The Rev. George Washington Gale had a dream in the 1830s that led to the establishment of Galesburg, Ill., and the formation of a manual labor college called Knox. The first 25 settlers arrived in 1836 and built temporary cabins in Log City near what is now Lake Storey.
One of Gale’s objectives for Knox College was to offer equal educational opportunities for both men and women. In 1843 a Female Seminary Building was in operation near the intersection of Seminary and Simmons Street. Unfortunately the structure burned to the ground shortly after opening. An Academy Building was then built on the Public Square area in 1847 with the upper floor devoted to educational facilities for Knox College female students.
Seven years later in 1854 Gale’s fledgling town began to flourish when the CB and Q Railroad began operations. Knox College donated land needed for the railroad’s expansion. The college grew to 66 women and 51 men enrolled in full-time classes. In 1857 Knox College expanded with the construction of two major buildings that remain viable today.