About Us


Why is it Called Seminary Street?

  Before it had a name, there was merely a rutted, north-and-south dirt track which served as Galesburg's eastern boundary. Over its rugged surface, settlers drove teams of horses or oxen, hauling wagons of produce to the Public Square, the business district at the time. Then the fledgling institution known as Knox Manual Labor College decided on a most audacious step for that era-- they would establish a separate school for women. The women would have to reside in a location apart from the men, who were aspiring ministers of the gospel, busy studying Hebrew and Greek and laboring in great gardens belonging to the college. A three-story edifice of wood was duly constructed, the whole costing $5,000 in 1841. The roof boasted a shiny, tin-covered cupola which dominated the flat prairie as far as the eye could see. Adjacent to the unnamed dirt road, the structure was called the Knox Female Seminary*.

The building's roof stood higher above the ground than that of the proud First Church, a New England-styled building constructed by the settlers on the Southwest corner of the Public Square. Unfortunately, the new women's structure lasted but a few years, being consumed by fire in 1843. The Female Seminary vanished, but the road, by then, known as Seminary Street, kept the name.

--SEMINARY STREET:   A Brief History by Martin Litvin


*The Knox Female Seminary was located at the corner of South Seminary and Mulberry Streets, just west of the Packinghouse Dining Company.