Phi Kappa Tau (ΦKT)
- September 15 - December 1914: Room 300A of West Berks Hall (founding of Alpha Sigma colony) / 930 Hamilton Street
- December 5, 1914 - 1919: 133 N 15th Street
- 1920 - 1922: 1109 Linden Street
- November 1922 - 1958: 2224 Liberty Street
- 1958 - 1994, 1999 - 2013: Hillside House
The Eta chapter of Phi Kappa Tau (PKT) was formed from the Alpha Sigma Colony, founded on September 15, 1914 in Room 300A of West Berks Hall (present-day East Hall). The organization secured rooms for new members at 930 Hamilton Street, but moved into its first official house at 133 N. 15th Street on December 5, 1914. Alpha Sigma officially became Phi Kappa Tau in 1918 and was the first fraternity since Alpha Tau Omega in 1881 to be granted a national charter. Muhlenberg’s Eta chapter was the seventh oldest PKT chapter in the nation.
From 1920 to 1922, PKT lived at 1109 Linden Street, before purchasing its 2224 Liberty Street home. This Liberty Street house was owned and lived in by PKT for 36 years from 1922 to 1958. According to The Muhlenberg Weekly, this house was purchased by the fraternity in November 1922 for $20,000 and gave them the distinction of being the first fraternity to reside on campus, located just one close block away.
In the fall of 1954, Phi Kappa Tau’s plans for a new $100,000 residence, which could house double the number of brothers as their Liberty Street residence, was approved by the Board of Trustees. Designed by architects Wolf and Hahn, the plan is quite a departure from what was eventually constructed: Hillside House (see the original design here)
In the fall of 1958, PKT brothers moved into their new chapter house on the south of campus. The present-day Hillside House was designed by Allentown architect Robert Frey ‘45, who had been an Eta Chapter member while a student at Muhlenberg. It was the first fraternity house to be built at Muhlenberg in over 30 years, and the first to be built on the campus proper. The house was dedicated on March 14, 1959.
On April 28, 1993, a hazing incident observed by Campus Safety led to the national organization suspending Phi Kappa Tau for three years. The suspension was the culmination of troubling incidents which had seen the national organization brought to campus numerous times in recent years to deal with its chapter.
Leased from Phi Tau Alumni Association in the fall of 1994, “Hillside” House was converted to house 18 male and female students in single rooms. PTK returned to campus in the fall of 1999 as a substance-free house. In 2007, the fraternity was put on probation following an incident involving drugs. Nevertheless, it remained on campus until the spring of 2013, at which time the College withdrew its recognition of the chapter as a result of its hazing practices. The house remained empty until the summer of 2016, when it was renovated and repurposed as an academic space that houses activities for Dance, Art, and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program.