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An example of monumental mid 19th century academic Gothic architecture, Old Main has been in continuous use as the central academic and administrative building of the college since 1857. Elaborate geometric patterns and proportions combine with striking vertical visual elements to emphasize the height of the building (the central towers are 66 feet high) on the prairie landscape. Though Old Main's exterior has remained nearly unchanged, it was gutted and renovated in the 1930s prior to its entry in the National Register of Historic Places. It is the last remaining site of the seven Lincoln-Douglas debates held throughout Illinois in the fall of 1858.
Knox College. Memorials in American Colleges. Galesburg, IL: Knox College, [1930?].
Koeper, Frederick. Illinois Architecture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.
Old Main [Knox College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1966.
Turner, Paul Venable. Campus: An American Planning Tradition. New York: Architectural History Foundation; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.