Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Old Knox County Jail

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Institution Name: Knox College
Original/Historic Place Name: Knox County Jail
Location on Campus: Cherry St. and South St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1874original construction Quayle, William
Designer: William Quayle
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Italianate (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: granite
Walls: brick
ca. 1874other (county jail)
ca. 1874private residence (of jailkeeper)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (offices)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (storage)

Knox County's 19th-century jail is a peculiar marriage of residential and institutional architecture wrapped up in a single well-proportioned and finely detailed building. The residential portion of the building, which housed the jailer, his family, and female prisoners, is a classic Victorian interior of high-ceilinged rooms arranged around a central hall and staircase connecting the home's two floors. In the back half of the building, three tiers of individual cells and their hardware survive as intact examples of late 19th-century practices of incarceration and punishment. The residential portion of the building was renovated in 1996. The cellblock remains as originally built.


Knox County Jail [Knox College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1992.


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Last update: November 2006