Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Almira House (Richard W. Bock Museum)

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Institution Name: Greenville College
Original/Historic Place Name: John Brown White House
Location on Campus: 215 E. College Ave.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1854original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: brick
Walls: wood clapboard
Roof: asphalt shingle
ca. 1855classrooms
ca. 1892private residence
ca. 1962residence hall
ca. 2004-present (2007)museum

Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Located two blocks east of the Greenville Square, facing a quiet residential street of College Avenue, sits a two-story, vernacular, bracketed, Italianate style structure of the Victorian era: the Almira College House, also referred to today as the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum. The historic Almira College House was constructed in 1855 and was originally named Almira College for Women when it opened its doors in the fall of 1855. While neighboring houses built in the late nineteenth century or early twentieth century have recently been razed, the Almira College House remains as a link to the origin of one of Illinois' first women's colleges. In a time when little importance was placed on the education of women, two enlightened men, their wives, and a young rural community banded together to establish an academy that would provide an education for women rivaling that offered to men throughout the country.

For a brief period of time, the women attended classes in a room located on the second floor until Old Main or Hogue Hall was constructed. In 1892, the institution was renamed Greenville College, and the house passed into private hands. In 1962, the house was reacquired by Greenville College and served as a residence for college students. The house was restored in the early part of the 1970s in keeping with the graciousness of nineteenth century homes and provides a complementary environment for the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum. The building's architectural integrity, as well as its significance to the history of women's education, makes it one of the most interesting buildings in the picturesque town of Greenville.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Jordahl, Donald C. A Biography of John Brown White. Greenville, IL: Naco Printing, 1984.

Jordahl, Donald C. "Greenville College--The Antecedents: A History of Almira College." Ph.D. dissertation, Southern Illinois University, 1974.

Tenney, Mae A. Still Abides the Memory. Greenville, IL: Tower Press, 1942.

Wilson, Kathryn Eleanor. Tales, Trails & Breadcrumbs, 1838-1938, One-Hundred Years, Bond County, Illinois. Greenville, IL: Naco Printing, 1993.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections
Other: Bock Museum

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Last update: November 2006