“A place that goes on whether your there or not, that you come back to and find waiting
with welcome. “
The historic preservation of the Castle continues with unbound, hardworking enthusiasm and continual success, inch by inch, room by room, on the main floor. The work goes on. It is painstaking work, but the eminence of The Castle will shine through very soon, providing all future Omega Mu Fijis an enriching fraternal home and brotherhood in which to flourish and enjoy life while at the University of Maine. A rich, bountiful new chapter in our fraternal history is really starting, and it bodes well for our all-important trajectory vision of our fraternal life to come in the next 120 years. Our brotherhood and The Castle will not tail off into non-existence.
As I was finishing my culling, cleaning, and sorting work in the house library a month ago, one of the last books that pulled out was filled with forty-five portrait photos of our Q.T.V. brothers starting in 1871-1872. Once again, I shook my head in amazement at finding them and then thinking that the book had been in every one of our fraternal homes! It is a great pictorial archive. I read name upon name: Balentine, Kidder, Flint, Bartlett, Keith, Mullen, Ladd, Crosby, Estabrooke, and all the rest. I looked at each portrait photo and thought about the ideas, idealism, and coordinated effort that they exhibited with each new thorny endeavor in our early fraternal years. With tremendous cooperation, work ethic, fraternal agility, patience, and perseverance they always succeeded, and every endeavor was substantially challenging. For their faithful commitment, we are most thankful. In breadth and depth, equanimity and fraternal cheer, they established our fraternal character that we are now collectively demonstrating in our committed restoration of the most historically distinguished fraternal home at the University of Maine with meticulous care. This work is a true testament, a continuing testament, as to who we continue to be as a generationally united brotherhood.
The restorative work, the architectural craftsmanship, is progressing well, and the finished work, in historic breadth and value, will be identical to when the house was finished in 1925. We are happy to see that this restorative work is being done on the Castle, and in doing so we are honoring generations of brother who joyfully lived in the Castle since 1925. The Castle, designed by Crowell and Lancaster, will once again look great and function well for generations of Omega Mu Fijis to come.
The restoration work has been somewhat of an archeological process when dried fruit was discovered underneath the floorboards.
The steel beam in the basement.
It is a privilege, honor, and responsibility to be part of our historic fraternal bloodline, and there’s no denying it. We are moving forward with 120 years of fraternal pride in restoring our beloved Castle. It is intensely personal, and that is the ongoing pulse of our historic tradition of our generational loyalty as we start a new fraternal chapter with historic sensibility, strength and vitality. We know it. Our previous generations of brothers more than delivered on maintaining our fraternal promise that started in 1874 and 1899. Although it is a play-off of Sir Isaac Newton, the shoulders of our brothers were broad in our early years with all of the moves they made from house-to-house-to house, and they were even broader after the fire destroyed our first Phi Gamma House in 1924. But in a years time, the land a 79 College Avenue was purchased and the Castle was built. That is fraternal dedication, and we are now the broad shepherding shoulders in providing a beautiful fraternal home for all future generations of Omega Mu Fijis. Our fraternal ideas, ideals, and spirit do not change from generation-to-generation. They remain as sound, determined and visionary as all of our previous generations.
I am so pleased to see the architectural rhythm and order of our 93 year old house being restored with care and historic dignity. It’s a rather involved process, as you see by the photos, but the effect on all of us will be spellbinding when it is finished because it will engage all of our senses from the new floors, pictures, lighting, carpets, and furniture. We will savour all of it. We will not be close-mouthed when we see The Castle fully restored and spruced up; I know it. There will be a jubilee spirit from all of us that will create a genuine historic sense of well-being from every generation of Omega Mu Fijis. We will celebrate every beautiful, shinning detail in our preeminent architectural home at the University of Maine.
We are all proud to be an Omega Mu Fiji in our ongoing story of fraternal greatness since Balentine, Colesworthy, Estabrooke, Crosby, Kidder, Mullen, Ladd, Hart, Buck, Curtis, Work, Danforth, Coulombe, Golden, Ballou, Thurston, Rand, Dave Smith, McCarron, Stern, McInnis, O’Leary, Collins, Chaplin, Cote, Bartlett, McLean, and so many others in our fraternal bloodstream. From our fraternal founding through today, we remain the premier fraternal brotherhood at the University of Maine. It is fitting to conclude with Browning: "How good is man's life. The mere living, how fit to employ all the heart, and the soul, and the senses enjoy." That's all. This is Phi Gamma Delta. Perge.
“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us hand in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Chip Chapman, ’82