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Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197
University Information:
(734) 487-1849

 


Virtual Tour
Historic Tour > Virtual Tour > 600 W. Forest Street

600 W. Forest Street

Historic Name(s): Second President's House (1949-2001),
Delta Zeta Sorority House (2001-present)

600 W. Forest Street

600 W. Forest Street

Date Constructed: 1949

Architect: R. S. Gerganoff of Ypsilanti

Style of Architecture: Late Colonial Revival

Original Use: University President's House

Dates of Renovation: 1975 expanded kitchen, altered the study, repainted interior.

Current Use: Delta Zeta Sorority House

History: In 1948, President John Munson was seventy years old and wanted to retire. The State Board of Education, who oversaw Normal College at that time, asked the elderly bachelor and long-time president of Normal College to begin plans for the building of a new president's house for the campus. Munson had boarded at the Huron Hotel throughout his presidency. His predecessor, President Charles McKenny had lived in the Old Post Mansion once located where King now stands. McKenny died in office leaving his widow without a home of her own except president's house on campus. Munson, despite his forthright manner, was a kind man. He allowed Mrs. McKenny to remain in the house for the rest of her life and he chose to live in a boarding house.

Old Post Mansion

Old Post Mansion- The residence previously used for presidents (It was located where King Hall now stands)

Following Mrs. McKenny's death in 1939, Munson decided that location of the president's house, situated at the heart of campus, would be better used for residence halls than for a large presidential house. The Post Mansion was demolished and King and Goodison Residence Halls constructed in 1939.

Nine years later, with a new married president arriving, the school looked for a new location for a presidential house. Following Munson's
suggestions, the school board elected to build the new house on an old farm site next to Jones Residence Hall. Long before the house could be completed, the new president, Eugene Elliot, took control of the university. For the first six months of his presidency, he and his family lived an unsettled existence. For a brief period of time, Elliot even lived in an apartment in the Health Residence (now Business and Finance). Late in 1948, Elliot and his family moved into temporary quarters on campus and watched with interest as the new president's house was built. By 1949, the new house had been completed. Mrs. Elliot had asked that a garden be cut in the backyard to provide flowers for college functions. Inside, the large house contained 4,850 square feet with a garage attached to the house by a breeze-way.

Over the years the house has been updated. It
President James Brickley

President James Brickley
remained largely unchanged until 1975 when President James Brickley and his family took possession of the house. By that time, the furnishings and interior design, all of which came with the house, looked extremely dilapidated. In defense of the $23,000 remodeling project, Mrs. Brickley explained that part of a president's job is to entertain lavishly in order to garner money endowments for the school. The present state of the house detracted from this important duty to such an extent that one senator had told her husband, "I hope to God you'll do something about that house. My wife and I aren't going back in there
if you don't."

The Brickleys, parents of six, enclosed the breeze-way between the garage and the house to create a family room for their children. Further updates in the house took place in 1980 when the Porters moved in. Once again, they added details of their own and redecorated the interior.

Over the past half century, the house has sheltered five presidential families. In 2000, however, it ended its service as the president's house. Eastern's board of regents felt that the house could no longer meet the wide range of duties and responsibilities of a twenty-first century president or administration. With only 1,500 square feet of non-bedroom space, large-scale entertaining would be difficult. Instead, the administration decided to build a new University House near Rynearson Stadium on West Campus.

The old President's House would become a sorority house (Delta Zeta Sorority) with space for fourteen to sixteen girls in the six bedroom/six bath house.

Location - 600 W. Forest Street

 


Location of 600 W. Forest Street (Click on the image for a bigger view)