Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, is the largest single dormitory in the world. Bancroft Hall, named after former U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and famous historian/author George Bancroft, is home for the entire brigade of 4,000 midshipmen, and contains some 1,700 rooms, 4.8 miles (7.7 km) of corridors, and 33 acres (13 ha) of floor space. All the basic facilities that midshipmen need for daily living are found in the hall. It is referred to as "Mother B" or "The Hall" by Midshipmen.
Bancroft Hall was designed in the Beaux-Arts or French Second Empire style of architecture with its mansard roof and dormer windows by architect Ernest Flagg and its central rotunda and first two wings were built in 1901–06. Over the intervening years it has been expanded to encompass eight wings of five stories ("decks") each numbered 0-4. The original two wings are now the 3rd and 4th wings; the next pair, added in the 1920s, are now the 5th and 6th wings; a pair added in the late 1930s became the 1st and 2nd wings; and a final pair were added in the 1960s as the 7th and 8th wings.
In addition to the midshipmen rooms, Bancroft Hall houses offices for the Commandant of Midshipmen, six battalion officers, six battalion chaplains, thirty company officers and their senior enlisted leaders, a barbershop, bank, travel office, a small restaurant known as "Steerage," textbook store, general store ("The Midshipmen Store"), laundromat, uniform store, cobbler shop, the USNA Band, the USNA branch of the United States Postal Service, a gymnasium, spaces for extracurricular activities, and full medical & dental clinics as well as small optometry and orthopedics clinics. The Hall has its own ZIP code (21412). Bancroft is considered the largest single dormitory in one building in the U.S.A. and the World.
A nine-year renovation project, recently completed by Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and RTKL Associates Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland, in 2003, included 1,600 miles (2,600 km) of wiring to equip the building with a modern data communication network.
The building also contains King Hall (named after Fleet Admiral Ernest King), (1878-1956), Chief of Naval Operations and Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet in the Second World War where all midshipmen are fed simultaneously three times daily, and Memorial Hall (see below). Memorial Hall and the Rotunda of Bancroft Hall are open to the general public, but access to the rest of the building is normally limited to assigned Naval personnel or accompanied authorized visitors.
The Rotunda and Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall opens off the Rotunda. This hall contains the honor roll of all Academy graduates who have died in military operations. It includes scrolls and plaques that commemorate Academy alumni and naval personnel lost in battle. There are 489 panes of glass in the skylight.
Below Memorial Hall is Smoke Hall whose walls honor those who lost their lives while still Midshipmen.
The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is awarded to each season's winner of the triangular college football series among the United States Naval Academy (Navy Midshipmen), the United States Military Academy (Army Black Knights), and the United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Falcons). When Navy has possession of the trophy, it is displayed in a glass case in the Rotunda.
- "Academy marks completion of Bancroft Hall renovation". The Baltimore Sun. May 16, 2003. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- Annapolis Maryland Area Information
- "Annapolis Attractions: U.S. Naval Academy". The New York Times Travel Guides: Annapolis. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- "Reef Points", Naval Institute Press
- "Military Heritage", February 2005, Volume 6, No. 4, p.72