records show the Alpha Chi Omega sorority owning it from 1928 to 1948. The record keeping doesn't include anything other than property records for the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at this location as most records depict their new location. In 1947 Alpha Chi Omega moved out and in 1948 Tau Kappa Epsilon, or “Teke” moved in. This fraternity occupied the house the longest by staying active until the spring of 1994. A sour University Police Department response to the house along with financial issues and a low member count caused the fraternity to leave campus. When moving out this group caused extensive damage to the property by throwing a party that warranted a full-scale remodel of the house prior to the current owners moving in. One 1990s alumnus described the party as an "End of the world party" including shotgun blasts into multiple walls as the group had to vacate anyway. The next group, Sigma Phi Epsilon, moved in in the fall of 1995 after damage to the house was repaired and the structure was brought back to normal standards again. This fraternity has since purchased the house from the university and become fully independent matching much of the UND Greek community.
Robinson, Elwyn B. Tau Kappa Epsilon, Alpha Sigma Chapter Records, 1923-1993, UND Department of Special Collections Digital Finding Aids. November 1st 2000. Accessed April 25th 2021. https://apps.library.und.edu/archon/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=630&q=&rootcontentid=80165#id80165.
Isenberg, Lucas. “Sigma Phi Epsilon” Received by Michael Swanson, 23 April 2021.
"SigEps Looking To Move Into "Old" TKE House." Dakota Student (Grand Forks) April 21st 1995. 112 ed, Page 3 Column 4 sec, 3-3.
"Fraternity Receives National Charter." Dakota Student (Grand Forks) November 18th 1994. 112 ed, Page 3 Column 5 sec, 3-3.
Ball, Trevor. Personal interview. 18 April 2021.