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In 1897 seven men founded a local fraternity, Phi Rho Beta, with two definite aims: (1) to promote character, leadership, scholarship, and brotherly feeling in its members, and (2) to found a Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi on the Wisconsin campus. At first this attempt, too, seemed doomed. However, through the influence of Alpha Delts of the Wisconsin, Chicago, and Michigan faculties, the cause gained ground. Finally in May 1902, at the Annual Convention of Alpha Delta Phi, the petition for a Wisconsin Charter was granted.


Early classes were small, but the growth of the University made it inevitable that delegations should be larger, despite a conservative policy of limiting membership.


The original Chapter House was a frame house located at 610 Langdon Street. In 1916 a house at 640 North Henry Street, in Madison, was purchased. It had rooming accommodations for twenty-three men. The house, located on the shores of Lake Mendota, included a stone boathouse. During the later years at that house the number of men in the Chapter averaged about 45.


By the 1950’s, the age and condition of the house had become a burden to the Alumni Association, substantial deterioration having taken place. Accordingly, in 1952, the Directors began major fund drives to remodel the house. Because the physical structure seemed to be decaying faster than it could be repaired, the Board determined in 1953 that three options faced the Board: (1) Do massive repairs to the existing structure, (2) Sell the present property and either purchase another existing structure or build a structure as a new location and (3) raze the existing structure and build a new structure on the present property.


The third option was selected and the new house was built in 1959. This modern structure houses 44 men and is complete with a large living room, library, dining room, and chapter room. The boathouse was saved and renovated to slow the deterioration trend.


The leadership is dedicated to the preservation of the new Chapter House as a memorial to the devoted efforts of those many loyal Alumni who had been there in times of need, with support and guidance and who have not forgotten the benefits they received from their association with Alpha Delta Phi in years past. All Brothers of the Wisconsin Chapter are joined in an effort to maintain a high level of fraternity life and a worthy contribution to the University of Wisconsin.


In August 2002, the Chapter hosted the Convention of Alpha Delta Phi, celebrating the Chapter’s 100th year of existence.

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