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Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

Delta Kappa Epsilon is one of the 33 fraternity and sorority houses designated as historic landmarks.

Saying 'it's Greek to me' for decades to come

by Paul Moore

From M, winter 2004

The next time you drive down University Avenue near the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis, look to your left and you'll see a snapshot of Greek life that could be from just about any decade in the previous century. Thirty-three fraternity and sorority houses are now officially historic landmarks, unanimously designated as such in October by the Minneapolis City Council. This group of building joins 11 other historic districts in Minneapolis, each following its own guidelines. Amy Lucas, preservation planner for the city of Minneapolis, says the designation was crafted to guide potential changes to the properties--especially to the facades--so they'll maintain their historical look. "The design guidelines [will help] owners decide what's best for their building," says Lucas. "If they want to put in new windows, we'd hope the new windows would be similar to the historic ones, and we'd help them figure out the best way to do that." But John Kokkinen, past president of the Interfraternity Council, the governing body of University fraternities, feels the designation is an example of unnecessary government interference. "We've been doing a good job [managing the houses] for over 80 years, on our own, with our own money, our own leadership," says Kokkinen "Now, [the city] wants to tell us how to do it." Owners are also concerned that, with the new status of their houses, they'll have higher repair and renovation costs. Several property owners will work with the city to draw up the new district's guidelines so they don't place undue hardship on the owners. Lucas says the best argument for the designation comes from the notes she receives from long-graduated alums, like "I sure had some good times in that building and I'm glad you're saving it."

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