303 E. FRANKLIN ST. / ALPHA TAU OMEGA FRATERNITY HOUSE

303 E. FRANKLIN ST. / ALPHA TAU OMEGA FRATERNITY HOUSE

303
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1930
Architectural style: 
,
Construction type: 
,
Local Historic District: 
National Register: 
Type: 

This structure was built for the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity in 1929-1930. 

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Last updated

  • Sun, 11/22/2020 - 9:40am by SteveR

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303
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1930
Architectural style: 
,
Construction type: 
,
Local Historic District: 
National Register: 
Type: 

 

This structure was purpose-built for the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) Fraternity in 1929-1930. It was designed by Nathaniel C. Curtis, a professor of architecture at Tulane University and a UNC alumnus. It was built at a cost of $29,353.50, "not counting lighting fixtures."

This structure replaced an earlier wood frame house that was built in 1893 for the fraternity. Fires in 1909 and particularly 1927 seem to have caused the original (wood) structure's demise. The property had been purchased in November 1891 by the trustees of the Alpha Delta Chapter of the ATO.

1901, showing wood frame ATO fraternity house (via UNC's Yackety Yack)

An excerpt from the June 5, 1909 Daily Tar Heel

An excerpt from the May 7, 1927 Daily Tar Heel

What it was to look like; an architectural study by J. Cozby Byrd and Schell Lewis, 1927

What it actually looked like; 1931 (via UNC's Yackety Yack)

 1931 (via UNC's Yackety Yack)

 

During World War II, when military programs at UNC put a strain on the campus housing situation, the ATO house was utilized by the Delta Delta Delta sorority, which occupied it from 1943 to early 1946. By June 1946, ATO had moved back into their house.

1945 drawing (via UNC's Yackety Yack)

View north, June 2019 (via Google Streetview)

 

From the National Registry nomination:

"A rare example of the Tudor Revival style in the district, this two-and-a-half-story, steeply pitched side-gabled building was erected as a fraternity house in 1930. The building is five bays wide with a Flemish-bond brick veneer, stone detailing including a stone veneer on the center three bays, and faux half-timbering in the gables. There is a corbelled interior brick chimney and projecting front-gabled bays on each end of the façade. The right (east) gabled bay has brick on the first floor with faux halftimbering on the second floor and in the gable. The left (west) gabled bay has brick on the first and second floors with faux half-timbering only in the gable. The building has replacement eight- and tenlight casement windows throughout with stone windowsills and soldier-course brick lintels except where there is half-timbering above the windows. The center three bays have a crenelated parapet, buttresses with cast-stone shoulders, and small windows with stone lintels and keystones. Double-leaf batten doors are recessed behind an arched cast-stone entry with a cast-stone shield under a broken pediment bearing the name of the fraternity over the entrance. To the right (east) of the entrance, a two-story, stoneveneered projecting bay with tall windows reveals a staircase inside. The side elevations feature brick on the first and second floors with faux half-timbering in the gables. One-story, projecting bays on the left (west) and right elevations have brick veneer and eight-light casement windows separated by turned pilasters. An inset porch at the left rear (northwest) is supported by stone arches and an uncovered slate terrace extends from its left elevation and wraps around the façade to the front entrance. On the rear elevation, a two-story, gabled bay projects from the left rear (northwest) and there is a shed-roofed dormer centered on the rear roofline. A two-story gabled ell at the right rear (northeast) has a two-story bay projecting from its east elevation, and a full-depth, shed-roofed bay on its east elevation, all covered with stucco. Exterior metal fire stairs extend to the windows in the left gable end and the rear of the gabled ell. There is a low stone wall at the sidewalk. The building, designed by C. C. Curtis, was completed in 1930."

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