Alpha Phi, The First Sorority House in AmericaAlpha-Syracuse In 1886, Alpha Phi made history by establishing the very first chapter house for women. The sisters planned, persevered, saved and designed a floorplan that they presented to Syracuse architect Asa Merrick, who drew up blueprints. Together with the help of parents and friends in the community, the members collaborated to bring their dream home to reality. Located at 17 University Place in Syracuse, New York, the house was officially dedicated during its construction when members placed copies of Alpha Phi’s bylaws and other mementos inside the cornerstone of the home. When completed and furnished, the women invited three hundred guests to celebrate the milestone achievement in home ownership. The Queen Anne-style home was in fashion in the 1880s, and the women took pride designing a home they loved. With its characteristic asymmetrical façade, decorative trim and gable roof peaks, the three-story Alpha chapter house guests were welcomed as they passed beneath the covered porch with pedimented roof and the ornamental metalwork finial. The aesthetic gems of the home were the stained-glass oriel window on the side of the house and the three original stained-glass windows that were donated by Erastus Franklin Holden, father of Alpha chapter members Eloise and Bertha. The oriel window depicted a Victorian era design of an oval center medallion complemented by spheres and leaves. The windows donated by the Holdens included stacked windows that featured circular designs in earth and jewel tones. The third window from the Holdens, showcased the Lazy Phi design in yellow hues that places our Greek letters A and f on top of one another, with the f on its side.When the chapter eventually outgrew the home and moved into their permanent residence on Walnut Place, they sold the property to the university. The school gifted the charming windows back to Alpha Phi, and they have remained a beloved reflection of Alpha Phi’s past, present and future. For Alpha Phis, the original Alpha house was more than a collection of rooms in the same way that a fraternity is more than a gathering of members; the home was the promise of eternal sisterhood and friendship, a safe place to land and a home away from home. This is where our early members spent hours dreaming of the ways they would shape the future for the next generation of women. The Alpha Phi Syracuse glass ornament has been painstakingly blown and meticulously hand decorated in Poland by master artisans, skilled in their craft for generations.