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Alumni Hall was built to accommodate Knox College's literary societies and the then-popular intercollegiate debate competitions; both were essential and closely-linked elements of 19th century student culture. Alumni Hall's interior and exterior are detailed and enduring examples of the Richardsonian Romanesque style popular at the time. The building's large central auditorium is a dramatic instance of the innumerable facilities built to accommodate the popular and public culture of the day. The architect, Elijah E. Meyers, had earlier designed the Knox County Courthouse across the street in Standish Park.
The last college offices moved out of Alumni Hall in 1999; it has been vacant since that time. All post-1890s fixtures, partitions, ceilings, etc. were removed in 2002; measures to stabilize the building began in 2002 and continue today. The original slate roof was replaced with a new one in 1990. Holabird & Root (Chicago) are currently  completing an adaptive re-use plan for Alumni Hall.