Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Zeta Psi Fraternity House

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Institution Name: Lafayette College
Original/Historic Place Name: Zeta Psi Fraternity House
Location on Campus: 49 S. College Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1909-1910original construction Michler, William Marsh Baker, James Barnes
Designer: William Marsh Michler (Easton, PA); and James Barnes Baker (New York)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation:
Walls: granite
Roof: slate
 
Function:
1910-present (2006)Greek letter society
 

Narrative:
One of the nine palatial fraternity houses erected on the Lafayette campus before World War I, the Zeta Psi house embodies the important role played by fraternities in college life at the time of its construction and for decades thereafter. Beautifully sited on the edge of campus overlooking the city of Easton, the handsome stone house is a good example of the revival style popular in the first decades of the 20th century. It was designed by two Lafayette College graduates and Zeta Psi brothers: James Barnes Baker (1864-1918) of New York City, best known as the architect of the New York Chamber of Commerce, a listed New York City landmark, and William Marsh Michler (1868-1948), an Easton native who designed some of the city's most distinguished homes. Michler appears to have had a larger role in the designing of Zeta Psi, which has an impressive set of first-story reception rooms and ten two-bedroom study suites on the upper two stories. Distinctive features include oak paneling, a central staircase, and several fireplaces with Mercer (Moravian) tile surrounds. A number of the original furnishings also survive. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 21, 2001.
 

References:

Dennis Bertland Associates. Zeta Psi Fraternity House [Lafayette College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 2001.

"Historic Sites Report for the Tau Chapter House of the Zeta Psi Fraternity, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania." [n.d.] Archives, Lafayette College, Easton, PA.

 

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Last update: November 2006