TKE Beta Pi History
1970s - Living Huge
In 1972, the North House was torn down, replaced by the Apartment House and a big front yard. The Apartment House offered accomodations unlike any other in the Greek system at Tech - without question the finest housing available to students on or near campus. The three story building consisted of twelve apartments. Each apartment contained two two-man rooms, its own bath (sink in the hall), a den, and a small kitchen area. Each apartment could be locked with its own key. The BOT adopted this unconventional plan in order to make it easier to borrow money to build the house since, if the Chapter ceased to be, the BOT could always rent the excellent facilities to other Tech students. Housing was in such short supply in those days that the BOT could have actually increased its revenue by renting to students in general instead of running the property as a Chapter House.
About a year later, the roach-infested Brick House was brought down and a large and inviting front yard created in its place. Tekes poured a basketball court where the space between the Brick and North Houses had been and did extensive landscaping. The pecan tree, which had stood in the back yard of the Brick House, was preserved.
Around 1973, the Chapter decided to create a full basement out of the crawl space beneath the White House. Both the digging and the removal of dirt were done by hand. After excavation, the front yard was occupied by a huge pile of dirt that someone eventually bought. A slab was poured in the new basement and several million-dollar checks were buried in it. A bar, party room, laundry room, closet, and TV or "tube" room were created, giving the chapter more social space. The bar face featured a metal plate with "TKE" embossed on it. The business side of the bar included a small sink with running water. Behind the bar were mirrors and a tap that led through the wall to a specially modified (keg containing) refrigerator that stood in the laundry room. The tube room was fully carpeted and had tiered seating. The party room had a drop ceiling with fluorescent lights, some drink machines (including a beer machine), a large trophy shelf, and the House mail slots. The laundry room, never finished out, contained three coin-operated washers and a few gas dryer. There was some storage in the laundry room as well.
In 1975, the BOT bought the Old Lady's House, which stood on Fifth Street downhill from the White House. It was named for the former occupant, with whom the chapter had not been on the best of terms. She had suffered years of abuse at the Chapter's hands before deciding to sell. However, neither she nor Georgia Tech intended that the house be sold to Beta Pi. In fact, when she learned of the Chapter's plans, Tech's planner stated that there was "no way we would let a fraternity have that much land." Determined not to lose the last obvious opportunity to acquire more land, the BOT arranged to purchase the property through a third party and a clause assigning the property to the Chapter was written into the contract. The old lady did not find out until closing that her hope was cheated. She was not happy. Nevertheless, all legalities were in order and the property came into the Chapter's hands. With the Old Lady's House, housing capacity reached sixty-four with forty-eight beds in the Apartment House, seven in the Old Social Quarters, and nine in the Old Lady's House. The Old Lady's House was the last property acquisition of the Chapter. Since the property was now bounded by two streets, a fire alley, and a sorority house that was the first women's dormitory at Georgia Tech, it is unlikely that there will ever be another acquisition.
In the late 1970s, several fraters owned motorcycles, which they parked in the space between the White House and the Old Lady's House. This had formerly been the Old Lady's driveway. Now it became known as Thunder Alley. In the early 1980s the area was landscaped with railroad ties and gravel and was good place to park and work on motorcycles.