Originally called Johnson Hall, Bancroft acquired its name in 1920 when the theatre building assumed the Johnson name. Constructed as a student residence hall in the Neo-Georgian style, the building was used in 1942 as a location to house young men in the Army Air Corps civilian pilot training program. At "Fort Bancroft" the cadets received pre-flight and flight school preparation as well as participated in activities on campus. In the 1950s Bancroft's original Doric wood columns were replaced by square brick ones. An annex was added to the south wing in 1961.