Building West Point

Washington Hall, 1966

Washington Hall, 1966

West Point’s landscape has never been static. Shaped first and continuously by nature, the land was modified by Native Americans, early settlers, Revolutionary War troops, and the United States Army. Every class in the Long Gray Line experiences its own West Point. Hardly a decade has passed since the War of 1812 without a major construction project. Necessity feeds architectural design. Design is mixed with symbolic meaning. Completed buildings become functional novelties, then everyday parts of the cultural landscape, and finally nostalgia or historical footnotes.

Administration Building, ~1870

This High Victorian Gothic headquarters was located where the south end of Bartlett Hall is today. Harney was active in Newburgh, Cold Spring, and later New York City. This building housed the Superintendent’s office and other key administrative functions. It was heated by steam. It was demolished to build the East Academic Building, now called Bartlett Hall.

Administration Building, ~1870

Administration Building, ca.1870

Administration Building, ~1871

The completed building as photographed by a member of the faculty, Second Lieutenant John Pitman.

Administration Building, ~1871

Administration Building, ca.1971

Gymnasium, ~1890

The architect of the Gymnasium, Richard Morris Hunt, is famous for works such as the North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate, Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, and the Grand Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is one of the key figures in the history of American architecture. This building was the Academy’s first dedicated gymnasium building. It had one multipurpose area and a pool. It was located where Washington Hall is today and lasted until the land under it was needed to build the Cadet Mess.

Gymnasium, ~1890

Gymnasium, ca.1890

Completed Gymnasium, date unknown

Completed Gymnasium, date unknown

West Academic Building, ~1891

The 1838 Academy was torn down in 1891 and a new structure was built on essentially the same footprint. This is work on the foundation of what is now named Pershing Barracks. It was completed, behind schedule and over budget, in 1895. The stone used was quarried in Western Massachusetts.

West Academic Building, ~1891

West Academic Building, ca.1891

Administration Building, 1908   

Now Taylor Hall, the Administration Building was constructed as part of a major building effort kicked off in 1903 with a national contest to choose an architectural firm and style. The Boston firm of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson submitted Gothic designs that the Academy accepted and from this point forward, Collegiate Gothic became the campus norm. Immigrant stonemasons, including many from Italy, worked for years to complete the massive structures.

Administration Building, 1908

Administration Building, 1908

Riding Hall, ~1909

Thayer Hall was the riding hall until the 1940s. As seen here, the walls on the Hudson River side were built while existing horse stables were still being used. The 1850s riding hall was just a few yards south of this location.

Riding Hall, ~1909

Riding Hall, ca.1909

Workers on Top of the Riding Hall, ~1911

Workers on top of the Riding Hall, ca.1911

Rebuilding the Old Cadet Chapel, 1910

Although the cornerstone says 1837, the Old Cadet Chapel, the Academy’s first building solely dedicated to the purpose, was completed in 1836 on a site now occupied by Bartlett Hall. In 1910, it was moved stone-by-stone to the Cemetery when the space was needed to build the East Academic Building upon the completion of the 1910 Cadet Chapel on the hill above the Central Area.

“For historical and sentimental reasons, the chapel had to be rebuilt exactly as it was, and no errors were tolerated.” — Brig. General J.M. Carson, 12 December 1941, Quartermaster during the move

Rebuilding the Old Cadet Chapel, 1910

Old Cadet Chapel, 1910

East Academic Building, ˜1911

Workers lay the foundation walls of a new academic building now known as Bartlett Hall. Across the street was the West Academic Building, now Pershing Barracks. Because grades were reported in tenths, the road between the two structures was sometimes called 10th Avenue. Original plans included a skybridge across the street.

East Academic Building, ˜1911

East Academic Building, ca.1911

Thayer Hall, 1957

Converting the Riding Hall to the academic Thayer Hall led to the conversion of the original curved roof (first image) to a flat surface designed to hold a new parking lot (second image).

Thayer Hall, 1957

Thayer Hall, 1957

Thayer Hall, 1957

Thayer Hall, 1957

Washington Hall, 1966

The poop deck of the current Cadet Mess in Washington Hall is the original 1929 front of the building. A major expansion began in 1965 with a new façade, extra dining space, and new barracks.

Washington Hall, 1966

Washington Hall, 1966

Eisenhower Barracks, 1966

Until a name was chosen, this building was called “C Barracks” in planning documents and what became MacArthur Barracks was “D Barracks.”

Eisenhower Barracks, 1966

Eisenhower Barracks, 1966

Michie Stadium, 1969

Michie Stadium was built in 1924. In 1962, stands were added on the Lusk Reservoir side. This photo shows the addition of upper stands in 1969. The original 1924 architects, Osborn Engineering (Ohio) designed the 1923 Yankee Stadium and 1934 renovations to Fenway Park, among other famous athletic facilities.

Michie Stadium, 1969

Michie Stadium, 1969

Mahan Hall, 1971

Expensive and two years behind schedule, Mahan Hall was a necessary academic-focused project given the 2,000 cadet increase in the Corps during the 1960s. The site selection on a rocky, steep slope challenged the construction team.

Mahan Hall, 1971

Mahan Hall, 1971

Jefferson Hall, USMA Library, 2006

Completed in 2008, Jefferson Hall is the 3rd building built at West Point to be a library. The first was in 1841 and the second, now part of Bartlett Hall, was completed in 1964. Before the 1840s, the library was in a converted house and then in the 1815 Academy, which burned in 1838. Many of the books were rescued from that conflagration by cadets who scaled ladders to reach the second floor. 

Jefferson Hall,  ˜2005

Jefferson Hall, 2006

Davis Barracks, 2015

The first completely new barracks at West Point in about a half-century, considerable work needed to be done on the site to make room for footprint. Over 160,000 pieces of granite were used. It is named for Air Force General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., USMA Class of 1932, the first African American graduate of the Academy in the 20th century and the fourth in its history.

Davis Barracks, 2015

Davis Barracks, 2015

Enter --> Building West Point