In the late 1800s, the idea of women owning a chapter house was considered to be a lofty, if not improbable, goal.
But true to the old adage "a goal without a plan is just a wish, the women of Alpha Phi made it a priority to do whatever it took to make this dream a reality! After a diligent and enthusiastic year-long fundraising effort, appealing to a variety of donors to contribute small amounts toward the cause, they had finally raised enough money to purchase a lot on which to build.
The sisters themselves designed the house floor plan, and Syracuse architect Asa Merrick drew up the blueprints. As luck would have it, Chauncey Harrington, the father of Minnie Harrington (Alpha 1886), was a contractor. He not only offered his services without charge, but he also negotiated with suppliers for reduced costs on materials.
On June 22, 1886, one day before commencement, the sisters invited scores of family members and friends, including all the members of the university's fraternities and sororities, to the laying of the cornerstone ceremony. Two days later, the New York Times reported on the event, stating that, "This is believed to be the first chapter house built for women."