From Riding Hall to Thayer Hall


A great change in cadet life occurred in 1839 when riding lessons were introduced at West Point. The Academic Board was opposed, but Secretary of War Joel Poinsett forced the decision by ordering that equitation be introduced into the program, and to forestall foot-dragging by the professors, sent a sergeant, five dragoons, and twelve horses to West Point. This was only the second time that the Academic Board had been overruled; the first was in the early 1920s when civil engineering was forced into the curriculum from above [Crackel, p. 124, 127].

The first riding hall was built in 1855.

On March 16, 1956 there was a ceremony marking the beginning of construction on converting the old riding hall into a modern academic building. The new riding hall, the largest masonry building of its type in the world, was constructed in 1909 (construction began in 1909 and was completed in 1911) at a cost of three million dollars by the firm of Cram, Goodhue, and Furguson. The unobstructed riding area was 656 by 65 feet; with space for tack rooms and picket lines, the overall dimensions were 660 by 94 feet. Horsemanship was discontinued in 1946 [7?].

The New York firm of Delano and Aldrich designed a steel and concrete building inside the original shell; the firm of Grove, Shepard, Wilson and Kruge, also of New York, will construct the ten million dollar building. The new building will provide 191 classrooms, offices for eight academic departments, 2 auditoriums, and additional study and laboratory space.  ["June Week 1956," Assembly, August 1956, p. 9].