Old Medical Building

In January, 1847, the Regents resolved to erect a building specifically for the use of the Medical Department. The building was begun in 1848 and completed and occupied in 1850. Professor Silas H. Douglas, a member of the first medical faculty and Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds supervised the construction. No record of an architect for the building exists, though its design is credited to Douglass working in conjunction with Jonathan Kearsley, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents.

The building as constructed measured 92 by 42 feet, contained three stories, and prominently featured an eastern portico with four tall Greek columns of brick and stucco, with capitals cast in Detroit. It contained both laboratory and lecture space and served as the center of medical instruction at the University of Michigan for fifty years.

The opening of the University's Medical Department coincided with the occupation of the building. By 1864, the rapid increase in the department's enrollment necessitated an addition. An appeal was made by the Regents to the citizens of Ann Arbor, who raised half of the cost of the addition by a general tax levy. The addition, on the western side of the original building, was a four story structure, 60 feet square, and contained office, laboratory and classroom space, as well as an enlarged dissecting room on the top floor.

With the construction of the West (New) Medical Building (now the Dana Building) in 1903, the original Medical Building was superceded. The west wing of the building was so dangerous that the University ceased to use it for classroom purposes. A fire of unknown origins, on August 12, 1911, destroyed the west half of the building. Medical Alumni raised funds to save and restore the orignal, eastern half of the building, but by the time the decision to raze it was made in 1914, land on the University campus was valuable enough to insure its demise. The Randall Physics Laboratory currently stands on the site of the Old Medical Building.

Source: The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey; Walter A. Donnelly, Wilfred B. Shaw, and Ruth W. Gjelsness, editors; Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1958