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Dedicated in 1857, Sturtevant Hall has become a campus and community landmark. Its Romanesque revival architectural style closely resembles the Smithsonian Institution and features two towers on different heights and styles. During the last half of the 19th century and the first portion of the 20th century, Sturtevant Hall supplied core services for Illinois College students and faculty. The interior was rebuilt in 1920 after fire gutted the structure. In addition to classrooms and faculty offices, the building housed the library and a large meeting room for chapel services. Greek, Latin, rhetoric, math, and science were among the subjects taught on site. Space was subsequently provided for science labs and major upgrades were made in 1993 that led to the relocation of the English and sociology departments.
The building was named for Julian Sturtevant, Illinois College's first professor and its second president (1844-1876).