The buildings first occupied by the academy have long since gone to decay. The mess-hall, the chapel and the south barracks were erected in 1813. The three brick edifices nearest the mess-hall were built in 1815-16, and the other three nearest the flagstaff, on the same line, in 1820-21. The north barracks were built in 1817. Of the three stone buildings west of the flagstaff, the farthest was erected in 1821, the others in 1825-1826. The hospital and hotel were built in 1828-29 and the ordnance-house in 18:30.
When the academy was established in 1802, the atmosphere was largely chaotic and undisciplined. The Federal government refused to acknowledge West Point during its difficult formative years, and allocated very little money or resources for cadet housing. As a result, Cadets were required to board in private homes and sleep in the Long Barrack, which had served as sleeping quarters during the Revolutionary War .
The Regulations of 1815, which required that Cadets eat in a common mess hall, may have provided an impetus for the construction of more accomodating barracks. In 1815 and 1817, the North and South Barracks were built. Consisting of 40-50 rooms each, these barracks adequately served the needs of the cadets until 1848, when the New Barracks were completed. The 200 new rooms (with heat, plumbing and electricity) sufficiently housed the cadet population, and the north and south barracks were demolished.