Andrew Oliveira ’13 recently spent time at the Geneva Historical Society pouring through copies of the historic Geneva Gazette for information about the house his fraternity, Chi Phi, currently occupies at 573 South Main St. The architecture and English double major uncovered an article that describes how the first fraternity brothers to inhabit the house, Kappa Alpha, created a time capsule on June 23, 1892, while they were renovating the third floor and turret section.
With guidance from the newspaper article, he and his brothers discovered a long-forgotten capsule and its contents: a full copy of the Geneva Gazette and the New York Times, coins from 1892 and – what Oliveira describes as the most valuable and exciting discovery- a small, slightly worn and wrinkled image that clearly depicts the house.
“It’s the only drawing of the house known to exist,” he says.
Since becoming a member of Chi Phi, Oliveira has been fascinated by the house and its history. He has spurred efforts to find and display historic photos of the house and has searched to no avail for the architect’s original drawings.
“This house has always had a certain mystery to me,” says Oliveira. “It has stood here, constant, while everything changed around it – the construction of the highway, three fraternities and passing time.”
Oliveira and other members of Chi Phi plan to make note of the contents of the original Kappa Alpha time capsule and add some memorabilia of their own time capsule to leave behind for another generation to find.