The Polytechnic building on campus was the home of the Military Science program at Wabash in the 1870s. Look closely at the front of the building and note the cannons.

Colonel H. B. Carrington Government position

Professor of Military Science

Engineering & military training 1860s – 1870s

Designed by Henry B. Carrington as a home to the engineering and military program. This building provided a place to drill, get some exercise, and study engineering.  Carrington also raised a good portion of the funds to have it built. The students were taught to march in file, load and fire a cannon and key aspects of military engineering, with a particular focus on bridge building.

The program came to an end when a handful of students led by future Vice President Thomas Riley Marshall [W1873] pulled all of the cannons onto the railroad tracks in protest.

From Marshall’s memoir we learn that the train stopped, the passengers got out and the students were urged to clear the tracks. When they would not, the passengers and crew of the train did it. “The next morning we were drawn up before the faculty and I was selected to make the defense. It was brief but to the point. It consisted of the statement that my father had sent me to the Wabash College to take, if possible, the asinine traits out of my character, not to make me more mulish than I was by nature. “ The faculty must have seen reason in his remarks as the students were not expelled and Marshall graduated shortly after.

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College