ISU alumnus recalls decade-old memories of Campustown


Courtesy photo: Travis Schoening

People’s was a popular bar and hangout for students and town folk. It is now exists under a new name, Headliners, and maintains a wide range of appeal.

Frances Myers

Campustown for Geoff Wood was always a social benefit of attending Iowa State.

Wood is a 10-year alumnus of Iowa State. During his time here, he was an executive director of Dance Marathon in 2000, president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in community and regional planning in December 2000. He is now chief operating officer at Silicon Prairie News, an online media company that works to promote entrepreneurship as well as innovation in the Midwest.

He fondly remembers his college days in Ames, where he spent a lot of time in Campustown.

“We used to go Welch Ave. Station all the time to watch the football games on television,” Wood said. “We would have some pizza and chicken wings, drink some beer and just hang out watching the games.”

Wood remembered there were a lot of restaurants and bars as well as student-oriented businesses when he was a college student.

“I remember there was Copyworks, People’s Bar and Grill, Pizza Pit, Adobe, Home Team Pizza, HandiMart and many other restaurants and bars,” Wood said. “Then there were a lot of businesses that catered to student needs such as Dogtown and, as I mentioned before, Copyworks.”

Wood spent quite a bit of time in Campustown during his college years at Iowa State. His senior year, he lived in an apartment right in Campustown, so he was there every day eating and spending time with friends.

He said that People’s Bar and Grill, now called Headliner’s, was the main spot for students to be as well as one of his favorite bars to frequent.

“There was live music and eating and that’s where you would see everyone,” Wood said.

One aspect Wood said he would like to change about Campustown is the presence of the four- and five-story buildings.

“When I lived in Campustown, all the buildings were small two- or three-story buildings,” Wood said. “Now they have these larger buildings that are apartments and all, and it changes the character of Campustown. Now it has a different feel to it.”

Because he graduated with a degree in city planning, Wood said he always keeps an eye on the building agenda, especially that of Ames, in his free time. He noticed the city has passed a zoning ordinance that says no more four- or five-story buildings will be built, at least in Campustown.

One of his favorite aspects of Campustown was its atmosphere.

“Campustown was the perfect place for students to get excited about going to, especially on the weekends,” Wood said. “They knew this was a place where they could have a great time with friends. Ames as a college town is a big contrast from many other college towns, such as Iowa City, which has the city and the college atmosphere all together.

“Every college needs a place for students to mix and meet new people. Students need a place that is different from the city part to be able to have a great time and have great experiences. That’s what Campustown is.”