Published on February 21, 2014
Faith Ambition Reverence Morality Honesty Obedience Unity Service Excellence Iowa State Chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity Chapter History
The Beginning On January 22, 1927, the fifth chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity was founded at Iowa State University. The first step, however, occurred in 1920 when the FarmHouse National Secretary traveled to Ames to investigate the prospects of establishing a chapter on the campus, then known as Iowa State College. It appeared that it would not be feasible to annex one of the local fraternities. But, Dr. Buchanan, Dean of Students, felt that there was room for another good agricultural fraternity at Iowa State. At the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago in the fall of 1922, FarmHouse National President R.E. Holland (NE '15) talked with J.C. Holbert and others from Iowa State who were interested in an organization with high ideals. The men returned to Ames with hopes of establishing a fraternity among agricultural students whose members would excel in scholarship and would be outstanding in personality, character, and activities.
The Beginning Professor H.W. Richey, a Nebraska alumnus on the Iowa State Horticulture staff, gave the men much encouragement. The early group of six or eight men met frequently in Professor Richey’s office to discuss the possibilities of forming an official organization. Dr. Buchanan also continued his encouragement. Soon they were meeting in a larger room in what was then known as the Cranford Apartments on the south side of Lincoln Way just a few doors east of the Welch Avenue entrance to campus. By the next spring, enough men had been recruited to start a chapter. Pictured: Cranford Apartments 1920s (Lower-Left) and J.C. Holbert (Upper-Right)
Lanthus Fraternity Following approval by the Intercollegiate Council, ten men established Lanthus Fraternity on April 16, 1923. It was formed as a temporary organization until the chapter could become FarmHouse. The name Lanthus was chosen, according to J.C. Holbert, because the men were “trying to think of a name that would soon be forgotten, because we wanted it to be FarmHouse right away. So we found a young Hereford bull in Ken Clark’s herd with the name of ‘Lanthus.’ We looked up the bull’s pedigree, figured he wouldn’t live too long, so we adopted that name.”
Lanthus Fraternity The FarmHouse influence was evident with Lanthus choosing “F.H.” as the official password, green and white as the official colors, and a design for a Lanthus pin with an ear of corn and crescent on the pin. Assistance from FH alumni was tremendous, including Kenneth Clark of the Nebraska Chapter. The petitioning to become FarmHouse began early and continued for months. In November, 1926, the Iowa State Faculty approved the petition. The following months, the National Council of FarmHouse also granted its approval. An installation week committee immediately began plans for chartering. Pictured: The Lanthus pin and Lanthus Fraternity (1926)
The Iowa State Chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity The fifth chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity was chartered at Iowa State University on January 22, 1927. Pictured: Program for the installation of the Iowa Chapter Lanthus Fraternity became the Iowa State Chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity when the Charter was granted on January 22, 1927. An installation banquet was held that evening at the Sheldon Munn Hotel in Ames. Over seventy men were present, including the Iowa State College President, Deans of the Agriculture and Graduate Colleges, members of Interfraternity Council, FarmHouse National Officers and alumni. Active member Bill Grove spoke on “Our Ideas and Ideals.”
FarmHouse Fraternity – 1927 TOP ROW, left to right: Cash, King, Aultfather, Peterson, Grove, Bucholtz, Holbert. THIRD ROW: Anderson, Wilcke, Shepard, Carlson, Cropley, Turner, Kohlmeyer, Wright. SECOND ROW: Harbaugh, Watkins, Mighell, Williams, DeLong, Klinetop, Held, Breazeale, Goeser. FIRST ROW: Zimmerman, Griffin, Girton, Farmer, Nannen, Fabricius, Briggs. + Our Founders J.C. Holbert Erwin E. Dubbert Herbert C. Palmer Elmer I. Rosenberger Roy L. Watkins Harold K. Wilson Warren 0. Duncan Carl C. Malone F.J. Paul Bernard Scholten Paul G. Williams John H. Tur
The House Although FarmHouse is much more than brick and mortar, the Chapter houses in Ames signify the fraternity’s growth and strong bond. In the spring of 1923, the Chapter meetings were held in Agriculture Hall (now called Catt Hall). Several men, including some graduating seniors, each gave $100 to a starting fund, which allowed the Chapter to rent a house at 238 North Hyland Avenue for that fall. A Des Moines furniture firm, feeling it could share the risks, provided a set of plain but sturdy furniture. A dozen men, along with I.S.C. graduate students C.W. Crickman and Al Mighell of the Illinois Chapter, showed up one hot September day and energetically scrubbed the woodwork and floors so that Lanthus could have its first home. Pictured: Catt Hall (Top), 238 North Hyland Ave in 1925 (Middle) and the signature page of the 1923 Bylaws of Lanthus Fraternity (Right)
The House What was missing in the usual fraternity comforts was made up in energy, enthusiasm, and common purpose. Many of the members were working their way through college, but the fraternity was able to get off to a good financial start with good management and the practice of economy. By 1927, the membership had grown and increased social life created the need for more space than was available in the thirty-five man capacity house on Hyland Avenue. The men moved around the corner to 2717 West Street where the house had a capacity for sixty men. Building Fund contributions were made by the seniors following graduation until 1931 when the men began making quarterly payments while in school. The Chapter began to pay its rent to the Iowa Alumni Association in 1935. Pictured: 2717 West Street (Spring 1937)
+ 311 Ash Avenue The vision of a permanent home for the Iowa Chapter was realized in the summer of 1937 when the Sigma Pi house at 311 Ash Avenue was purchased. The simple but impressive home, built in the 1920’s, accommodated forty men. The final mortgage was burned in 1942.
