Four years ago, there was little question where you could find a large number of Castleton State College students.The Kappa Delta Phi house on Elm Street was prepared with drinks, music, and more. From 80’s parties, to socials, the Kappa house had events to please every student.
But two years ago the house was shut down – and has since been replaced by a family of four.
Lori Hart and her three children now reside in the house that was once filled with fraternity brothers and their friends, kegs, beer cups — and even a urinal.
Hart said she was skeptical about moving in, considering all the work that had to be done to make it suitable for her and her kids.
She wanted a place what was big enough for them, and because of the great deal she was offered, she took it.
“This place was nightmare on Elm Street,” said Hart reminiscing back as she began a recent tour of the house.
As she showed the house and pointed to all of her repairs, it was enough to make reporters’ heads spin.
From the blood red walls in the kitchen, loose electric wires everywhere, and bar in the living room, Hart said she realized the place needed a whole new look, and she took on the challenge.
Hart said she found speakers, televisions, posters, and small refrigerators left behind. One great item the house featured was a disco ball in the middle of the living room, which she kept.
When she moved in she had a newborn girl who was often occupied by the spinning lights.
Hart’s teenage son, Chris, had quite the reaction when he moved into his new house.
“I thought that I am going to have my hands full for a year and half,” he said.
Marissa, Hart’s daughter, helped out too – and even found money in one wall.
It took a lot of work, and Hart said they are still finishing up little odds and ends, but it has come a long way from being one perhaps the most popular hangout in Castleton.
Mitchell Wenz, a senior and Kappa brother, reflected recently on all the time he spent at the house.
Wenz, who pledged to Kappa in the spring of 2002, said Castleton used to have a whole different feel when fraternities where a part of the college community.
“It used to be fun, everyone would hang out,” he said.
He talked about sitting on the front porch or roof and hanging out with his brothers. They would grill, play Whiffle Ball, and have all types of characters stop by and relax.
Students from on campus would actually leave campus, Wenz said, adding that it’s not like that much any more.
Wenz said fraternity hosted huge pig roasts that would get hundreds of people and coming to feast and listen to live music. Everyone would be there, from the athletes to the Greeks. And everyone got along, he said.
Another senior, Alec White, recalled hanging out at the Kappa house his freshman year at Castleton. He talked about how “everyone was friendly and excited to meet new people without judgment.”
He says now Castleton “seems so clicky and everyone is in their own group.”
White also said that although the fraternity was often talked about negatively, it helped students met new people. His first night in Castleton he went to Kappa and felt so welcomed.
“I remember sitting on the couch on the roof with friends, having so much fun,” said White.
Wenz said he was disappointed to see the house get taken away and stressed how Kappa wasn’t just about parting.
It raised money for Take Back the Night and helped rebuild the cross-country course, for example.
Wenz hasn’t been inside the house since the remodeling, but he said he knows it must be so much more different than when he was there.
Hart said she does have old Kappa brothers come and see the house occasionally, which is still owned by two Kappa brothers.
The busiest time for guests is usually in the summer, Hart said. One former resident only made it in one step before he couldn’t go any further, she said.
Hart has adjusted to living in a college town and said all the surrounding students are really nice and never give her a hard time. And she has adjusted just fine to life in the former Kappa house.
“It is a normal house,” Hart said.