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.