Ewell Hall, formerly Phi Beta Kappa Hall, was built 1924-1926 and is located on the Old Campus, facing the Sunken Garden across from Tucker Hall. The current Phi Beta Kappa Hall, or PBK Hall for short, was built after fire damaged the first PBK Hall in 1953. Today, Ewell Hall houses the Music Department, the Music Library, and the main office for the Arts and Sciences.
The plans to construct the first Phi Beta Kappa Hall were proposed by President Julian A. C. Chandler in 1919, approved by the Board of Visitors in 1923, and executed beginning in December 1924. The plans for the building included a large assembly hall, guest rooms for members of PBK, and a reproduction of the Apollo Room at the Raleigh Tavern. Money for the construction was raised from PBK members throughout the United States. The cornerstone for the building was laid on June 3, 1925, and the building was dedicated on November 27, 1926.
Throughout the years the building has housed—among other things—a movie theater, a radio station, converted women’s dormitory rooms, and the National Office of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. gave $250,000 to William & Mary in 1954 for the reconstruction of PBK Hall after a fire on December 29, 1953. The music department moved into the north wing in 1955 from its former location in the Williamsburg Methodist Church. The building was renamed Ewell Hall in 1957, when the new PBK Hall was completed. An addition for the music department was virtually completed by 1958, and the department is still housed there today.