If you’ve been to campus lately, you might notice some changes in the Upper Quad. If you haven’t visited us recently, you might be surprised next time you do. And if you’ve never been to Virginia Tech, the Upper Quad is the square shape of buildings here:


The library is just across the way, so we get to see all the action unfold as buildings are razed and rebuilt. Two dorms (Brodie and Rasche Halls) are coming down to make room for bigger dorms to support the growing Corps of Cadets. You can read more about the changes on the university’s website.

This week, I decided to dig into the Historical Photograph Collection and share some photographs of the Upper Quad back in the day. Several of the photographs have captions on the back, which are quoted below. In other cases, I’ve done my best to guess the time and location of the photographs.

Undated, apparently taken from the smokestack. Barracks No. 6 is at the center, with No. 5 just behind it. To the right of the No. 5 is the old YMCA building.
Undated (probably around 1930), apparently taken from the smokestack. Barracks No. 6 is at the center, with No. 5 just behind it. To the right of the No. 5 is the old YMCA building.
"Looking south from the tall smokestack of the new powerplant. Barracks No. 1 at left center. Clockwise around Barracks No. 1, starting at the top left: First Academic Building, Second Academic Building, Barracks No. 3 [part of the former Brodie Hall], Barracks No. 5, Barracks No. 6." You can also see part of the old library at the top center.
“Looking south from the tall smokestack of the new powerplant. Barracks No. 1 at left center. Clockwise around Barracks No. 1, starting at the top left: First Academic Building, Second Academic Building, Barracks No. 3 [part of the former Brodie Hall], Barracks No. 5, Barracks No. 6.” From Fall 1929. You can also see part of the old library at the top center.
Barracks No. 1 (now Lane Hall), Spring 1931, "Rat Numeral Painted on Tower." Apparently, a freshman cadet was being called out!
Barracks No. 1 (now Lane Hall), Spring 1931, “Rat Numeral Painted on Tower.” Apparently, a freshman cadet was being called out!
"Quadrangle Tennis Courts (looking from Barracks No. 4)," Spring 1934
Tennis? On the Quad? “Quadrangle Tennis Courts (looking from Barracks No. 4),” Spring 1934
Bonfire being built in the Upper Quad, 1940
“Building a bonfire on the Quadrangle, 1940”
Upper Quad, before 1950. Barracks No. 1 (now Lane Hall) on the left. Rasche Hall (old Barracks No. 2 plus additions) at the center.
Upper Quad, before 1950. Barracks No. 1 (now Lane Hall) on the left. Rasche Hall (old Barracks No. 2 plus additions) at the center.

Lane Hall will remaining standing amid all the changes. It’s currently on its way to being listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites. Soon, it will have new neighbors, but the spirit of the old Quad will stick with us here on campus. And here in Special Collections, we’ll always have the photographs!

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One thought on “The Upper Quad of Days Past

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