Cloister Inn, Princeton's 16th eating club, was founded in 1912. It initially occupied Cottage Club's second building. Cloister remained in this structure through the first World War, selling it to the now defunct Court Club in 1920. The funds from this sale were used to purchase the current Cloister lot, 65 Prospect Avenue.
Cloister had begun contemplating a new home as early as 1920 and rejected two designs before settling on a third design, which became the current clubhouse, by Robert Henry Scannell (Class of 1915); the building was completed in 1924.
In 1972, Cloister closed temporarily and became an alternate dining facility for underclass students as well as an alumni center. This was short-lived, however, because in 1977 a student initiative reopened the building as an eating club, and it has been in operation ever since. An expansion in the 1980s added the billiard room and outdoor deck as well as increased the space in the dining hall.
In the mid-1990s Cloister Inn was the site of one of the Street's greatest revival stories, with a "takeover" by a coalition of students looking for a new home on Prospect Avenue that would give them the lively social life they were looking for without a restrictive barrier to entry that would divide them from their roommates, teammates, and friends. In the two decades since the legendary Class of 1996, Cloister has maintained this core identity: The most fun you'll have on campus, whether highbrow or lowbrow or something in between, with a close-knit group of fellow members who will be your loyal friends for life.
Cloister Inn featured prominently in Ian Caldwell (Cloister '98) and Dustin Thomason's bestselling suspense novel "The Rule Of Four," in which several fictional characters were members. (Spoiler alert: Though one of Princeton's eating clubs burns down in "The Rule of Four," it isn't Cloister.)