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A History and Haunting in The Frandsen Humanities Building

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Towering next to Manzanita Lake in the Southwest corner of campus lies a building filled with memories, classrooms, students, and almost one hundred years of history. Originally designed and constructed by Walter O. Lewis at the beginning of 1917 as the College of Architecture, the Frandsen Humanities building still stands tall. Hundreds of students walking, running, and skate boarding to classes pass this building on the daily. Art students sit on the lawn of the quad painting its brick facade with vines twirling around its marble columns. Even after renovation and years of decay the original carving of “AGRICVLTVRE” can still be seen around where it currently says “FRANDSEN” at the front of the building. From classrooms, to a slaughterhouse, to the background for a scene in the 1948 film “Apartment for Peggy” the Frandsen Humanities Building continues to bring out new information about itself as the years trudge on.

The first floor slightly slanted allowed the blood of slaughtered cattle to run into blood gutters. Students around campus gasp at the fact that where they sit and write their essays has been where hundreds of cows have lost their lives to agriculture students practicing to be butchers. Frandsen has a rich and slightly eerie history helping the University of Nevada, Reno receive an unusual title. KRNV Channel 4 in Reno, Nevada produced a segment on the top ten lists that Reno has been listed as one of the “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Southwest”. named the University of Nevada, Reno the most haunted college in the Southwest in 2015. Many have heard stories about the Frandsen Humanities building and its haunted rumors. Johnnie Saletti, a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno, uncomfortably laughed as she said, “I get an eerie feeling when I walk into my English class, it’s downstairs so as I walk down I always feel as something is watching me. I’m always uneasy in that building.” Stories have been included in newspaper articles for the Nevada Sagebrush, the University of Nevada, Reno’s newspaper, blogs by Michael Kleen, in news segments, and have been included in books such as Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Silver State written by Janice Oberding.

During a lazy, boring weekend I decided to conduct a survey about how people feel in the Frandsen Humanities Building. I went from door to door on the first floor of Peavine Hall and asked each person if they felt uneasy, at ease, creeped out, or totally fine while walking inside and past the Frandsen Humanities Building. Out of one-hundred-and-four students that I surveyed, five said they feel totally fine with the building. Thirty-seven students claimed they felt uneasy and twenty-three of those students don’t even have class in the building. Fifty-three students are creeped out by Frandsen whether they have class inside the building or when they walk by anytime of the day. The last three said they felt at ease and six had no comment.

Despite the rumors and eerie stories, only some have experienced the mysteries of its dark hallways and sketchy elevator. A University of Nevada, Reno custodian was interviewed for Oberding’s story, Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Silver State. He stated, “It’s eerie when you’re working alone and hear your name clearly called,” an anonymous custodian claims. He also mentions, “That has happened twice in Frandsen. The first time I thought it was someone outside. When it happened again I wondered if maybe those ghost hunters who came here last year were onto something.” Many have reported strange things occurring while in the Frandsen Humanities Building. While walking to my English class I ran into my roommate Briana Dulgar. When I told her I was going to class in the Frandsen Building she replies while shaking her head, “Have fun. That place is creepy. I know weird stuff happens in there.” Doors have been said to open and close by themselves, maintenance and janitorial equipment mysteriously disappears, windows fly open without notice, and voices are heard when no one else is around.

Over the years the building has had millions of people walk through its doors and many changes have occurred. In 1958 the building was turned into the Department of Philosophy and Language and stayed that way for 40 years until the university decided to start a two-year renovation that came out to $2.9 million. When told that the floors used to be slightly slanted and blood gutters rested where their backpacks now lie, students shake their heads in disbelief and try to make excuses as to why it can’t be true. Sydney Cotton, who has her Anthropology discussion on the second floor, just says, “You’re sh**ting me,” when she finds out all of the history behind Frandsen. Re-named for one of the University of Nevada, Reno’s first graduates and re-opened in May of 200 the Frandsen Humanities building is now home to the English department and most English classes. Some say the building has been less eerie after the renovation but others claim nothing has really changed. The creaks and moans still rattle the building as wind tries to push through and rain pounds the roof and History is a key part of the University of Nevada, Reno and the Frandsen Humanities Building brings a little extra. New facts and stories about the building are continuously emerging. Who knows what the Frandsen Humanities Building will bring next.

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A History and Haunting in the Frandsen Humanities Building. (2018, October 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
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