WVU School of Medicine to Dedicate ‘Hick House’ Site

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As part of West Virginia University’s Weekend of Honors festivities, representatives from the WVU School of Medicine will dedicate the school’s first medical campus, locally known as “The Hick House,” at 11:30 a.m., Friday, April 15, at the slope between Woodburn Hall and the Business & Economics building – where the Hick House once stood.

During the early years of medical education, the dissecting room was a problem for most medical schools, including WVU. In 1892, in an effort to improve the school’s facilities for anatomical study, WVU professor James W. Hartigan, M.D., appeared before the Board of Regents and asked for a building for dissecting purposes. The 14-by-20 building was the first structure built by WVU solely for medical education.

The building was used for about ten years and drew much local attention because of the nature of its contents and the nature of medical students to play gruesome pranks. In 1896, the building was featured in WVU’s yearbook, Monticola, the interest centering about the common belief that Falling Run Hollow was haunted.

The building became known as “The Hick House” due to a misunderstanding of the Latin word “Hic” from the burial phrase “Hic Jacet” (here lies). The cadavers became known as “hicks” instead of the more widely used local term “stiffs.”

For more information about the dedication ceremony, contact the WVU Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center Alumni Affairs office at (304) 293-5110.

- WVU -

For more information:
HSC Alumni Affairs Office, (304) 293-5110


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