CHAPTER HISTORY

Chi Upsilon began its existence on January 15 of 1916. It is with great pride that we point to two men as the causative factor in the existence of Chi Upsilon. As history has it, these two men, Dr. Eben J. Carey, one-time Chairman of the Executive Trustees and Editor of the Phi Chi Quarterly, then Professor of Anatomy at Creighton University, and Dr. Jay Albert Keys, of St. Louis, Mo., formed and initiated the nucleus from which our chapter derived its initial spark.

There were five seniors, seven juniors, five sophomores, and fourteen freshmen in the Charter Chapter. The Freshmen accounting for better than half of the freshman class at Creighton at the time.

The Seniors were: Francis J. Hombach; Raymond S. Johnston; J. R. Liebee; Wallace P. Phillips, the first treasurer, and Carl Zimmerer. Those composing the junior class were: Grove Baldwin; Sidney B. Billinger; Eric J. Gambee, the first Presiding Senior; Paul B. Gillespie; Frank M. Heacock; Barney M. Kully; and Guy S. Philbrik. The sophomore class was formed by: Earl S. Connolly; Norman J. Haverly; John T. O'Connell; Harry T. Sullivan; and I. B. Williams. The first year men were: John J. Carroll; Maurice C. Howard; Harvey A. Johnson; Robert D. Korchman; Ernest W. Landgraf; Frank T. Lovely; George R. Marshall; James W. Mounsey; James J. O'Connner; Thomas W. Torpy; Frank Ze1azouski; William A. Gross; Edward Lichty; and Michael J. Carey.

The Chi Upsilon basketball team was, for a long time, a tradition at the house. Every year, all efforts were put forth to bring our team to the top to win the Pan-Hellenic basketball championship. With our disconnection from the Pan-Hel council, though, came the slow demise of our basketball team. 

The social side of our history was somewhat limited due to the rules put forth by the Pan-Hel council. We were restricted to one social function a year which had for years been a tradition of Chi Upsilon. This event, much looked forward to by actives, alumni, and pledges, was the annual formal dinner dance. Singing, which was always a hobby with the chapter, invariably followed a talented pianist to the front parlor, where renditions of the classics were mixed with hillbilly tunes. Today this event has split into two annual events, the fall welcome-back party in August and another celebration on Halloween, with the formal dinner and dance having been overshadowed by the medical school's annual Golden Apple (Medical School Prom) Banquet in the spring.

We have always been home to many of the class leaders, with our members often fulfilling the positions of presidents and board members for many various organizations (We recently had the first year, second year, AND third year presidents as members). Although we are the only residential medical fraternity on campus, we will continue to strive---even without comparable competition driving us---to be the best fraternal organization on campus.

WHO IS THAT GUY ON THE WALL?

Francis Patrick Matthews (March 15, 1887–October 18, 1952) served as 49th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, during the administration of President Harry Truman. Matthews served during most of Truman's first term, from May 25, 1949 to July 31, 1951.

Born in Albion, Nebraska, Matthews spent most of his adult life in Omaha. He graduated from Creighton University in Omaha in 1913, then practiced law in that city from that time onward. This is likely when he purchased the Buck residence where the Chi Upsilon chapter currently resides. He was active in business pursuits, civic and religious affairs and Democratic Party politics. From 1933 through 1949, he served as a consultant to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. He was also the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus from 1939 to 1945.

During the Second World War, Mr. Matthews served as a Director and Vice President of the United Service Organizations (USO) and was also involved in war-relief work. He was Director (1941-1951) of the Department of Finance in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Following the war, he served briefly (1946-1947) on the President's Committee on Civil Rights.

Truman tapped Matthews in early 1949 to become Secretary of the Navy. Matthews entered the post in May 1949, at a time of internal turmoil in the Department of Defense resulting from significant funding reductions and controversial decisions on defense priorities. He served through the first year of the Korean War; during his two years in office, the federal government was massively increasing defense spending to meet international crises, and all the armed forces were under major strain as they simultaneously tried to meet the demands of a hot war in Asia and an intensive defense build-up in Europe.

