Cook Hall contains Illinois State University’s School of Music and serves as a practice area for many music students.
One of Illinois State’s most interesting buildings and the oldest one still standing on the Quad, Cook Hall was originally built to be a gymnasium. It was completed in 1897 and was named after Jesse Williston Cook, the University’s 4th President (1890–1899). He earned his diploma in 1865 from Illinois State Normal University and in 1876 he became a Professor of Mathematics.
The building has also been known as the “Old Castle” or “The Gymnasium.” The Governor at the time, John Altgeld, had a great liking for medieval castles and insisted all new state construction during his term in office resemble castles. You’ll find a Cook Hall look-alike at many other state schools; they are called “Altgeld’s Folly.”