Jail? Yes, that's right, Knox College may be the only college in the country with a restored lock-up on campus that has won an award for historic preservation.
Built in 1876, the building served as the Knox County Jail and Sheriff's Department for 100 years, until construction of a modern City-County Public Safety Building. The old Jail, located adjacent to the Knox campus, was acquired by the College and refurbished to hold classrooms and offices, including the Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies and the Integrated International Studies department.
Students and faculty have found creative academic uses for the lock-up -- a philosophy seminar on punishment spent a night in the cells; a class studying Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground" met in a basement cell. An interdisciplinary course, "Death and Dying," used the supposedly haunted cell-block as a focal point for a discussion of beliefs in ghosts.
The Jail also houses the Underground Railroad Freedom Center at Knox College, which exhibits displays on slavery and the abolitionist history of Knox College and Galesburg. Knox has been designated a "Freedom Station" by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which is devoted to research and education about the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements.