The Abandoned Bennett College.

Bennett College was a women’s college founded in 1890 and located in the village of Millbrook, New York. The school closed in 1977.


Bennett College was founded in 1890 at Irvington, New York by May F. Bennett as the Bennett School for Girls, a four-year high school with two extra years of study. In 1907 the college moved to its final home on 22 acres (89,000 m2) in Millbrook, Dutchess County, New York. In 1907 the school had an enrollment of 120 students and a faculty of 29.

In the early 20th century the school discontinued its high school grades and became a junior college only, changing its name to Bennett College. The two-year curriculum continued through the 1970s. Generations of young women from prominent American families attended Bennett over its 90-year history.

Majors of study included art, fashion design, interior design, music, modern languages, literature, history, dance, drama, child development, equine studies, and domestic science. Activities at Bennett included gymnastics, golf, tennis, horseback riding and skiing. The school was home to a full-time teaching Nursery School for 3 and 4 year olds as well as a riding stable.

At the time of its closing, enrollment was around 300 students.


With the growing popularity of coeducation in the 1970s, Bennett found itself struggling to survive. An attempt to upgrade facilities and convert to a coed college in the mid-1970s left the already troubled college in financial distress. In 1977 the trustees attempted to reach a collaboration agreement with Briarcliff College, a junior women’s college in nearby Briarcliff Manor which was also struggling with low enrollment. The plan did not work, however, and Briarcliff instead merged with New York Institute of Technology in 1977 after both Briarcliff and Bennett entered bankruptcy.On August 9, 1977, the college closed its doors for good. Its contents were auctioned in December 1977.

The library and records of Bennett College were transferred to The Hayes Memorial Library in Millbrook (now the Millbrook Library) along with other school artifacts.

Bennett College closed a few weeks after its freshman orientation in the fall. The students having already arrived at Bennett for their fall semester were given the opportunity to attend Marist College, a nearby co-educational college in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Halcyon Hall was scheduled to be demolished in 2012. The property was purchased in 2014, with plans to tear down the remains of Halcyon Hall, and develop a park. In September 2021, the demolition necessary to create the planned 32-acre park began. Each building on the Bennett Campus, except for the centerpiece Halcyon Hall and the old Hale House, had asbestos removed before being demolished. Halcyon Hall was the last building standing of Bennett College before it was demolished in 2022. 

Adjacent to the former Halcyon Hall are the Bennett Commons apartments. These apartments were originally student quarters but upon closure of the school they were bought by a developer.

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