Originally known as Barracks No. 1, Lane Hall was completed in 1888 and revolutionized campus amenities with bathrooms containing hot and cold running water. The hazing of rats (first-year cadets) seems to have blossomed in Barracks No. 1 since the building layout created an environment for upperclassmen to develop “extracurricular controls” over the rats. The barracks housed 130 students until it was converted to academic office use in 1967, ending 78 years of use as barracks. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.
Lane Hall, originally known as Barracks No. 1, contains offices for disciplines in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. It is the centerpiece building of the Upper Quad.
For the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, it's still considered home. Today's cadets continue a 120-year-old tradition by standing retreat in front of the hall each evening. One of the oldest buildings on campus, Lane still bears hundreds of signatures scratched into its bricks and mortar by cadets. Some of those etchings date back more than 100 years.
A multimillion project to return the hall to the corps is in the works. Along with modernizing the building's electrical, mechanical, and information technology systems, the renovations will include additions at the rear of Lane Hall to provide classrooms and a more suitable space for the Corps of Cadets Museum.
James H. Lane
In the 1950s, Barracks No. 1 was renamed for Gen. James H. Lane, first commandant of cadets and professor of military tactics from 1872 to 1881. The Civil War veteran was a stern disciplinarian who expected students to toe the mark, both in the classroom and in the ranks. His fistfight with the college president led to an erosion of public confidence in the school and one of the blackest periods in the life of the college.
Map Grid: M-3
Building Number: 001
Originally Built: 1888