our local history

1800s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s - present

The Teens

Colgate was blossoming in the early 20th century. The curriculum was becoming larger and deeper and the spirit of individual achievement was high. Colgate's athletic program was well on its way toward national recognition. Expansion in both athletics and academics was the keynote.

The old Rowland house bulged with as many as 32 brothers and spirit at Beta was exceptional. Pride in the house and in each other was evident in the many achievements and diverse interests of the members.

In the homey dining room, members' names appeared on the chair backs and in the smell of delicious food flowed from Mother Murdock's old wood stove. Room arrangement was much as it is today -- two beds in a room which was used as a study as well.

Freshmen wore green hats and busied themselves with the usual chores: shoveling coal, cleaning the floors, serving the upper classmen as well as some unusual tasks, for example, counting 1880 railroad ties and stealing the skeleton from the science lab.

"Road trips" were often by train, and though not as frequent as of late, none-the-less, adventurous and spirited. One of the best remembered was the Dartmouth Winter Carnival trip. Following the football team all over the northeast was enjoyed then as now and the brothers socialized with fellow "Kai's" along the way.

Diversity and individual excellence was maintained in the classroom and out. Many Betas were members of the glee club and enjoyed that group's Easter trip to more southerly climes.

Military regimen came to Colgate briefly during World War I. Drills were held on Whitnall Field and everyone wore uniforms. The great optimism and enthusiasm that followed the war coincided with the University's Centennial Celebration and fund raising drive, giving great impetus to both. And, Beta and Colgate were in a very strong posture heading into the twenties, though the old Rowland house was showing its age.