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Historical and Architectural Significance

A view of the south side of Alumni Hall


The Facts

  • Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as part of the Galesburg Historic District.
  • Cornerstone laid by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison on October 8, 1890.
  • Designed by Elijah E. Myers, noted architect of the Texas, Colorado, and Michigan state capitols, as well as the courthouses for Knox, McDonough, and Stephenson counties in Illinois.
  • Outstanding example of the Richardsonian Romanesque Revival style.
  • Forms part of the city’s architectural core, facing City Hall and the Knox County Courthouse across from Standish Park.
  • Symbolic “front door” to Knox College for the Galesburg community.


The History

The central portion of Alumni Hall was built as a lecture hall for debating activities popular in the late 19th century. The east and west wings housed two literary and debating societies, Gnothautii and Adelphi, which initiated some of the College’s earliest student publications. Although only partially used since 1978, Alumni Hall housed during its 115-year history various campus functions and facilities, including the College library, the Knox Theater, art studios, an ROTC rifle range, the computer center, the Knox Bookstore, the Gizmo coffee house, a chapel, the registrar, faculty and staff offices, and classrooms.

Elijah E. Myers (1832-1909), the architect of Alumni Hall
Th
e Architect
Elijah E. Myers (1832-1909), the architect of Alumni Hall, first came to prominence when he won the 1867 competition for the design of a new Macoupin County courthouse in Carlinville, Illinois. Meyers subsequently designed the state capitol buildings for Michigan, Colorado, and Texas.