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Wilson-Short Hall History

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Completed in 1917, Wilson-Short Hall was built as a twin to Carpenter Hall (located the west side of campus) in order to save money in design costs. Unlike its twin, Wilson-Short had its grand entry to the second floor completed. A flight of steps leads up to an impressive doorway with a broken pediment. This is probably the only feature on campus which could be described as Baroque.

This building was among “Rudolph Weaver’s seven.” In the original design, Weaver proposed a glass-walled stock judging pavilion projecting from the rear of the building, but partly enclosed in the recess formed by the U-shaped plan. This was not completed. The third floor was added in 1920. When construction began, a June 10, 1914, ceremony dedicated it after James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture from 1897 to 1913. It served as an agriculture and horticulture building. On September 18, 2009, it was rededicated as Wilson-Short Hall after James F. Short Jr., a member of WSU’s Sociology department.

The first use of the unfinished structure in 1917 was to teach vocational skills to soldiers and for a while it served as military barracks. After the war, it became headquarters for nine agriculture departments and served the entire Pacific Northwest as an agricultural information and resource center.

Today, Wilson-Short houses the University’s History Department as well as the Sociology Department.

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