A Brief History
Melville Hall, named after Herman
Melville, the author of Moby Dick and a Long Island
resident, is also known as the Officers' Club or O Club.
Melville Hall is part of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy,
a Federal Service Academy located in Kings Point, New York.
Melville Hall was built around 1912 as
a summer residence for the silent movie actor Thomas
Meighan. In 1916, Meighan appeared as the star of Peck's
Bad Boys, a satire of President Wilson's administration.
Along with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Meighan
was well known in the industry. Hollywood at that time was
centered in New York so many theatrical stars such as Groucho
Marks, Fannie Bryce, Charlie Chaplin and literary authors
such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby,
lived in the surrounding areas. Mr. Meighan, upon the inception
of "talking" movies, in 1928 moved to the Broadway
"legitimate" stage. From this beginning Melville
Hall was destined to be a showplace for hospitality and
The first mayor of the village of Kings
Point, where Melville Hall is located, was Henry Barstow
whose home is now the American Merchant Marine Museum. In
January, 1942, the Academy site was purchased by the U.S.
Government; in the ensuing years Melville Hall was used
as the Administration building and Publication Center for
the Academy. Later the Chrysler Mansion, now Wiley Hall,
became the Administration building. This building was the
former residence of the industrialist Walter P. Chrysler.
The conversion of Melville Hall into an
Officers' Club did not begin until the 1950's when the renovation
of the existing bedrooms on the second deck occurred. Lodging
then became available for visitors to the Academy on a short-term
basis. There are presently six rooms, all with private bathroom
facilities at the club.
The Dining Room overlooking Long Island
Sound was completely funded by the USMMA Alumni Association
and the Kings Point Fund in 1976. It was not until the mid
1980's that a full kitchen and in-house catering service
for food and beverage was established. Further renovations
in the 1990's up scaled the Dining Room and front entrance
as well as the guest facilities.
Today Melville Hall hosts many catered
functions for the Academy, Alumni, Active Military and community
organizations. Eligibility for the use of Melville Hall
is limited. Guests are invited to join the faculty and staff
on Wednesdays for a delicious buffet lunch at 11:30 (see
Weekly Buffet Menu). A social
hour is planned each day, weekends excluded at 4:30 PM to
6:30 PM. The bar is located past the living room on the
main floor. Enjoy the Academy and Melville Hall