The History of Gamma-Iota Zeta

1805. In 1805 pioneers ventured from Granville, Massachusetts to central Ohio where they settled Granville, Ohio.

1831. By 1831 Granville Literary and Theological Institution would be founded. Shortly after this the first “literacy societies” were formed, which were the first student run organizations at the institution, and somewhat similar to fraternities. These were the Calliopean Literacy Society (1836), and the Franklin Lit. Soc. (1842).

1840. By 1840 the institution had graduated its first class and the name of the institution was change to Granville College in 1845.

1850. In 1850, the campus was moved one mile westward to the present day hilltop campus, and Denison University was founded. Next to it would dwell Shepardson College. Shepardson was the female counterpart to the all male Denison University. Shepardson College and Denison University would eventually merge in 1927.

1868. In 1868 the first Greek Letter organizations were beginning to form, however the administration was quick to put a ban on pledging. It was not until 1881 was this ban lifted. Upon this news the first fraternities were quick to make their appearance.

1881. The first Greek Letter organizations began to from at Denison. Sigma Chi, and Beta Theta Pi were the first.

1885. Phi Gamma Delta was founded at Denison.

1900. The Sycamore Club was likely founded privately in 1900, however there are conflicting dates.

1910. It was not until June 23, 1910 that they were publicly founded, to be similar to many other already existing fraternities. The original Sycamores were: W.S. Webb and S.R. Webb (1912), R.E. Nottingham (1913), R.B. Miller (1914) and E. J. Shumaker.

1914. December 12, 1914 Letter from Shepardson to R. B. Deer regarding National Fraternity expansion

1915. The quest for the perfect house has resulted in many moves for Gamma-Iota. Initially the Sycamores started by living in the old Granville Hotel on 229 Summit Street. This was not long lived, and by 1915 they had moved to “The Ranch House” at 590 West Broadway. The house was purchased leased and then purchased from Miss Virginia Thorn. It resides on West Broadway, 7 blocks from the former Fiji and Beta houses. Because of its distance from the other houses, it was said to be on “the farm.” Its nickname would lead the 1930’s now Lambda men to host an annual “ranch” party, complimented with a horse shoe throwing tournament (complete with a plaque for the winners).

1916. In 1916 The Sycamores wrote a petition to become a chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, 85 years after Denison University was founded. However, this petition was either not fully submitted, or was turned down. In 1915 the club was officially incorporated. Their name comes from the tree that was outside their original house on Summit Street that was that old Granville Hotel. The colors of The Sycamore Club were brown and white.

Since the time the Sycamores were founded publicly they set high standards for themselves in both academic excellence, and participating in the extra curricular activities (Adytum 1919). These standards would become the building blocks for the Gamma-Iota Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha at Denison University.


February/March 1918 Letter to Shepardson from F. Morris Cochran (GIZ 11)

March 6, 1918 Letter from Sycamores to Warren A. Cole

March 12,1918 Letter from Shepardson to Cochran

March 19, 1918 Letter from Cole to Cochran

For More Information and history on the Sycamore Club, Click Here.