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The Old Jail

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Office of Admission

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999

309-341-7100

800-678-KNOX

admission@​knox.edu

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A handicap parking space on Cherry Street outside of George Davis Hall.

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 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.

Located in the lower level of the Old Jail, the Knox College Bike Shop was created in 2012 as an on-campus bike repair shop to maintain the Bike Share fleet and to provide guidance and resources on bike repair, maintenance, and safety for the Knox community. Open several days per week, the Bike Shop is staffed by student mechanics from the Office of Sustainability. In addition to open shop hours, the Bike Shop offers workshops on topics such as bike repair, safety, and specialty classes on bike building.

A group of students, talking at a table in the Gizmo.
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Printed on Sunday, November 19, 2017

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