Throwback Thursday: Thanksgiving on Campus

Ian Steenhoek

Thanksgiving on Campus

Pammel Court

Pammel Court is but a relic of Iowa State’s history. Originally a temporary housing solution for men returning from war, Pammel Court expanded to house families for over 50 years. Pammel Court consisted of trailers, quonset huts, detachable prefabricated houses and repurposed military barracks. 

Soldiers returning from World War II caused one of the largest housing shortages in the history of Iowa State. Many of those returning also required housing for spouses and sometimes children.

The process of providing housing for this population began in October of 1945 with the purchase of surplus trailers from other World War II housing projects. Thirty-six of the original 150 units were ready for residents in January 1946. These were built between Pammel Drive and the railroad tracks to the north of campus. 

A grocery store was added in March of 1946. It was later closed and turned into a recreation center in 1952.

University officials projected in 1947 that the need for family housing would cease by 1951. The need for this housing surpassed that and the units which were scheduled for decommission remained in use until 1988.

Pammel Court would expand to 951 living units, housing 1,101 families before the university began to decommission homes. Trailers were removed between 1950-1952. All units south of the railroad tracks were decommissioned by 1967. 

The units north of the railroad tracks were decommissioned as units in Schilletter University Village and Hawthorn Court became available. East Pammel Court and Hawthorn Court lie where modern day Frederiksen Court is today. 

The final residents of Pammel Court were relocated by fall of 1997.

Today, the need for university owned family housing is alleviated as there is more housing available off campus, and the percentage of married students is lower.

The library storage building, communications building, environmental health and safety building and parking lots take up the space, which was formerly West Pammel Court.