Members Resources
(Alumni Directory)

“Chapter Room- Lost in the Flood of 1996”

By: Steve Uhland (Former President, ATO Alumni Board of Directors)
Edited By: David Raymond (ATO Alumni President 2004-Present)

The most impressive sight to see in the chapter house before 1997 was the chapter room. As you walked through the Ante room, you passed through a door that opened to our Eternal Temple of Friendship. This room was designed by Clarence L.S. Raby, who served as the ATO National Ritual Counselor, and was dedicated to his son, Maj. Robert Raby, USMC, who perished in World War II. It had 2 descending U shaped rows of pews, and a massive badge that lighted from below. The actual shape of the room imitated an Omega. At the open end of the Omega design were the officers’ stations, individually lit with then technologically advanced mercury gravity lights. It was this room that became the standard for all ATO chapters across the United States. It was here where every Worthy Grand Chief for the last 35 years made a pilgrimage. It was here where we honored our alumni, renewed old friendships and memories, and initiated new brothers into our remarkable organization, guaranteeing our perpetuity.

Repairs to the Chapter House Basement After the Floods of 1996
by Rich Brunner '58 (former ATO Alumni President);
edited by Dave Raymond '67 (ATO Alumni President (2004 to present)

Back-to-back flooding events occurred in the late 1990's that were classified by FEMA as 100 year and 500 year events. The basements of both the ATO and Phi Kappa Psi Chapter Houses were severely damaged as a result of these floods over the banks of Stephens Creek (known locally as the "Tiber") that runs behind both houses.

The repairs that were needed for the ATO Chapter House after these devastating floods required a total renovation of the basement and resulted in the loss of our premier Chapter Room. Part of the total renovation of the basement level by the ATO alumni corporation was an extensive reconstruction of the sewer line/pipe that runs from the basement back door of the ATO house to the Tiber, as designed by Gary Shaeffer, our architect. The rather elaborate concrete stairwell in the back of the Chapter House was designed and put in place as a part of that underground work, which was performed by the Carl Franz Plumbing Co. at a cost of $10,000. This underground work was extremely important and was intended to eliminate the years of "back-flow" from the Tiber at "high tide" that used to flood the ATO basement level time and time again. To assure that any back-flow would be prevented in the future, the Carl Franz Co, also installed an in-ground holding tank in the rear of the house, as part of the ATO flood recovery process. That holding tank may have been key to saving ATO from more flooding in recent years.

In addition, some earth work was done by the College at the back of the Chapter House to build an earth berm to help protect the rear of the ATO Chapter House from any Tiber overflow. We are confident that, with the substantial renovations made by the ATO Chapter House Corporation, proper maintenance of the holding tank and continuing maintenance of the College-built berms, the ATO basement should continue to stay dry.

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