The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Anatomical Laboratory

One of the first anatomical laboratory buildings in this country was the laboratory authorized by the Board of Regents in 1887 and completed in 1889 (see Part V: the Department of Anatomy). It stood south of the first Medical Building, on the east side of the campus.

The erection of this laboratory was the result of a long-standing demand for better facilities for the study of anatomy, which had been emphasized since the days of Dr. Moses Gunn, who became Professor of Anatomy in 1849 and set up what must be regarded as the first laboratory in the University. In fact, for a time the first Medical Building was known as the Laboratory Building.

The legislature, however, made no provision for the Anatomical Laboratory Building, and it was erected through an appropriation from the general fund. At the October, 1887, meeting of the Regents President Angell announced:

It having been found advisable to furnish in the medical building ampler accommodations for the physiological and microscopical laboratories, we were forced to erect a new building for our anatomical work, and to make large changes in the medical building. This has entailed an expense for which no provision has been made by special appropriation. But the necessity was so pressing that the wisdom of the step cannot be questioned. We gain the great incidental advantage of securing improved sanitary conditions for the medical building by the removal from it of all the work of dissection. Never before was it so well fitted for its purpose as it is now.


(R.P., 1886-91, p. 157.)

It was not until 1889 that a legislative appropriation of $7,958.63 defrayed the cost of its construction. The architect was Gordon W. Lloyd, of Detroit, and Page  1574the contractor for it was William Biggs.

In April, 1889, Regent Whitman, chairman of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds, reported:

Your Committee on Buildings and Grounds beg leave to submit the following report of M. E. Cooley, Superintendent of the Construction of the Anatomical Laboratory, and the New Boiler House. The work has been done in a workmanlike manner, and to the satisfaction of your Committee…


(R.P., 1886-91, pp. 298-99.)

The Annual Announcement of the Department of Medicine and Surgery for the year 1889-90 also reported, "The Anatomical Laboratory recently erected for the accommodation of the classes in practical anatomy, is admirably adapted for this purpose; the rooms are large, well lighted, and well ventilated."

The actual cost of the building was given as $6,535.95. This figure doubtless did not include the furnishings provided for in the legislative appropriation. The building was an unpretentious structure of brick with stone trim, containing the laboratory room on the second floor and a small dissecting room and the washrooms on the first floor. It was approximately 35 by 50 feet. It was torn down when the work in anatomy was removed to the West Medical Building, which was completed in 1903.