Looks like classes just got out from Alumni Hall! These ladies are headed towards Seymour Union. In the years before e-mail, it looks like students used the trees to communicate with the rest of the school.
This shot from the Archives is taken from the vantage point of the Knox County Courthouse, across South Street. That building to the left behind Old Main is the Knox Observatory, which was built in 1889 and demolished around the time the Center for Fine Arts was built, as it obstructed the view from Old Main to the new, stylish building. Absent from the front of Old Main is the flagpole, which was added to commemorate students and alumni lost in World War I.
This shot from the Archives has two women perched on the steps on the south side of Alumni Hall. They appear to be doing some stitching: maybe a costume for a play in the theater?
Back when the center hall served as a theatre, the Alumni Building entrance of Alumni Hall made sure playgoers knew where they were headed. The sign was changed once the theatre operations were transferred to the fine arts building upon its completion in the 1960s.
This is a shot of the south side of Alumni Hall some time after 1960. The back side of Alumni Hall has a lot of green leafy landscaping, too, which is different from other shots of the building we’ve seen. Car buffs get bonus points and bragging rights if they can identify the make and model of the car in the foreground!
If you were writing to friends back in 1893, you could’ve done so on the back of this postcard featuring a picture of Alumni Hall. How often do academic buildings get their own postcards today? This helps us understand just how interesting and exciting the Alumni Hall building was back when it was first constructed.
Pictured is a large classroom on the top floor of one of the wings of Alumni Hall, some time after 1960. Notice the crumbling wall on the right. The upkeep and renovations required to keep Alumni Hall going have been an ongoing issue since the first renovations in the 1930s. As early as 1929, students were noticing how old Alumni Hall was, as an editorial in The Knox Student said “As we look at Alumni Hall today, and wonder when we’ll be getting new buildings, perhaps we do not realize the true significance of the old red landmark.” A 1949 memo to Trustees stated that “[$16,615.34] is obviously a considerable amount to spend on a building as old as Alumni Hall.” These issues only worsened as time went on and costs were climbing, which probably explains the bit of broken wall in the classroom. These issues, as well as expanded classroom space in other buildings on campus, eventually led to the decision to “mothball” Alumni Hall.
Taken from the 1958 Gale, this shot shows students between classes, leaving Old Main and using the South Terrace entrance to the Hearth. The renovated Alumni Hall will have a terrace area on the south side as well.