Visit Galesburg, Illinois
Alumni Hall - Knox College
Galesburg and Knox College are inseparable. A conversation about the history of this community cannot be had without talking about Knox College. They are joined for all eternity with a common origin and history. An important piece of that history is Alumni Hall, the gateway to Knox's campus.
For decades Alumni Hall sat empty and in disrepair. It loomed over the campus and Galesburg as a reminder of ages past. Today, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a renovated Alumni Hall that will stand as a monument to a community and a world class liberal arts college.
In 1890, U. S. President Benjamin Harrison laid the cornerstone of Alumni Hall cementing the building in the history of Knox College. "Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Alumni Hall dominates Knox's northern edge and with Old Main, Seymour Union and Seymour Library, completes the campus' central quadrangle," according to the publication Transforming Alumni Hall.
Originally, Alumni Hall was meant to unite Knox's two literary societies, Adelphi and Gnothautii.
Each group raised money for their wings. The Alumni Association raised the funds for the central section. Once completed, the center section housed an auditorium that seated nearly 1000 people. It later became the Knox Library and the wings served as anything from a "Y Hut" during World War II, classrooms, bookstore and much more.
By the 1990's the building fell silent and waited patiently for 30 years for a renaissance. A dream was transformed into reality when thanks to the 700 alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff, and Galesburg community donors, gifts and pledges reached $12.5 million. Members of the Knox College Board of Trustees account for more than 60% of the total gifts raised.
"130 year old buildings don't get renovated; especially those that sat empty for 30 years." Those are the words of Kirk Anderson, construction manager for P. J. Hoerr of Peoria, Illinois.
Alumni Hall was renovated utilizing a standard that should put the project on target to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver rating from the U. S. Green Building Council. "Environmental sustainability and the health of building occupants were strong considerations during the Alumni Hall planning process. During interior demolition and construction, close to 95% of all material waste was recycled and reclaimed. The building's exterior shell, in all its historic beauty, was preserved instead of demolished. Materials used in construction include FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified lumber, recycled steel, and many regionally-sourced materials. Floorings are low-VOC (volatile organic compound) and high recycled content."
Alumni Hall is open to the public. The Whitcomb Heritage Center will be a place for visitors to see and learn about the History of our great community and college.