Lance Factor, George Appleton Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy, discusses the significance of literary societies in the building of Alumni Hall.
The basement of Alumni Hall held auxiliary offices since 1950, but it was in 1977 that the Offices of Alumni Affairs, Development and Public Affairs were housed permanently in the basement. This is an example of what those offices looked like. Astute viewers will notice in the left side of this image that the brick structure is the old fireplace from when the space served as The Hearth. The transformed Alumni Hall will be home to many administrative offices once construction is completed.
Starting in 1949, the Knox College Bookstore called the basement of Alumni Hall home. It was housed in the lowest level of the east wing next to the Hearth, later called the Gizmo, until the mid-1960′s. This shop for students was one of the many uses of the versatile basement space through the years.
As the cold continues in Galesburg, this type of springtime fun seems harder and harder to imagine. This is a shot of students enjoying playing Frisbee on the south lawn of Alumni Hall in 1965. This view seems more familiar to us in February, though.
While current students find their mail in the lower level of Seymour Union, it wasn’t always that way. The mail room used to call the basement of Alumni Hall home, just like the Gizmo.
We love hearing from alumni who remember Alumni Hall during its years of use as we explore its past. Dorothy Wharton ’55 has been an active commenter on the blog, sharing her memories with us, and this little bit she recalled inspired us to dig up this photo from the Archives: “We got our mail, in little cubbies, down there too, so there it was quite a mob scene at times.” Looks like the photographer caught the basement mail room in a calmer period here. Thanks for your comment, Dorothy!
If you are an alumnus with a story about Alumni Hall, check out our Share Your Memories page. We would love to hear from you!
Stay tuned for more on the many uses of the basement through the years: Alumni Hall’s lower level was home to much more than just the Gizmo and mail room.
For those who did not experience Alumni Hall, it’s hard to imagine what a typical classroom looked like when the sides of the building used as classrooms currently look like this. This photo dates near the end of Alumni Hall’s tenure as an academic building, the 1970s. At this time, the foreign language department, the art department, the philosophy department, and a few other humanities classes had called these classroom spaces home.
The student literary society that once occupied this east wing of Alumni Hall, Gnothautii, reportedly chose a name based on ancient Greek words that mean, roughly, “know thyself.” It’s safe to say that you, the visitors to this blog, are the first to “know” this part of the building from top to bottom, basement to roof, following the removal of the old first and second floors in January 2014. New floors will be installed as part of the renovation.