Pictured: Durwood Lyon (top) and Barton MacIntosh and Bob Rasmussen with Mother Schrafel (bottom). World War II FARMHOUSE FRATERNITY, 1944. TOP ROW: McCone, Feuerbach, Magnusson, Opperman, Lawson, Wilson, Bailey. SECOND ROW: Zmolek, Fox, Rasmussen, Utter, Henderson, Boehnke. FIRST ROW: Fruit, Held, Ormiston, Hunter, Flater, Moellers. The Iowa Chapter stood the depression of the 1930’s well. In the spring of 1943, the men began looking for another fraternity to move in with them at 311 Ash Avenue for the duration of World War II. By fall, though, most FarmHousers had entered the Armed Forces. This necessitated the chapter moving out of the house for the 1943-1944 school year. That year, Iowa State freshmen women, whose dormitories were occupied by military men in training, used the chapter house. Six or seven FarmHouse men were still on campus and lived together on Lynn Avenue. In the fall of 1944, there were enough men in school to again occupy the house at 311 Ash Avenue. Soon the FarmHouse war Veterans began returning to Iowa State which enabled the house to gradually attain its status again as an active organization on campus.
The House The house was completely redecorated in 1959 with new paint, drapes, dishes, and cook stove and refinished floors. According to Mom Hansen, FarmHouse had an elegant look which was to last only a short time.
Fire in 1960 Shortly after breakfast on February 4, 1960, smoke was discovered in a closet in the basement. In what seemed to be minutes, the whole house was filled with smoke. Firemen arrived within a few minutes after the fire was discovered, but it was two long hours before they extinguished the blaze. The fire traveled through the walls and into Mother Hansen’s room on the first floor. Fortunately, everyone escaped without injury. The fire was most intense on the west side of the house, and the fire rose through a closet in one of the study rooms. The three roommates, Merrill Oster, Malcolm Bishop, and Dean Bowden, lost all of their clothes and many of their books and class notes. The fire was extinguished only after it continued rising to burn the entire fourth floor dormitory.
Fire in 1960 The Fire Chief suspected spontaneous combustion of rags as the cause of the fire. Some rags were stuffed under screens and storm windows in a basement storage room. A sad historical note is that the Business Manager had investigated purchasing a metal cabinet in 1957 to hold combustibles. Pictured: Rod Brannan (Left) and Gary Askew holding the table (Upper-Right)
Fire in 1960 Fraternities and residences on campus were quick to offer more than enough sleeping and studying quarters for the men. The Chapter’s first move was to eat together in the Memorial Union, where they met daily to work on future plans. Almost immediately, the Iowa alumni organized an emergency committee and arranged for spring quarter housing in the Fisher Home Management House on campus and for eating at Linden Hall. Chapter headquarters were set up at the FH owned apartment adjacent to the old building. Pictured: The old house (above).
Renovations At Founders Day in April 1960, the Association decided to completely renovate the old house with a new wing added to the south side. During the following months, plans were drawn, revised, and redrawn. Finally, a satisfactory plan was achieved in December. Increased and new building fund contributions had been solicited for months. One lending agency disapproved the loan application for the remaining funds needed, but finally a loan was received and construction began in the spring of 1961 on the $175,000 house.
Pictured: Ground-Breaking on March 18, 1961 (left) + A new home The men moved into the new 51-man capacity house at 311 Ash Avenue in the fall of 1961 with finishing work still being done until the dedication at Homecoming in October.
Expansion in ‘94 As the years take their toll, the Chapter house at 311 Ash had begun to show the daily use of 54 men. In the mid 1980s, FH began to take a long-range look at the future of the Chapter and the facility it occupies. In 1987, a space study was conducted and different options of additions or reconstruction were presented. The Association Board was authorized to hire an architect in 1988 to begin drawing up plans for the different options. At the Homecoming Meeting of 1989, the Alumni Association voted to proceed with the idea of saving the 1960 one-story addition and to construct a new house to the south of the existing one. The Board was authorized to act as it felt needed and to proceed with the fund-drive. In 1990, the plans were nearly finalized and ready to present to the alumni. The proposed cost was $1.2 million dollars. At the time, the Board decided not to go ahead with construction, and continue fundraising until enough funds were available.
Expansion in ‘94 The moment that actives and alumni had been waiting for finally came in the middle of the 1992-93 school year, as ground breaking for the new house was on Founders’ Day in 1993. Construction continued and the projected finish date was no later than March 1, 1994.
+ Expansion in ‘94 The chapter moved into the new living quarters on March 10, 1994. The old part finally came down about two weeks later as members watched in agony. A few artifacts still float around, reminding us of the old place. Rumor has it that the men of Sigma Phi Pi wept and joined in song as their pad fell into dust.
Written by Dan W. Barrett Edited by Mark D. Barrett, Reid W. Crawford, and Bruce H. Thompson (October 1979) Revised and updated by Brent A. Pringnitz, Daniel L. Rohrberg, David B. Edwards, and Kurt E. Beyer (Revised 1992, 1995, 1997, and 2004) Adapted by Matt Skarshaug (2014)
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