18 Elm Street Demolished

The Queen Anne house at 18 Elm Street built in the 1894 by Frederick Dewey.
Photo from the Potsdam Public Museum
In 1934 the sisters of Sigma Beta Epsilon Sorority lived in the house.  It is not clear if they owned or rented.  In that same year Sigma Beta Epsilon merged with Phi Kappa Pi Sorority, adopting the name Clio.  You can see the Clio badge in the second photo below. They lived in the house until 1938.
Photo from the 1934 Potsdam Normal School yearbook

1934 with Clio badge
1957 the brothers of Theta Chi Fraternity purchased the house.

1957 Clarkson yearbook
In 1997 Theta Chi lost their recognition from Clarkson and their national charter after a pledge died on bidnight.

Theta Chi in the 1990s
Sigma Pi Fraternity purchased the house at an auction later that year.  According to one alumni: 

"Sigma Pi purchased Theta Chi's house and painted the windows to match their colors but left one window red in honor of Theta Chi."
The brothers tried to keep up with the repairs but found it too costly and challenging.  In 2006 the house was in such disrepair that Potsdam's code-enforcement department cited the fraternity. This was also the year Sigma Pi lost their recognition from SUNY Potsdam. One alumni states:
"Repairing that house was no small task. We had estimates of 50k to repair a section of the roof, not even the entire roof. Some contractors said they were not skilled enough to work on the roof at all. It was an amazing monster of a house and I was lucky to have spent time there."

In 2008 brothers Kip and Kevin Blanchard, bought the house and stripped out its windows, doors, copper pipes, and other architectural elements.  In 2009 they sold the house to the Town of Potsdam for $60,000.  Several groups tried to save the house, but their efforts were unsuccessful and the house was torn down in 2010.

In January, 2013, a new Town Hall opened at 18 Elm Street.


  1. Oh My Goodness! What a horribly sad story. I remember that house so well in the late 70's/early 80's. :-(

    liza s-c

  2. Me too- my first "love" as a Theta Chi! So sad- it was a beautiful house!