Beadles Hall is one of IWU’s many abandoned buildings

By Farah Bassyouni Oct 14, 2022

Many abandoned buildings exist on or near Illinois Wesleyan’s campus. Buck Memorial Library is the most recent space on campus to be vacated, but plenty of other buildings have gone under utilized in the last decade. 

Beadles Hall sits down the street from Gulick hall, and has stood empty for the last 10 of its 118-year existence. 

The white wooden planks that board the windows and paint chips that have fallen under its archway give it a ghostly appearance– one that represents a forgone fixture of Greek life on campus in the twentieth century. 

Built in 1904 by Frank Casey, the Georgian style house has been home to two Greek life organizations on IWU’s campus. 

In 1930, 24 years after their chapter was founded at IWU, the women of Sigma Kappa bought the house from its private resident, Alice Robinson. For the next 50 years, the Sigma Kappas lived at 1101 N East Street before selling it to the university in 1979. 

In 1980, Illinois Wesleyan named the house after retired economics professor, dean and vice president of the university, William T. Beadles. 

That same year, the brothers of Sigma Pi, who had been living in Adams Hall, moved into the newly renovated Beadles Hall. The building’s 37 person living capacity was perfect for the growing fraternity.

Beadles Hall was home to Sigma Pi for the next 32 years. It was last occupied by the fraternity in 2012, when a tragic event led to the revocation of the charter of IWU’s Sigma Pi chapter.

In the spring of that year first-year student Brandon Landau drowned after becoming intoxicated at an off-campus Sigma Pi event. 

The fraternity tried to return to campus in 2015 after its three-year suspension from the university, but ultimately failed to cultivate enough interest from potential new members on campus. 

Now, Beadles Hall is hidden by overgrown bushes. Students heard its name in the Campus Safety beat when a window was broken in or when a student was discovered smoking marijuana by the back spiral staircase.

 In April of 2022 Campus Safety responded to a fire alarm that went off at 1:00 a.m. It was discovered that a fire hadn’t actually been ignited, and that the alarm had been triggered when an intruder decided to discharge the building’s fire extinguisher. 

According to Dean of Students, Karla Carney-Hall, reopening is unlikely, “There’s simply too much deferred maintenance compared to the property value.”

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