202. Stilwell Hall

202. Stilwell Hall: A Fond Memory (1 minute and 17 seconds)

Location: Stilwell Hall site by interpretive panel

In the area before you, there once stood an enormous building with a red tile roof. Known as Stilwell Hall, this building was a landmark that could be seen from Santa Cruz, all the way on the other side of Monterey Bay. Stilwell Hall served troops who served in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars; it was built for enlisted men, unlike the more common Officer’s clubs.

To celebrate the opening of Stilwell Hall, reportedly 1,000 young women were invited to attend the first dance. Over 250 kegs of beer were on hand at a cost of five cents a glass. In the years that followed, many famous entertainers performed at Stilwell Hall, including Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Jack Benny.

The building was closed in 1994 when the 7th Light Infantry Division was disbanded and Fort Ord was closed. In 1998, large El Nino storms eroded the coastal bluffs supporting the building, rendering it unsafe. Even though the building was demolished in 2003, the memories of happy times spent at Stilwell Hall remain.

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