A worker cuts out a water-damaged beam that will be replaced during the Alumni Hall renovation.
Demolition is almost complete within Alumni Hall with the removal of all floors, the theater balcony and mezzanine, and all wall and ceiling plaster. Repairs are now being made to the ceiling trusses prior to the arrival of steel, which will begin the renovation of Alumni Hall for future generations of Knox students.
Just $113,796 remains to be raised for the $11.7 million total renovation budget for the project. The work on Alumni Hall would not be underway without the tremendous support of the 583 donors who have made gifts to the Alumni Hall renovation over the past 30 months.
It’s not too late to make your tax-deductible donation to Alumni Hall for 2013. Please give now.
By joining together, Knox alumni, faculty and staff, parents, and friends from Galesburg and around the world, life is coming back to this central part of the Knox campus.
Above, a worker tightens a nut on a bolt through one of the steel plates installed to reinforce wooden beams just below the roof. Below, after drilling, a worker on the other side of the beam clears sawdust from the hole.
As seen in recent construction update shots, the center hall of Alumni Hall is a large area with a stage and space for seats — an auditorium. It was originally intended to be a chapel, but over its tenure thus far, it has also been an auditorium, a theatre, and a library.
The original Knox College library was housed in Old Main, while Alumni Hall’s center hall was serving as a chapel. After Beecher Chapel was acquired by the school and the need for a larger library was realized, the books were moved to Alumni Hall in 1909.
This wasn’t the first time a library was in Alumni Hall. Both literary societies, Adelphi and Gnothautii, had separate libraries on their sides, starting sometime around 1892. Once the College’s library was moved to Alumni Hall, the literary societies combined their books and contributed to the centralized collection.
The library featured not only books, but two large tapestries from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. They framed the stage, as seen in the photo below.
Flooring was laid down from the lobby to the stage to level out the slope intended for auditorium seating. Two staircases were installed to reach from the bottom floor to the top balcony where Dr. Elder, the librarian, had an office and additional stacks were housed.
The center hall of Alumni Hall remained this way until the completion of Seymour Library, which still houses Knox’s collection of books and library materials, in 1928.
As seen in the photo above, books lined the back walls of the lower level, and tables, chairs, and even statues decorated the area. It wasn’t intended to look makeshift, although it was a temporary solution. From the convincing looks of it, it probably fooled a few students between 1909 and 1928 who would’ve never known it was an auditorium space.
When Alumni Hall closed, students began — literally — leaving their mark on the building. Take a graffiti tour of Alumni Hall before the interior walls began coming down.
Alumni share their memories of Alumni Hall as they take a tour of the building at Homecoming 2013.
Kirk Anderson, Vice President of P.J. Hoerr, construction contractor for the renovation of Alumni Hall, talks to alumni at Homecoming 2013 about the renovation process.