|Address:||112 East High Street|
|Architectural Style:||Georgian Revival|
|Original Owner:||City of Mount Vernon|
Following World War I, many citizens of Knox County desired to erect a building that would serve as a memorial to honor all of the veterans of past and future wars, but especially those soldiers who participated in The Great War. On August 30, 1919, the county adopted a resolution that would do just that, to construct a building not exceeding $250,000 in expenses. To see this through, a Board of Trustees was established, with men from the four largest towns and villages in the county: Henry C. Devin and Major Julius W. Headington of Mount Vernon, Dr. Ernest V. Ackerman of Fredericktown, Clement A Blubaugh of Danville, and Fred C. Bishop of Centerburg. Les than three months later, however, Headington put in his resignation, and was quickly replaced by M. Curtis Kinney. The contract for construction was finally awarded in May 1923, and on October 23, 1923, the long-awaited ceremony of laying the cornerstone finally occurred, officiated by the Joe Hooker Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. A Little over a year and a half later, on May 25, 1925, the building was officially dedicated, despite there being no furniture. An additional $15,000 in bonds were distributed for this purpose. On February 4, 1926, the Knox County Memorial Building was finally ready for regular use by the public. In addition to the large theater and all its associated side rooms, the building contains a banquet hall, a ballroom, lounges, a handful of offices, and memorabilia from several veterans, specifically from World War I.
The county selected a location next to the Knox Mutual Building, on the site occupied by a large frame apartment building. This apartment complex was parceled out and moved to various locations along East High and East Gambier Streets. The central portion was moved to 307 East High Street and renamed The Capitola Apartments, and the western wing was moved just north of this new establishment for use as a single-family dwelling. Mr. and Mrs. Charles V. Critchfield lived in the eastern wing of the former apartment building, and decided to use his wing as the nucleus of their new home they were building at 302 East Gambier Street.
The Knox County Memorial Building, a huge two-story Georgian Revival Building, is one of several that were constructed in the early-20th century, contributing to Mount Vernon's Colonial City movement. The most prominent feature of this building is the large, pedimented portico supported by six large, smooth white columns with highly simplified Corinthian capitals, often referred to as "Temple of the Winds Corinthian." The pediment has a large elliptical window in the center. Like most of the Colonial Revival buildings in Mount Vernon, the Memorial Building has a large cupola with arched windows and four urns around its square base. Rather than using copper, the rounded cap appears to be executed using bronze, although the weather vane has the green patina of oxidized copper. The stone cornice acts much in the way of a traditional widow's walk, though only a few cutouts of baluster sets are present to give this effect. The entrance to the main floor is reached by a series of stone steps. Both the entrance and flanking windows are arched with fanlight transoms, with arched brick lintels ending in stone blocks, with stone keystones at the top. The first floor windows are further defined by resting atop rectangular panels. A stone belt course, reading "KNOX COUNTY MEMORIAL" visually separates the two stories. Beneath each of the 2nd-story windows is a plain stone frieze panel. These windows also possess stone keystones, though no apparent arch is present above the rectangular frames.