Read our interactive issue to see videos, links and more.
The current Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house was once a piecemeal residence for employees of NCR Corp., but for Mike Ponticelli ’06, life at 225 Kiefaber St. was full of interesting stories — including one about an iguana and its tail.
While Ponticelli didn’t become a resident of the once-pink-colored house until his junior year, his stories of “the shrimp” began as a sophomore.
“We went down to the basement at the start of the first semester to prepare it for the year,” says Ponticelli, a theater major. “We found this old coal shoot; next to it we found a really, really old pile of coal.”
Beneath that dark, dusty pile, he says, were several bottles. One was a vintage Coca-Cola bottle, but most of the others seemed to be from a traveling salesman.
“One was a snake oil canister … it was something you’d probably see at a 19th-century trade show,” he says.
The four-bedroom, two-bathroom house was one of the nicest on the block, he says.
“There was just so much space,” he recalls. “The house itself was really clean.”
The five male housemates kept things in order and didn’t have many problems.
“One exception was when one of my housemates got a pet iguana,” he recalls. “He told us, ‘Don’t touch it … if it gets scared, its tail will fall off.’ One day, my housemate saw that his could-be best-in-show iguana’s tail was off.”
The housemate blamed him for a week, Ponticelli says.
“I never touched the reptile,” he adds. “Eventually he found out that another housemate’s stereo was what caused the tail to fall off.”
As much as the housemate wanted an award-winning pet iguana, the incident shattered those dreams.
“We all laugh about it now,” says Ponticelli, now a freight broker in Boston. “It’s just one of those things that I loved about that house.
“Whether you were saying hello or staying for a few hours, people were always welcome at the Phi Sigma Kappa house.”
And take a tour of this old house with today’s residents.