Monday, January 11, 2010

The Levere Memorial Temple

Most people who know us know how proud we both are of our Greek affiliations. Jake is a founding father of his chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and it has played a huge part in our college experience. So in Chicago, when we realized how close we were to ΣΑΕ's headquarters in Evanston, IL, we just had to make the trip.

The fraternity headquarters is located at the Levere Memorial Temple. The Temple, completed in 1930, is a memorial for ΣΑΕ's many war heroes and a museum of Fraternity and Sorority history. It was named after William "Billy" Levere, an influential brother who first suggested the development of a Memorial, but did not live to see it's completion. The temple is located at Northwestern University and was designed by a brother of Northwestern's Illinois Psi-Omega chapter. The Temple's address is 1856, the year of ΣΑΕ's founding, even though the address is not in numerical order with the surrounding buildings. The distinguishing gothic style of the building and two gigantic lions that flank the entrance make the building unique and unmistakeable.

(shhh... don't tell, but I can't wait to be an ΣΑΕ wife...)

The Temple also houses the office of Eminent Supreme Recorder (the National Fraternity's Executive Director). Jake wishes this was his office.

The basement of the Temple is an assembly hall known as the Panhellenic Room. The entire room took 3 years to paint with murals and the coat-of-arms of 59 other Greek organizations in order of their founding dates. Alpha Xi Delta is one of the original founding Panhellenic sororities so I had high hopes of finding our crest there... and I did!

The lion inside the Temple is the casting of the lions from the entrance.

The Peace Chapel is on the main floor of the Temple and is one of the most beautiful rooms you will ever see. I seriously considered canceling our wedding plans so that we could be married there. The Chapel was created in memory of ΣΑΕ brothers who had served in wars since the Fraternity's founding. The most striking parts of the Chapel are the original Tiffany stained glass windows. The stained glass was the single most expensive piece of the entire Temple at a cost of $40,000 in 1930!

The Fraternity's museum holds pictures and memorabilia of famous ΣΑΕs, the first official pin, and the membership card of one of my personal heroes, the only female member of ΣΑΕ Lucy Patty.

The Temple has a stained glass window for every school with a chapter. We think San Jose State's is the prettiest.

Jake signing the guestbook.

William "Billy" Levere

Christmas 2009 in Chicago

It's a week after we returned from our holiday travels and we are finally rested up and recovered from all the excitement. Here are some memories from our White Christmas!

The gang hanging out in Downtown on our first day of sightseeing. We look pretty comfortable here, but the wind was FREEZING!

Hanging out in the swanky Ralph Lauren store.

Taking in the scenery.

Real Chicago stuffed pizza.

Jake always has to sample the local brew.

Family photo in the snow.

Really loving all this white stuff.

A tiny Chicago skyline at the Museum of Science and Industry.

After the snow stops, everything gets icy. These trees were completely covered, as if they were made of glass! I thought this was the coolest thing.

Christmas Eve pajamas at Aunt Dana's house.

We spent our Christmas morning under the hotel's display tree.

Jake and I call this hat my "ewok" hat. He thinks it's irresistibly cute and I don't have a problem with that!

Headed home to the Golden State.

After a long delay in the O'hare airport, Jake and I took a long nap.

Stay tuned for pictures from the Levere Memorial Temple!