The Beginning of Greatness
The Ohio State University agriculture campus was located entirely on the East Side of the Olentangy River in 1904. At this time there was only one agricultural fraternity on the campus, the Alpha Zeta fraternity. The men of Alpha Zeta were very active in the agricultural activities, holding the chairmanships and major offices in the agricultural college. There was a certain group of young men who were opposed to the Alpha Zeta’s domination and decided to do something about it. These men first met in an old wooden-framed house, on property near the present day University Hospital, at the intersection of Eleventh Avenue. The men who numbered seven were: Francis Lorne Allen, Rudo Lorenzo Fromme, William Americus Martin, Glenn T. Snyder, Burton Louis West, Emerson Scott Poston, and Robert C. Wallace. Martin, Allen, and Wallace were acquainted through participation in The Ohio State University Livestock Judging Team. Fromme and Poston were both connected with musical organization and knew each other very well. Snyder and West were roommates and West was on The Ohio State University Baseball Team. With the aid of Hooler Slate and the agricultural independents, the founders managed to acquire a majority of the chairmanships and presidencies in the agricultural activities. It was then decided that the AZ’s could be successfully opposed. Realizing that an organization was needed in order to work effectively, the founders met in a building on South High for such a purpose. At this organizational meeting Fromme was installed as President. Fromme gave Alpha Gamma Rho the name to the organization at this time. The idea behind this was that the Greek letters form the abbreviation for the word agriculture.
The first house was rented at 1630 Neil Avenue. There is some conflict as to where the house was actually located. The Pledge Manual states 1534 Neil Avenue; however, all other reputable sources, including the founders, state 1630 Neil Avenue as the correct address.
In this same year William Martin, Francis Allen and Robert Wallace were on the Ohio State University Judging Team which went to the Chicago Livestock International show. While there, they met informally with the men from Delta Rho Sigma fraternity at the University of Illinois. Later the Alpha Gamma Rho’s will merge with this group to become a nationally united group.
The first two pledges were initiated into the fraternity in 1905. They were Erasimus J. Kitchen and J. Oscar Williams. It was coincidental that Kitchen and Williams were taken to the location of the present house at 1979 Iuka Avenue for the first initiation ceremony. At that time the house was under construction and was selected because it was in a lonely wooded area. In fact it was a few years later known as the “Mansion in the Wilderness.”