Clio Logo

Lane Hall, historically known as Barracks No. 1, is one of the oldest buildings on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Located in the Upper Quad, it contains offices for disciplines in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and is the home of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. Completed in 1888, the structure housed cadets until its conversion to academic offices in 1967, ending 78 years of use as barracks. In 2015, Barracks No. 1 was added to the National Register of Historic Places; it is also a designated Virginia Historical Landmark.


  • Lane Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015; image by G. Moore at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1987644

Completed in 1888, Lane Hall (originally Barracks No. 1) is one of the oldest structures on the Virginia Tech Campus. For 78 years, the building served as housing for the Corps of Cadets (founded 1872). Barracks No. 1 revolutionized campus amenities with bathrooms that contained hot and cold running water, although the layout was conducive to rat habitation; it is thought that the traditional hazing of rats, in which first-year cadets participate, was created owing to the need for pest control in the building. Lane Hall was named for Civil War Veteran General James H. Lane in the 1950s. Gen. Lane was the first commandant of cadets and a professor of military tactics from 1872 to 1881. He is also remembered for his involvement in a fistfight with the college president.

Lane Hall is the centerpiece building of the Upper Quad. The brick-and-mortar structure is decorated with hundreds of signatures left by cadets, some dating back more than a century. Architecturally, it is a three-story, 33,049-square-foot building constructed in the Late Victorian Second Empire Style. The hall is distinguished by its metal shingle faux mansard roof. Barracks No. 1 was one of 5 campus barracks located on the campus, though the others have since been converted or demolished.

In addition to the building itself, there are several other sites of interest around the Upper Quad. At the southeast entry point of the quad is The Rock, an area which contains a large flagpole, two cannons from the Civil War, and a stone memorial commemorating individuals who perished in battle. The flat lawn located in the mini-quadrangle beyond The Rock is used as parade grounds for the cadets to muster, and the concrete walks are arranged to resemble the letters "VT."

In 1967, the Lane Hall was converted into administrative space, a purpose it continues to serve today. It contains classrooms and offices for departments within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Despite the change in function, however, it continues to be an iconic symbol of the Virginia Tech Corps. Virginia Tech is one of two universities that still maintain a Corps of Cadets full-time as part of a large university.  Today's cadets continue the 120-year-old tradition of standing retreat in front of the hall each evening. Lane Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015 during a major overhaul of the Upper Quad; it one of the several buildings on campus bearing that distinction.

"Lane Hall." Virginia Tech. Accessed January 28, 2017. http://www.vt.edu/about/buildings/lane-hall.html.

"Lane Hall added to Virginia Landmarks Register." Virginia Tech. Published October 17, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2017. https://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/10/101714-vpa-lanehall.html.

"National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form: Barracks No. 1." Virginia Department of Historic Resources. September 24, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2017. http://www.dhr.Virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Montgomery/150-0100-0002_Barracks1_LaneHall_2014_NRHP_FINAL.pdf.