One of the key events of Matthews' time at the Navy Department was the so-called "Revolt of the Admirals," an intense controversy between the Navy and the Air Force over which service would be in charge of strategic bombing and the dropping of nuclear weapons. The Navy wanted to build huge flush-deck carriers (known as "supercarriers"), while the Air Force wanted to focus on the Convair B-36 bomber. Top Navy leaders "revolted" when they publicly expressed their dissatisfaction with the Defense Dept.'s policies, and several senior admirals (including ADM Louis E. Denfeld, Chief of Naval Operations) were forced to resign, or did so in protest.

Matthews resigned the Navy post in July 1951 to become Ambassador to Ireland, the home of his ancestors.

He died on October 18, 1952, during a visit to Omaha.

HOUSE HISTORY

The Chi Upsilon chapter was instituted on January 15, 1916 by Drs. Eben J. Carey and Jay Albert Keys. The chapter eventually purchased their first house on the Northeast corner of 25th and Capitol. It was a frame house that was only used by the fraternity for six months before they switched into the second chapter house, a brick structure located on the Northwest corner of 22nd and Davenport (the current location of the Creighton University Towers). The house was closed in 1917 and remained that way for the duration of the war.

In the fall of 1919, the chapter opened its doors again, this time at 3635 Lafayette Ave. They were headquartered there for a while before moving to a new house at 201 S. 32nd Street, where they lived until 1932, when they moved once again, to a house located at 3120 Davenport Ave and formerly owned by Henry W. Yates. Mr. Yates came to Omaha as a wholesale grocer, but only two years after arriving in Omaha, he joined the Kountze brothers to begin a banking career, eventually rising to president of the First National Bank. A variety of business interests occupied him: real estate, railroad, bridge, stockyards development, and white lead smelting. He joined the Omaha Library Association to establish a circulating library in Omaha, and participated in the founding of Brownell Hall, an Episcopal School for young women in 1863.

For a few years, starting in the mid 1940's, the fraternity switched to another new residence: an old brick building located at 111 South 34th Street (pictured above). During this time, the house and its members were tenderly cared for by the housekeeper/cook, who they referred to as "Ma."

 

The chapter was dislodged from this house because of its impending demolition to clear room for the new Mutual of Omaha building. The last home that they inhabited before their current house was a block away, at 209 South 33rd Street. It was an old hotel (pictured below), which they moved into sometime in the late '50s or early '60s and, ironically, was eventually demolished to put in a parking lot for the Mutual of Omaha building.

In 1952, the chapter hired Mae Webb to cook for the house. She stayed until 1985, when she retired, and the current house's kitchen has been dedicated to all of her loyalty and friendship. 

The Chi Upsilon chapter currently resides at the Earl Buck residence (pictured below), which was designed in Jacobean Revival style by H. A. Raapke and built in 1916. The stately house was Gottlieb Storz's (owner of Storz Brewery) wedding present to his niece, Louise, upon her marriage to Earl Buck. Constructed of brick and trimmed with limestone, the house displays many of the hallmarks of its architectural style, including wide Tudor-Gothic arches, limestone lintels over the windows, a large two-story bay window, and a gabled roof. Asymmetrical composition and Jacobethan fenestration are also typical of the style. The residence has an outlying carriage house with second-floor servants' quarters. Later owned by Francis P. Matthews, Secretary of the Navy from 1948 to 1950 and Ambassador to Ireland during 1951-1952.

The house was purchased by the Chi Upsilon chapter in 1968 and renamed the Hartmann House after Chi Upsilon class of '35 alumnus Clarence M. Hartmann. $25,000 was quickly spent on major repairs, fire exits, and turning the carriage house into bedrooms. Soon thereafter, the damaged ceilings were replaced, the roof was repaired, and a central fire alarm system was installed.