Sigs Chip In To Preserve Ade’s Hazelden Estate

As pledges at Delta Delta we learn a great deal about the role George Ade ‘1887 played in establishing Sigma Chi as the prominent fraternity at Purdue. His early escapades as a student and young reporter teaming up with John T. McCutcheon led to a successful career as an author and playwright.  His leadership in building the Sigma Chi house at Purdue, writing the Sigma Chi Creed, and serving as Grand Consul are all details we learn about Ade.

One of the aspects of his life that we may be less familiar with is his life and times spent at his Hazelden Estate in Brook, Indiana.  At Hazelden, Ade entertained dignitaries, hosted parties that launched future presidents, and created a legacy that earned him the title of ‘Greatest Living American Writer’.  For more information on George Ade’s life go to Ade Legacy.

George Ade Historic Preservation Commission Formed

The George Ade Historic Preservation Commission was formed in 2017. Their vision is to create a one-of-a-kind landmark and unique historical tourism destination in Newton County, Indiana. This entails creating four distinct entities: The George Ade Museum, The Gardens, The Carriage House, and The Newton County Visitors Center.

 “The Gardens at Hazelden Estate

Step one in this preservation project is to recreate the extensive gardens that George Ade had created on his property. Recreating these gardens will provide a great location for family outings, educational activities, weddings and events.

George Ade Hazelden Estate home

Ade’s Hazelden Estate Home

The initial fundraising effort was to raise $50,000 to receive a $50,000 CreatINg matching grant through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. To obtain this match all $50,000 had to raised first.

Sigs Help Push Campaign Over Finish Line

When Phil Steele ’77 became aware of this campaign, it was within two weeks of its deadline with $5000 still needed to earn the matching grant. Soliciting the help of the classes of ’58, ’68, ’73, ’75, and ’77, within 4 days 35 brothers had chipped in to help this group hit their goal.

Brian Ortman ‘77 wrote, “I’m in. All the benevolence brother Ade donated to Purdue and Sigma Chi was most impressive.  He led the way for much enjoyment and rewards in our personal lives.”

Kristine Wright, the President of the Preservation Commission, couldn’t understand why they were all of a sudden receiving so many donations for $202.  When she learned of the significance of 202 to our chapter, she was amazed and very grateful.

George Ade statue

Ade statue unveiled on June 26, 2022

Future Goals and Opportunities

Recreating the Gardens at Hazelden is the first step in the preservation project. Future plans include restoring Ade’s original carriage house as an event venue; refurbishing George Ade’s home and adding to it’s collection of Ade materials; and adding a resource room for those interested in learning more about Ade’s life from an interactive learning center.

As these projects are initiated the Preservation Commission will be looking for support from Sigma Chi and Delta Delta.  As we did this time on a limited basis, we’re sure the Sigs will come through in the future.

For more information go to The Hazelden Estate Revitalization Project.

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