6. Phi Gamma Delta, Texas
Your Take: “6 million dollars was raised to knock down the two houses behind the fraternity house and build a brand new house, then connect both houses after renovation, making the largest fraternity house sq-ft in the nation. Construction has already started.” -- Burwell, Texas
“Bevo is present at most tailgates.” -- Burwell, Texas
Our Take: The former governor’s mansion of Texas, “Buen Retiro” was built in 1902 and could be called the quintessential Southern frat palace: A massive house (that’s getting even bigger), with a location right on the main drag near UT. Plus rooftop parties. And Bevo’s presence at tailgates! Who wouldn’t want to get drunk at a tailgate with Bevo?
5. Phi Gamma Delta, Oklahoma
Your Take: None.
Our Take: Recently rebuilt, the Phi Gamma Delta house of Oklahoma looks like what would happen if a ridiculously nice country club were left in the hands of college kids. (Actually, it looks like they’re taking pretty good care of it.)
It looks like the Phi Gamma Delta Red River rivalry goes to Oklahoma this year!
4. Alpha Delta Phi, Cornell
Your Take: “The brothers of the Phi’ reside in a Jacobethan Revival structure designed by John Russell Pope (who designed the Jefferson Memorial, National Archives and Records Administration building, and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art).
“We have a sixteen-sided structure across our driveway (named “Alpha Delta Phi Drive”). It bears neither windows nor doors. Who has entered this secret building? Only brothers.” -- Peter, Cornell
“We also host ‘Victory Club’ which Playboy Magazine deemed “the classiest party in the Ivy League.” Once a year, we hold a black-tie casino night for charity that is one of the most prominent events on campus. This tradition came about from the days of Prohibition and our chapter stepped into the role of being a speakeasy.” -- Peter, again
Our Take: Another house that’s quite literally a castle (and we promise that we’re not biased toward Cornell in any way), the Alpha Delta Phis boast a residence that sits by itself on an Ithacan hill, giving the fraternity a chance to party in private.
And on a different note, anyone want to take any bets on what’s in that 16-sided structure? Big Foot? The Abominable Snowman? Frozen people being dethawed after they tried to walk to the library in the winter? The sheer size and secrecy of that structure has to give the Alpha Delts a nod over their Delta Phi rivals.
3. Delta Kappa Epsilon, Syracuse
Your Take: "First fraternity on campus 1871. Old stone castle with former carriage house/barn that was converted into a secondary back-house for upperclassmen to live in close enough proximity to the party that they could crush, but also far enough away to have some sense of privacy. Full-sized sand volleyball and half court basketball near 28-car parking lot. Sits above the rest of the houses on the hill on East Adams with views all the way across the city to both the lake and the Carrier Dome. Right next to the business school so you can throw down and still not be late for class (most of the time). Ridiculous interior on the first floor—old mahogany oak covers the main floor, with a one of a kind hand carved staircase that dates back to some gnarly guy who made staircases 'n things (good business name, buddy).
One room was reconstructed after interior panels were hand carved and painted with gold leaf and shipped from Morocco to be reconstructed in the house. It was pretty dope to party in there for holiday formals. Classed the place up." -- Syracuse Alum
"As a guest of the Wilkinson family, Theodore Roosevelt resided here for more than a month while engaged in a libel suit with an Albany publisher in the famous Barnes-Roosevelt case." -- Alex, Syracuse
"Dick Clark (huge bro) bought our house." -- Evan, Syracuse
Our Take: Teddy Roosevelt came up with the slogan "Walk softly and carry a big stick," and, when he wasn’t president, was known to kill lions for fun. Dick Clark annually helmed the biggest party of the year. They’re two of the biggest bros of all time.
AND you’re saying both have a direct relation to this house? How could it not rank in the top five?
2. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Michigan
Your Take: "Biggest house on campus, resides on the two main streets on campus, home of the Mud Bowl, and over 100 years old." -- Mason, Michigan
"Simply, it's awesome.... Annual mud bowl, a mud football game played between us and another fraternity, every year.... Concerts at our senior house. It's simply the ultimate frat castle, no denial there." -- Tommy, Michigan
Our Take: We’ve often heard tale of the SAE house at Michigan (mainly from tailgate crews of the past). It seems to be a true haven of miscreants, and bonus points for hosting one of the coolest college traditions in the country: The Mud Bowl, an annual competition between fraternity houses at the school that ends with everyone involved muddy and shitfaced.
A house that has the college student’s version of Lambeau Field in its front yard... What’s not to like?
1. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Vanderbilt
Your Take: “This isn't a competition about who throws the best parties or has the hottest girls, this is about finding the place in America that is the perfect home for the best men on campus. So why is my fraternity house the best?
“First, and foremost, it is actually a castle. I think we need to stop right there, and crown the winner. This house is what fraternity life is all about - just big-dicking everyone. Calling our home a castle is not some gross exaggeration that other college aged kids might throw around regarding their places of fraternization. This is a goddamn castle from the Civil War with turrets and cannons.
“Also, exclusiveness is key. Our castle isn't on Greek Row with the rest of the other houses. No, we are on our own corner separate from everyone. Because you'd feel bad for the house that would have to be neighbors with us.
“You want space? The rooms are the biggest on campus. Of every boarding option that the school offers, none gives you more space than living in the castle.
“Activities? You want more than just a bed for yourself? Okay. How about a baseketball court? Yeah, a lot of people have basketball courts, but we all know that baseketball is the sport of the future.
“Food? You can't beat Chef Eric's casserole, just trust me on that one. There's a lot of good food in the South, but there is not one person that can make simple salad like Chef Eric.
“There truly is no feeling like waking up in the biggest room on campus, looking out from your turret at the other houses and smelling Eric's continental breakfast coming from downstairs.” -- JR, Vanderbilt
“It's an actual castle... enough said. It also survived $12,000 worth of Alumni damage so it's got staying power.” -- Anonymous, Vanderbilt
Our Take: There’s a strong case to be made—both from statistical and anecdotal evidence—that Vanderbilt is the frattiest school in the country. This is its Greek system’s crown jewel building: A castle (featured in a Brad Paisley music video!) reportedly known for being the only old frat house at the school that wasn’t torn down in the ‘70s.
Unfortunately, the house is currently under repairs for the indefinite future. This may or may not be due to 2011’s alumni weekend, which by all accounts was one of the most batshit crazy in college history (and which was mentioned above). According to an email that made the rounds that year... well, we’ll just excerpt a bit. Needless to say this old standby paid host to Vanderbilt’s own Project X for two days.
“President’s room: Desk chair thrown through two different windows (incidentally both the chair and the shattered glass hit our president in the face as he was cleaning up beer cans in the front yard after the tailgate)
Rush chair's room: The entire contents of the rush chairs room were found thrown through a window and onto the roof of the chapter room. Also of note, on Saturday night an alumni had to be stopped from defecating in the rush chair's refrigerator with a roomful of his contemporaries
House manager's room: Relatively little damage with the only issue being that every window was broken out
Social chair's room: It is currently impossible to walk into the social chair's room without stepping on glass as 8 Champagne bottles and 7 handles of liquor were smashed on his floor
His bed was also vomited in and had a couch placed upside down in the vomit
Total (Minimum): $12,000
- Taken from the minimum cost for replacing or repairing all issues listed above.
- Costs include labor and materials provided by Vanderbilt Plant Operations”
We’re not putting the SAE house tops on the list because we think it’s sweet that alums almost destroyed the place.
We just think it’s incredible that it’s still standing.
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