Lombard College

Visit Galesburg, Illinois

Lombard College

Lombard College was establishing in 1851, the same year the railroad arrived in Galesburg. The college was the second school to admit women on the same terms as men for collegiate degrees and was the first college to grant an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to a woman. The Lombard Campus was described as one of the most beautiful in the nation and also had the largest elm tree in America with a spread of 138 feet. The college closed in 1930 due to the Depression and was sold to Galesburg Public Schools.

Galesburg native author Carl Sandburg attended Lombard College. His time began there in 1898 and he was a member of the Poor Writers' Club, a poetry critic's forum. Lombard professor Phillip Green Wright encouraged the talented Sandburg in his writing. Carl Sandburg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times; twice for his poetry and another time for his 6 volume biography of President Abraham Lincoln.

The present Lombard Junior High was built in 1939 on the same site. Many satellite buildings remain in the campus area including the gymnasium built in 1912. The Sigma Nu Fraternity House, built in 1927, is at 1316 E. Knox and is an apartment complex today. The music conservatory building is a private residence across the street at 1187 E. Knox Street and the Wel Kum Inn Store, 1217 E. Knox St. and built in 1925, catered to the needs of Lombard University students and later junior high students closed in 1959. The building serves as a multi-family residence today. Another historic home in the Lombard area is at 786 Lombard Street. This home was built in 1860 with mid-century architecture and is a private home. Visitors are welcome to tour the Lombard campus area. There is a walking tour booklet with many more historic homes and churches available at the Galesburg Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Start from: Get directions Show Street View