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Long-term stewardship of the Alpha House, Detroit
Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Greek-letter fraternity for African American men. The Gamma Lambda Chapter was founded in 1919 as Michigan’s first Alumni Chapter. In 1939, the Chapter raised the money necessary to purchase this house in Detroit’s Brush Park neighborhood. It is the longest continuously-owned chapter house in the fraternity.
Alpha Phi Alpha has always had a community focus. Over the decades, the Alpha House has been the launching pad for fraternity outreach programs to support higher level learning, voter and candidate forums, and serves as a safe space for community discussion. As challenges change in Detroit, the Alpha House continues to offer a place for gathering, learning, community service and problem-solving.
The chapter has thoughtfully preserved their home while modernizing it to meet current needs. Original woodwork, fixtures, and windows have been restored. The unstable front porch was carefully removed and rebuilt from the ground up, following the original design. Over $200,000 was invested in repairs and upgrades to the house before it hosted the 2003 national convention, which included the creation of a museum in the attic to highlight chapter history.
The house continues to serve as the offices for the chapter, and as a place to meet and socialize. Passionate about their history, the Gamma Lambda Chapter worked to list the Alpha House in the National Register of Historic Places, which became official in August 2021.
The Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation recognize standout projects across both peninsulas, exemplifying the collaboration and deep impact preservation can have in Michigan communities. Congratulations to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Gamma Lambda Chapter on their 2022 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation!