711 W. Grand River
  • Members: 21 (21 singles)
  • Floors: 3
  • Bathrooms: 4
  • Mealplan: Yes
  • Refrigerators: 3
  • Freezers: 1
  • Laundry: 2 washers, 2 dryers
  • Highlights: Near Apollo, near bars and restaurants
  • Bus Line: #20 CATA
  • Nearby Locations: Crunchy's (bar), Grand River Coffee, Biggby's 24-hour cafe, Quality Dairy
  • Blocks from campus: 3


Elsworth was the second men's co-op established at Michigan State University. The members wanted to lease a house, as Hedrick had done in 1939, but the owner's of available property weren't interested in leasing-- they wanted to sell. The future members of Elsworth Co-op raised $1700 in the summer of 1940, lifted from foreclosure a house at 218 Albert established what may have been the first student housing co-op in the nation to own their own building.

Elsworth expanded to the house next door in 1947, but sold both houses to the City of East Lansing in 1949, which were demolished to build a parking lot. A new house was built at 711 West Grand River, and Elsworth reopened in 1951. Elsworth members played an important role in campus social life, winning intramural trophies and competing in Junior 500 contests. When vacancies and other problems threatened the house, SHC leased it to the Asher Christian Science Co-op, and later to a fraternity. The fraternity was evicted in 1992, and Elsworth has renewed its status as a well-respected co-op.

During the summer of 1996, Elsworth was closed down for some extensive renovations. Elsworthians now enjoy a new kitchen with many more cupboards and newly painted common areas. It has now reopened as one of the houses fastest to fill.



  • February James Lyons, Ralph Newton and Delmar Ruthig first discussed the idea of a group of students living together while at college.
  • April These three students, with Wesley Bates, Don Doty, Bert Henke, Gerald Smith and John Wreford decided to start the second men's cooperative at MSU.
  • May 23 students agreed to raise at least $1,321 by July 1 to make the first payments on a house and used furniture.
  • June 3 Motts accepted their invitation to become faculty advisor of the new cooperative
  • June 24 Purchase contracts signed for house and furniture at 218 Albert Street.
  • September 32 charter members bagan operating as a House
  • October Chose the name Elsworth Cooperative House
  • November Constitutions of dual organizations were adopted.
  • November 17 Dedication dinner.
  • December 13 Chartered for 30 years under Michigan P.A. 327 of 1931.


  • November 18 Agreement signed to sell 25 foot by 30 foot parcel at rear of lot for $1000.



  • September Dr. Henry Larzelere succeeds Dr. Motts, who entered military service in July.


  • April Completion of first House Manual.
  • May MSU solves house repair crisis.
  • June House taken over by MSU until January, 1945. [everyone is at War]


  • House used by Army units training at MSU.


  • January House reactivated by 25 students with help by Dr. Orion Ulrey as faculty advisor.
  • November Dr. Motts returns as faculty advisor


  • May Elsworth House reactivates Hedrick House and organizes Ulrey House.


  • February 18 Decision to buy the house next door as an annex, permitting growth to 46 members.
  • May Organized Motts House


  • April Adoption of first systematic membership program.
  • November Dr. Greer selected as one of the two faculty advisors.


  • April 18 Houses sold to the City of East Lansing for $32,500.
  • May 31 Decision made by President Hannah that men's cooperative houses at MSU would not have to have housemothers, ending a 9 month issue that threatened the closing of the houses.
  • October Mr. Charles Green began working on architectural plans for the new house.


  • February 14 East Lansing Savings and Loan Association loaned $35,000 toward the new house.
  • May Construction began on the new house.


  • March 5 Open house to formally dedicate the new house.


  • February Adoption of the primary in the election procedure for House officers.


  • April 18 Signed land contract for purchase of the three corner lots.


  • Decided that it would be house policy that a member would not become affiliated with a social fraternity while a member of the House.


  • March Comprehensive review and revision, where needed, of constitution and bylaws, House rules, and orientation book.


  • June An exceptionally fine academic situation: 10 Elsworth members elected to Phi Kappa Phi and six graduates will begin graduate work, all on scholarships or fellowships.


  • January $2,200 transferred from the student corporation reserves to the House corporation and applied to reduction of the mortgage loan; the largest supplemental payment on the mortgage balance in Elsworth history.


  • April Final copy of "The Story of Elsworth House" was delivered to the Hartley Printing Company. One Thousand copies were ordered as the first of several projects to mark the 25th anniversary of Elsworth House.


From the history report of James Canup, history intern.



Contact Callie Rodriguez (rodri487@msu.edu)