Belleville News Democrat
April 11, 2004
Fraternity spruces up grounds of historic Stephenson
By Brian Brueggeman
EDWARDSVILLE - Yard work usually isn't on the minds of
college fraternity members on Saturday morning.
But members and alumni
of the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter at Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville got up early to provide muscle for landscape work at their
former fraternity house, the historic Stephenson House.
About a dozen men dug holes for fruit trees and
winterberries, removed dead evergreens, transplanted other evergreens,
scraped dirt from a sidewalk, and raked and bagged leaves.
Kinnunen, president of the fraternity chapter's alumni board, said the men
jumped at the chance to help with work at the house where fraternity
members resided from 1982 to 1999. It was the first house for a fraternity
"Being the first fraternity with a house had prestige with
it," Kinnunen said. "This is part of the fraternity's history."
1999, the city bought the house, which was built in 1820 by Col. Benjamin
Stephenson and is the oldest brick home in Madison County. The house, at
409 Buchanan St., is on the National register of Historic Places and is
being restored to be a tour house.
Karen Mateyka, a board member of the
Friends of Col. Benjamin Stephenson House, said she hope the tour house
will be open this fall.
"It's a matter of money," Mateyka said. "We're
working on different event to earn money, and of course, looking for
The exterior work is about complete. Remaining interior
work includes plastering and installation of wood floors.
information, including how to make a donation, call 656-0888, or go online