Alumnus reflects on old, new Campustown

John Lonsdale

“To be honest, it wasn’t what it nearly is today,” said David Adams, a 1973 ISU alumnus.

Adams, 60, of Waterloo, was a metallurgical engineering major who attended Iowa State from 1969 to 1973.

“Of course, I think it had some room for improvement,” he said. “There were a couple good pizza places.”

With restaurants like Pizza House on Lincoln Way across from Friley Hall and the “pretty decent” pizza that was served at Cy’s Roost before it was Cy’s Roost, Adams found himself going to the downtown Ames bars more often than staying in Campustown.

Genuine John’s, a live music bar that opened in 1971 by the railroad tracks downtown, was one of his favorite places to go.

“I lived in the dorms for two years and lived on 411 Welch Ave. my senior year,” Adams said. “Had a house up there. Pretty familiar with the area. The walk from there to campus wasn’t that far. It didn’t have all the variety and options it had today.”

Another negative Adams found with Campustown at the time was that there weren’t any good places to eat, including fast food restaurants.

“Compared to my historical perspective,” he said, “there are more options on the bar scene and places to eat [today].”

Adams and his wife visit their daughter in Ames on a regular basis. He attends all of the football games, men’s basketball games and women’s games when he can. He’s on the board for the Alumni Association and a part of the Gridiron Club, a support group for ISU Athletics.

“I think there could still be some more restaurants in the area, and a few on the higher end than there are today. I think they could improve on some of the parking.”

Although he feels that Campustown is currently better than it used to be, Adams said the current renovation discussion is a positive step for the ISU community.

“Somebody needs to be looking at the whole picture of Campustown and the university,” Adams said. “To me, there’s some positive to having some central focus to putting all these pieces together to make it the best.

“The idea of having someone pull it together makes a lot of sense. Perhaps using someone with expertise makes sense to me. I think the hotel probably is a good idea for what it’s worth.”