A Clarkson Mosaic - page 261

fraternity house which in its earliest days had been a funeral parlor. They named their film "A
Nightmare on Elm Street." The instructor helping them left Clarkson several years later, and
eventually ended in Hollywood where he capitalized on the student film. His name was Wesley
Craven, and he became famous for a series of horror films with the same name; the "Elm
Street" in his horror movies originally was Potsdam's Elm Street. (See p. 407)
Omega Epsilon
. Clarkson's sixth and newest fraternity, founded two years earlier, purchased a
house at 77 Elm Street. Until this purchase, the fraternity had used the Potsdam Boys' Club as a
temporary home for a year, and during the 1954-55 year, they had held meetings in Lewis
However, because the house they had purchased was in an R-1 zone, village attorney
William Cubley told them that the Village had two options: to amend the Village ordinances
and thus permit the fraternity to continue at 77 Elm, or to enforce the ordinance and evict them.
Fraternity president Fred Burgwardt stated that in its short existence, the fraternity had become
known for its ideals of scholarship, gentlemanly conduct, and democratic living, and once
accepted, would prove an asset rather than a liability to the Elm Street area.
Village officials believed their statements and granted a zoning variance. This fraternity
became the Zeta Phi chapter of Alpha Chi Rho on February 18, 1956, and continued to reside at
77 Elm, even after a disastrous Christmas fire levelled the house.
At 7 a.m. on December 20, 1975, a heat sensor system issued the fire alarm to 11 of the
17 students living in the house who had not yet left for the holidays. Luckily, the fire produced
no major injuries, although two men were treated for minor cuts. Temperatures of 18 below
zero hampered the fire fighters, but they were able to prevent the spread of the fire to a
neighboring residence only 100 feet away. Members reported that insurance covered $80,000 of
the loss, but the appraised value of the house was over $100,000, for just two years before,
members had made over $20,000 worth of improvements to the structure. Strong alumni
financial support allowed the members to rebuild the house.
Rifle Team.
Concluding a season record of 7-12, the Clarkson rifle team finished second to
Cornell University in the newly formed New York State Intercollegiate Rifle League, an
organization proposed and organized by the Clarkson detachment.
It defeated:
SLU twice 1,368&g-1,247 and 1,393&g-1339;
Colgate twice 1,338&g-1,311 and 1,382&g-1,323;
Hobart twice 1,388&g-1,285 and 1,382&g-1,315;
Syracuse 1,338&g-1,331;
but lost to Cornell 1,377&g-1,358.
In March 1954, it placed fourth in the National Rifle Association's open sectional meet
at Buffalo, defeated by Akron University, Pittsburgh A team, and Penn State A team. It finished
ahead of Cornell, Duquesne, Pitt's B team, Penn State's B team, and the University of Buffalo.
Clarkson finished second in the ROTC competition, topped only by Akron.
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