The House at 630 w. 5th Street in Chico, CA (map) was built in 1895 – so it has lived more lives than our chapter has. Theta Chi, Eta Omega assumed the lease in 1984, and purchased the house years later.
The house stands near the corner of 5th and Ivy Streets, which is one of the busiest (and most entertaining) pedestrian intersections in Chico. It was built as the residence of A.G. Eames, the founder of Chico Soda Works. After Eames moved away, renowned architect Julia Morgan was commissioned to remodel the house in 1910. It has since served as a family residence, a nursing home (hence the cement access ramp up to the front porch), the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house, the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house, and since Fall 1984, the home of the Eta Omega Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity.
It sleeps 16 in the main house, and 2 in the back “cottage” (which was built in the 50’s or 60’s) for a total of 18 in-house members.
According to Brother Torrey Sullivan, who spoke with Bob Summerville, Chico City Planner in 2009, 630 w. 5th Street is considered by Chico to be a historic building because it meets the following criteria:
- It’s in the “Landmark Overlay District” which basically encompasses all the housing to the south of CSUC (creek to creek, and from the tracks to Wall St.).
- The City has listed the structure as a historic resource due to it’s historical significance.
- The house is listed in the Chico Historic Resources Inventory (see ‘Related Documents’ below)
- OX House “As Built” Floor Plan Design (PDF): by Greg Peitz, Architect, Jan, 2009
- Chico Historic Resources Inventory: Numbered streets (West) (PDF): see pages 77-78
- Chico Wiki has a page dedicated to this historic house.
- Chico State’s Merriam Library has a photo of the house (and its original residents, the Eames family) in 1910
- The back cottage was fully remodeled in 2007 (photos)
- The roof of the main house was replaced in 2008
- The 1st floor of the house was completely remodeled in 2009
- The 2nd and 3rd floors and exterior were completely remodeled in 2014
Previous Chapter Locations:
Our chapter actually got its start at another house in Chico (925 Chestnut St.) and moved briefly to a place on Nord Ave. before taking over the current 630 w. 5th St. house. This is how a couple brothers who were there remember it:
Russ Biswell: “Fall 81: 925 Chestnut (upstairs only); Spring ’82 through Spring ’83: 925 Chestnut (entire house); Fall ’83/Spring ’84 Nord Ave house; Fall 84 to now: current house.”
Todd Peca: “The 1st semester Brothers lived at 630 W 5th St. was Fall ’85. Executive officers Pres. Dave, V-Pres. Russ, & Sec. Vince procured the house (really [James] Suver did) during academic calendar year of F’83/S’84. I think we moved in the following summer. …we almost bought the Nord house.”